650 VOLUNTEERS FOR UN COP 23 IN BONN By Olawale Akinwumi

The United Nations this month, called for applications for volunteers to play a key role in the organisation and facilitation of the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 23, which will take place from 6th to 17th of November 2017, in Bonn, Germany.

The United Nations Volunteers (UNV), in collaboration with the secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement (UNFCCC), stated accepting applications from September 18th 2017. The deadline for the submission of applications is October 3rd 2017.

The COP 23 volunteering seeks to involve and engage volunteers who are passionate about climate action, promote values of volunteering, and foster citizen participation. According the UNV statement, this is an opportunity to be at the epicentre of decision making around climate action – a global issue with significant ramification today and for future generations. COP 23 volunteers are not only contributing to the significant outcome of the event but are also gaining valuable knowledge for their personal and professional life.

The programme will deliver the necessary training, promoting the values and principles of the United Nations to empower volunteers in the organisation and support of the conference.

The volunteer programme is open to every 18+ years old from all over the world, with working knowledge of English. The working knowledge of another official United Nations language, such as French, Spanish, Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and German would be an added advantage.

Most importantly, applicants should be highly motivated and eager to contribute towards action on climate change; they should demonstrate ability to work well as part of a team and should be able to demonstrate tact and good judgement.

Individuals with academic and professional background related to sustainable development, international relations, law, ICT, business or public administration, environmental studies, social sciences or other specialized fields are especially encouraged to apply. Previous volunteering experience is also an added advantage.

According to the UN, volunteers will be needed throughout the conference, from the 5th to 17th November 2017, but some may be requested to participate as early as October.

Volunteers’ task range from guiding visitors to supporting the conference as side events and exhibits assistants or registration desk support, working on sustainability and greening projects, as ushers, room assistants or note-takers among other duties. Volunteers are expected to work in 6-hour shifts – morning, afternoon or evening. A volunteer can indicate his or her availability during the registration process.

The United Nations stated that volunteers will receive certificates after the successful completion of their assignments and would be invited to attend the high level Recognition Ceremony in honour of their efforts.

Beyond the COP 23 event, a seed grant will be available for the best project proposal addressing climate change in the volunteer’s community as part of a Climate Action Challenge.

While encouraging eligible candidates to apply, the UN says the final selection process consists of a mandatory full day training, and completing the training session is needed to participate in the volunteer programme.

According to the statement, 650 volunteers will be selected across the globe.