The IAVE* declaration on volunteering

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


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