Wednesday, October 7, 2015

International Days currently observed by the United Nations

     "The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises." - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
     October 24 has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.
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 These are the international days currently observed by the United Nations for the month of October

United Nations seal, and headquarters NY.

1 October

International Day of Older Persons

2015 Theme: Sustainability and Age Inclusiveness in the Urban Environment
"Making cities inclusive of older persons means generating opportunities for their economic and social participation in accessible and safe environments. It also means providing affordable housing as well as the health and social services needed to support ageing in place." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Living up to the Secretary-General's guiding principle of "Leaving No-One Behind" necessitates the understanding that demography matters for sustainable development and that population dynamics will shape the key developmental challenges that the world in confronting in the 21st century. If our ambition is to "Build the Future We Want", we must address the population over 60 which is expected to reach 1.4 billion by 2030.

2 October

 International Day of Non-Violence 

The Day is observed annually on 2 October, the birthday of Mr. Gandhi, who pioneered the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. 
"Gandhi proved that non-violence – the principle and the practice – can change history,” Mr. Ban noted. “His mass campaigns of non-violent civil disobedience helped pave the way for the independence of India, and have inspired countless movements for change across the world.”
During an official visit to India in January, the UN chief visited Sabarmati Ashram, which houses a library and museum chronicling Gandhi’s life, work and teachings. “We will succeed only if the memory of Gandhi's unyielding fight against injustice burns bright in our hearts and we defend his ideals every day of the year,” he had said on the occasion.

5 October

World Teachers' Day, held annually on October 5 since 1994, commemorates teachers’ organizations worldwide. Its aim is to mobilize support for teachers and to ensure that the needs of future generations will continue to be met by teachers.

According to UNESCO, World Teachers' Day represents a significant token of the awareness, understanding and appreciation displayed for the vital contribution that teachers make to education and development.

Education International (EI) (the global union federation that represents education professionals worldwide) strongly believes that World Teachers' Day should be internationally recognized and celebrated around the world. EI also believes that the principles of the 1966 and 1997 Recommendations should be considered for implementation in all nations.

Over 100 countries observe World Teachers' Day. The efforts of Education International and its 401 member organizations have contributed to this widely spread recognition. Every year, EI launches a public awareness campaign to highlight the contributions of the teaching profession.

5 October (first Monday in October)

World Habitat Day  
 2015 Theme: Public Spaces for All.

"High-quality public spaces encourage people to communicate and collaborate with each other, and to participate in public life. Public spaces can also provide basic services, enhance connectivity, spawn economic activity and raise property values while generating municipal revenue." Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

 On 17 December 1985, the UN General Assembly designated the first Monday of October of every year as World Habitat Day.This year, the United Nations chose the theme Public Spaces for All, which  aims to recognize the challenges and issues around Public Spaces.
The streets and public spaces have often been overlooked and undervalued, but are increasingly being considered the backbone of cities. Public spaces are places which are accessible and enjoyable by all without a profit motive and take on various spatial forms, including parks, streets, sidewalks, markets and playgrounds. 

Good public spaces enhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and well-being for all citizens as well as fostering investment, economic development and environmental sustainability. Well designed and managed public spaces and streets are a key asset for a city’s livability and economy:
  • Increases property values
  • Multiplies retail activity
  • Enhances safety
  • Fosters social cohesion and equality
  • Improves health and well-being
  • Improves the environment
  • Makes the city more attractive
  • Promotes more effective and efficient transportation and mobility
The Sustainable Development Goals highlight Public Spaces as a key and important topic. “Sustainable Development Goals, by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.”

9 October

World Post Day  theme for 2015
Theme: Tell us about the world you want to grow up in”.

"As the communication landscape evolves, I see an important place in it for Posts, especially in this new globalized world." Bishar Abdirahman Hussein
Director-General of the Universal Postal Union

World Post Day is celebrated each year on 9 October, the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union in 1874 in the Swiss Capital, Bern. It was declared World Post Day by the UPU Congress held in Tokyo, Japan in 1969. Since then, countries across the world participate annually in the celebrations. The Posts in many countries use the event to introduce or promote new postal products and services.

10 October
Theme:Dignity in mental health
Thousands of people with mental health conditions around the world are deprived of their human rights. They are not only discriminated against, stigmatised and marginalised but are also subject to emotional and physical abuse in both mental health facilities and the community. Poor quality care due to a lack of qualified health professionals and dilapidated facilities leads to further violations.

World Mental Health Day (WHO) is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.The Day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders working on mental health issues to talk about their work, and what more needs to be done to make mental health care a reality for people worldwide.

11 October

International Day of the Girl Child  
2015 Theme: Innovating for Girls' Education.

 This year, as the international community assesses progress under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) since their implementation in 2000 and launches the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for implementation by 2030, girls born at the turn of the millennium have reached adolescence, and the generation of girls born this year will be adolescents in 2030.

As we reflect on the achievements of the past 15 years and plan sustainable development goals for the next 15, it is an opportune time to consider the importance of social, economic, and political investment in the power of adolescent girls as fundamental to breaking the intergenerational transmission of poverty, violence, exclusion and discrimination and to achieving equitable and sustainable development outcomes

13 October

International Day for Disaster Reduction 
Theme for 2015: Knowledge for Life

The International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) encourages every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.The IDDR started in 1989 with the approval by the United Nations General Assembly. The UN General Assembly sees the IDDR as a way to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness. Originally celebrated on the second Wednesday of October (resolution 44/236, 22 December 1989), the UN General Assembly decided to designate October 13th as the date to celebrate the IDDR.
The focus of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction is on the traditional, indigenous and local knowledge which complement modern science and add to an individual’s and societies’ resilience.

15 October

International Day of Rural Women theme 2015

This week, UN Women marks three UN observances that reflect women's key role in development, beginning with International Day for Rural Women on 15 October, World Food Day on 16 October and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on 17 October .

Rural women, the majority of whom depend on natural resources and agriculture for their livelihoods, make up over a quarter of the total world population. In developing countries, rural women represent approximately 43 per cent of the agricultural labour force, and produce, process and prepare much of the food available, thereby giving them primary responsibility for food security. Bearing in mind that 76 per cent of the extreme poor live in rural areas, ensuring rural women’s access to productive agricultural resources empowers women and contributes to decreasing world hunger and poverty..

UN Women supports the leadership and participation of rural women in shaping laws, policies and programs on all issues that affect their lives, including improved food and nutrition security, and better rural livelihoods. Training equips them with skills to pursue new livelihoods and adapt technology to their needs.

16 October

World Food Day  [FAO] 
The official ceremony will commemorate FAO’s 70the Anniversary and address the theme for World Food Day 2015, “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”, and how this links with the UN theme for Expo 2015, “The Zero Hunger Challenge · United for a sustainable world”. (The 2014 Theme: Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth)

Highlights of the ceremony will include the official presentation of the Milan Charter to the UN Secretary-General, a manifesto that engages all citizens in the fight against undernourishment, malnutrition and waste, while promoting equal access to natural resources and sustainability. The Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, where Mayors worldwide commit to coordinating international food policies, is another important legacy document that will be presented. In addition to the keynote speakers, the Heads of IFAD and WFP will speak during the ceremony and guests will hear a few words from Pope Francis.

17 October

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
2015 Theme:  Building a sustainable future: Coming together to end poverty and discrimination

"On this day we recommit to think, decide and act together against extreme poverty -- and plan for a world where no-one is left behind. Our aim must be prosperity for all, not just a few."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty has been observed every year since 1993,  to promote awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution in all countries.
This year, the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty holds particular significance because it will be the first observance following the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Within this new development framework, designed to replace and carry forward the aims of the Millennium Development Goals, all countries committed to “ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions.”

20 October

World Statistics Day 
Official statistics help decision makers develop informed policies that impact millions of people. Improved data sources, sound statistical methods, new technologies and strengthened statistical systems enable better decisions that eventually result in better lives for all of us. On 20 October 2015, the global statistical community will showcase their achievements and their ongoing work to help this vision come true.

24 October

United Nations Day )
"The United Nations is needed more than ever at this time of multiple crises. [...] At this critical moment, let us reaffirm our commitment to empowering the marginalized and vulnerable. On United Nations Day, I call on Governments and individuals to work in common cause for the common good. " - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UN Staff celebrates UN Day
UN staff members dressed in their national costumes celebrate UN Day © UN Photo
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.
24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.

24 October

World Development Information Day  
The General Assembly in 1972 instituted World Development Information Day to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them..The Assembly felt that improving the dissemination of information and the mobilization of public opinion, particularly among young people, would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, thus, promoting efforts in the sphere of international cooperation for development.

27 October

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage [UNESCO] theme 2015
2015 is: “Archives at Risk: Protecting the World Identities”.
 "We must act today to ensure that future generations can enjoy humanity’s common
audiovisual heritage tomorrow. This heritage carries lessons, information and
knowledge that are essential to share. It is a foundation of identity and belonging as
well as a wellspring of innovation and creativity." Irina Bokova (Director-General of UNESCO)

Audiovisual documents, such as films, radio and television programmes, are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries. They help to maintain the cultural identity of a people; but countless documentary treasures have disappeared since the invention of image and sound technologies that permit the peoples of the world to better share their experiences, creativity and knowledge.

All of the world's audiovisual heritage is endangered. Nowhere can it be said to be preserved, but through initiatives such as the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage and the Memory of the World Programme, the precious work of preservation professionals is given impetus to manage a range of technical, political, social, financial and other factors that threaten the safeguarding of our heritage.

It was in this context, that the General Conference in 2005 approved the commemoration of a World Day for Audiovisual Heritage as a mechanism to raise general awareness of the need for urgent measures to be taken and to acknowledge the importance of audiovisual documents as an integral part of national identity.

31 October

World Cities Day 2915 theme 
2015 Theme: Yet to be released
 2014: Leading Urban Transformations
 One billion people-one out of three urban dwellers-are living in slum conditions.
"In a world where already over half the population lives in urban areas, the human future is largely an urban future.  We must get urbanization right, which means reducing greenhouse emissions, strengthening resilience, ensuring basic services such as water and sanitation and designing safe public streets and spaces for all to share."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
On 27 December 2013, the UN General Assembly decided to designate 31 October, beginning in 2014, as World Cities Day. The General Assembly recognizes the significance of equitable and adequate access to urban basic services as a foundation for sustainable urbanization and therefore to overall social and economic development.
The United Nations encourages Governments and Habitat Agenda partners to use planned city extension methodologies to guide the sustainable development of cities experiencing rapid urban growth, in order to prevent slum proliferation, enhance access to urban basic services, support inclusive housing, enhance job opportunities and create a safe and healthy living environment.


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