President of Malta George Vella thanked all voluntary organisations on behalf of the nation for their continuous work during these difficult times since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, continuing to offer their services as they did before or in different ways, and doing their utmost to continue to achieve their goals. Addressing the National Volunteer Award event organised by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector, he said that, although it is true that the restrictions imposed could have hampered the operation of these organisations, the voluntary sector has not ceased to operate despite everything.
The President said that the resilience of the voluntary sector will now also be essential for the post-COVID-19 period as the level of expertise and experience of each volunteer and organisation is required in the full and continuous development of our country. This can be done through the continuous careful renewal of the legal and administrative framework regulating the voluntary sector. He encouraged all organisations to play an active role in the consultation process on the national reform of the voluntary sector, which was launched this week, to ensure that the necessary change is implemented and is of added value for their efforts.
President Vella noted that the voluntary sector covers virtually every field, and often provides services that are not available in the country, thus helping from both the socio-economic aspect and in terms of the innovative and inclusive development of the country. This is also recognised by the United Nations, which insists that when people are encouraged to offer ideas on how to solve specific issues, the solutions usually offered by the voluntary sector are more feasible and sustainable. That is why Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary-General, stated that if our hopes of building a better and safer world are to become more than wishful thinking, we will need the engagement of volunteers more than ever. The president also said that, both internationally and in our country, the voluntary sector is a strong pillar in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The President thanked the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector for once again recognising the efforts made by this sector, as well as all those who have been rewarded for their beneficial work in society.