The Next Step in Social Development (Geneva 2000)

Project at a glance

Dates and Place

22 - 30 June 2000, Geneva, Switzerland
International Conference Center Geneva (ICCG)


Swiss Confederation, State of Geneva, City of Geneva, United Nations, Foundation for Geneva.


The Geneva 2000 Secretariat estimates that 6,800 people were at Geneva 2000. This tallies with figures released by the United Nations, whose security service quoted 6,816 identity badges issued ? 6,585 for people and 231 for vehicles.

Project details

Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly

For only the second time in its history, the United Nations General Assembly met in Special Session outside its headquarters in New York. At the invitation of the Swiss Government, the General Assembly held a Special Session in Geneva, to consider progress made in implementing the commitments made by 186 countries at the first World Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995.

It is everyone's responsibility to play a part in ensuring that the overall goals of the World Summit are achieved, that societies can emerge from poverty, that people find work and a livelihood in a climate of environmental sustainability, that they are free and equal to build their lives and enjoy their fundamental rights.

Geneva 2000 Forum

The Geneva 2000 Forum, a complementary activity to the Special Session, which opened the debate to a wide range of actors. It was a opportunity for NGOs, parliaments, trade unions, business and industry, professional associations, academics, governmental and intergovernmental representatives, civil society groups and the media, to join in the debate on social development. In a dynamic meeting with roundtable discussions, debates, lectures, exhibitions and multimedia presentations, all the participants in Geneva 2000 came together to share experiences, identify examples of good practice, discuss obstacles and how to overcome them.

Volunteering Opportunities

Geneva 2000 Volunteer Program

350 volunteers came together from all over the world to help make Geneva 2000 a success. forming 28 teams in all, they were recruited, trained and coordinated under the guidance of ICVolunteers.

The volunteers contributed some 14,000 hours to the preparation and realization of the Summit. They were active in almost all aspects of the Conference: coordination of the audio-visual center; help at the cyber café; supervision of conference rooms; administrative work; help at the press center and manual work. In many cases, the volunteers served critical roles, from receiving and assisting delegates to non-professional translation and interpretation of sessions.

Diversity and cooperation

Geneva 2000's Volunteer Program was highly diverse, typical of the teams assembled by ICVolunteers. More than 40 nationalities were represented, from all parts of the world. Some came from as far away as Malaysia, Ecuador, Cameroon, Hungary and Burma. The oldest volunteer was 79; the youngest just had turned 16. The teams were usually "intergenerational": the more experienced volunteers helped the younger ones and vice versa. Some jobs required very specific profiles and competences. For others, good will and some knowledge of spoken English were enough. In some teams one could find a student, a housewife, a professional working in an international organization and a retired person.

Another form of volunteering: 50 families opened their homes in France and Switzerland

Approximately 50 families generously offered free housing to the international volunteers and delegates from developing countries.

The host family program is an important part of the efforts undertaken by IC Volunteers. Many delegates depend on such "host families" to be able to attend the Summit. To help make this a reality, ICVolunteers has joined forces with another NGO, Mandat International. The result, Geneva-Host, is a network of families willing to regularly offer housing to delegates who may not be able to afford hotels in Geneva.

Short Term Projects

ICVolunteers promotes volunteerism and its recognition, by enhancing civic commitment and involvement, and by providing leadership and links between organizations, individuals and communities. With this perspective, ICVolunteers develops projects and leads initiatives.

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