Policy documents, No.1


Volunteers, inspired by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, consider their commitment as a tool for social, cultural, economic and environmental development in a changing world, and believe that “each person has the right to freely assemble and associate for peaceful purposes.”


+ Is based on a personal motivation and choice, freely undertaken;
+ Takes the form of individual or group activities generally carried out within the framework of an organization;
+ Is a way of furthering active citizenship and community involvement;
+ Contributes to the vitality of economic life, even creating jobs and new professions;
+ Enhances human potential and quality of daily life, building up human solidarity; and
+ Provides answers for the great challenges of our time, striving for a better and more peaceful world.

Volunteers shall:

+ Encourage the expression of individual commitment through collective movement;
+ Actively seek to strengthen their organizations by being fully informed of and adhering to the organization’s goals, objectives and policies;
+ Undertake to carry out the jointly defined tasks, taking into consideration personal aptitude, time available and accepted responsibilities;
+ Undertake training as required;
+ Maintain confidentiality in their activities; and
+ Co-operate in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect with other members of the organization.

Organizations/Volunteer managers shall:

+ Lay down the policies needed for volunteer activity;
+ Define the criteria for volunteer participation;
+ Entrust suitable tasks to each volunteer and ensure that the ascribed functions are observed by all;
+ Provide appropriate training;
+ Provide adequate coverage and protection against risks to volunteers during the exercise of their duties and seek coverage for damages that may be caused to third persons;
+ Facilitate access to volunteering for all by reimbursing expenses;
+ Define the conditions under which the organization or the volunteer can end their commitment; and
+ Conduct regular evaluation and recognition of their work.


Volunteers, gathered at the initiative of IAVE in a world congress, declare their faith in volunteer action as a creative and mediating force:

+ To respect the dignity of all people and their ability to improve their lives and exercise their rights as citizens;
+ To help social and environmental problems; and
+ To build a more humane and just world, furthering international cooperation.

Therefore, they invite governments, international institutions, business and the media to join in partnership with them to create a world-wide environment that promotes and sustains effective volunteering by all people as a symbol of solidarity among peoples and nations.

Paris, 14 September 1990
* International Association of Volunteer Effort