Workshop 8: The role and economic value of volunteers in the road to recovery and beyond

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Thursday, 4 March 2021, 16:00 - 18:00

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Organised by the Centre for European Volunteering (CEV) and the EESC section for Employment, Social Affairs and Citizenship (SOC)      

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Programme

  • Moderated by Gabriella Civico, CEV Director

16:00 - 16:10 Opening speech

  • Laurenţiu Plosceanu, SOC President

16:10 - 16:20 Presentation of the draft “Blueprint for Volunteering in Europe 2030”

  • CEV President Lejla Sehic Relic

16:20 - 16:35 Presentation on the economic value of volunteers in Europe

  • Krzysztof Pater, EESC member

16.35 - 16.50 Presentation on "Making volunteer energy sustainable and circular in order to improve volunteering, now and in the future"

  • Prof. Dr. Lucas Meijs, 'Strategic Philanthropy and Volunteering' (Department of Business-Society Management, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University) & EESC Expert on trends in volunteering in Europe

16:50 - 17:15 Breakout Groups:

  • Policy and programme support for volunteering in the framework of the Next Generation EU Recovery Fund (Facilitated by Pavel Trantina, Board member, Czech Scout Foundation)
  • Better measuring the value of volunteering in Europe to have a stronger evidence base for current and future policies and a better understanding of the economic contribution of volunteering to the recovery process (Facilitated by Katja Jäger, Researcher at the project office EVC Berlin & betterplace lab) 
  • Volunteering as an expression of European values contributing to the future of Europe based on democracy and active citizenship on the 10th Anniversary of EYV 2011 and beyond  (Facilitated by Costin Dedu, Vice President of Volonteurope network, & president of Asociatia Imago Mundi)

17:15 - 17:45 Feedback from the Groups

17:45 - 18:00 Conclusions & Closing remarks

Concept note

2021 is the 10th Anniversary of the European Year of Volunteering 2011 (EYV 2011). Since 2012 volunteering has appeared only occasionally in official EU documents but the launch of the European Solidarity Corps has given some renewed interest in and attention to the role and value of volunteering and solidarity in the European Union.

Despite the best efforts of stakeholders there remains a lack of common understanding among decision-makers that the activity of volunteers has real economic value (amounting in many countries to more than 2% of GDP).  In many areas of life the activity of volunteers is necessary to ensure the basic needs of citizens, including those related to their safety. Volunteers play a crucial role in the implementation of all UN Sustainable Development Goals and represent every social group and age.  This fact demonstrates that there is a lack of justification to combine volunteer support programs only with programs addressed exclusively to young people.

During the debate on the future of Europe the policy- makers must be aware that this future will be shaped not only by politicians or formally structured bodies, but also by millions of citizens - volunteers who spend their time and energy every day acting in solidarity with others for the common good.  To support the debate, in #EYVplus10 the Centre of European Volunteering (CEV), in collaboration with other stakeholders, will publish a new “Blueprint for European Volunteering 2023”.

The EESC has already made important contributions to the discourse on volunteering in Europe:

  1. The EESC opinion “Statistical tools for measuring volunteering” https://www.eesc.europa.eu/pl/node/53227,
  2. Group III Conference in Warsaw, in 2011 European Year on Volunteering (many conclusions from this Conference were taken by Polish Presidency to the Council conclusions as a summary of this Year) https://www.eesc.europa.eu/resources/docs/europe-iii---july-2011.pdf,
  3. Ongoing (in 2021) Group III Conference in Warsaw (initially scheduled for March 2020) https://www.eesc.europa.eu/en/agenda/our-events/events/role-volunteering-implementation-un-sustainable-development-goals “The role of volunteering in the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals”,
  4. The study on volunteering which will be done in Group III in 2021.

Objectives of the Workshop

In the workshop we will address a number of Sub-topics:

  1. Assessing policy and programme support for volunteering in the framework of the Next Generation EU Recovery Fund.
  2. Exploring how to measure better the value of volunteering in Europe and so have a better evidence base for current and future policies.
  3. Understanding the economic contribution of volunteering to the recovery process.
  4. Reflecting on volunteering as an expression of European values contributing to the future of Europe based on democracy and active citizenship.

The Centre for European Volunteering (CEV) (until 1 July 2020 known as the European Volunteer Centre), was established in 1992 and is the European network of over 60 organisations dedicated to the promotion of, and support to, volunteers and volunteering in Europe at European, national or regional level. Through our network we aim to be the leading voice in the values-based volunteering debate in Europe, influencing and sharing the current trends & challenges and those predicted for the future, developing and providing policy advice and expertise for European Policymakers so that volunteering policies and programmes developed at European level are effective and fit for purpose.

See also