International Days

These are the international days currently observed by the United Nations. The United Nations designates specific days, weeks, years and decades as occasions to mark particular events or topics in order to promote, through awareness and action, the objectives of the Organization. Usually, it is one or more Member States that propose these observances and the General Assembly establishes them with a resolution. On occasion, these celebrations are declared by the specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as UNESCO, UNICEF, FAO, etc., when they concern issues that fall within the scope of their competencies. Some of them may be later adopted by the General Assembly.

January

February

4 February World Cancer Day

The World Cancer Day is an annual special day initiated by the Union for International Cancer Control or UICC and observed every February 4. Its main objective is to significantly reduce the global morbidity and mortality from cancer. The special day is an opportunity for…

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6 February International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

Condemnation Against Female Genital Mutilation Old traditions oftentimes need to be preserved and protected for the sake of anthropological considerations and cultural diversity. As much as possible, “modern” society must not intervene and try to assimilate the “primitive” culture. Otherwise, the unique identity of tribal…

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11 February International Day of Women and Girls in Science

Acknowledging the Scientific Contributions of Females On December 22, 2015, the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February of every year as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science through its resolution A/RES/70/212. This was in recognition of the contribution of women in…

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12 February Commemorating the History of Spaceflight

Spaceflight – both manned and unmanned – is a relatively recent historic development primarily initiated not by the desire to discover or explore but by the fear of complete military domination. The initial impetus of sending satellites and humans in space was in the context…

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13 February World Radio Day

Empowering Mass Communication for the Masses Radio as a means of mass communication is arguably the most empowering medium of information, ideas and opinions that shape the collective consciousness of the people. If used correctly, it is an instrument of good that can educate even…

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20 February World Day of Social Justice

Promoting Equitable Access to Opportunities, Transcending Barriers Social justice is basically about the fair or just relations of the individual to society in general. It is fundamentally concerned how individuals are treated regardless of their socioeconomic class, gender, religion, ethnic background or age. Social justice…

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21 February International Mother Language Day

Changes and Threats on Some Languages of the World Communication through symbolic means is not unique in humans. Other species of organisms have varying forms of communication. Social insects like bees communicate through pheromones. Whales communicate through ultrasonic signals underwater. Apes can learn rudimentary sign…

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March

1 March Zero Discrimination Day

Overcoming Bigotry and Irrational Discrimination Bigotry comes in various forms such as racial, gender, religious, and age-based bigotry. Some people and groups of people are culturally conditioned to become bigots. Children learn bigotry from their parents and from the community where they belong. Although some…

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3 March All Lives at Stake: Why Conserve Wildlife?

As human population continues to increase, we are losing species at approximately 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate. It means that one to five species naturally get extinct every year. However, due to heightened anthropogenic factors, dozens get extinct on a daily basis (150-200…

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8 March Global Struggle for Women’s Rights and Equality, Not Over

Politically disenfranchised The struggle for women’s rights and equality continues despite of the past victories in some countries. Women remain marginalized and oppressed in some cultures. Although women won the rights to suffrage in many countries like those in Europe and North America, women are…

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20 March The Unending Pursuit of Happiness

From ancient philosophers and religious figures to present-day self-help gurus, the concept of happiness has been emphasized as the central and ultimate pursuit of human existence. People also have distinctions as to the quality and levels of being happy. Even sufferings and personal sacrifices are…

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21 March Forests as Major Lifeline of the World

Forests can be considered as major lifeline because of its many roles in the complex ecological balance of the earth. Aside from being a crucial source of oxygen, forests provide habitats for may organisms. Around 80% of all the land-based species of animals, plants and…

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21 March International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Eradicating Racial Prejudice, Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia Racial prejudice, racism, racial discrimination and xenophobia are all related, but they should not be conflated. Most people have racial prejudice but not necessarily racist or xenophobic. The term xenophobia refers to the feelings of fear and distrust…

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April

4 April Campaign for the Total Global Ban of Landmines

International observance The International Mine Awareness Day is observed annually every April 4. It is meant to consolidate multisector efforts and public awareness in eradicating landmines. The special day was formally declared by the United Nations General Assembly on December 8, 2005 through resolution A/RES/60/97….

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21 April Celebrating Human Creativity and Innovation

On April 27, 2017 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/71/284, designating April 21 of every year as the World Creativity and Innovation Day. The resolution acknowledged that 50 countries around the world have been celebrating a special day for celebrating creativity and innovation…

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22 April Dedicating a Special Day for the Planet Earth

The International Mother Earth Day celebration is an annual special day declared by the United Nations General Assembly through resolution A/RES/63/278, adopted in 2009. It is a parallel and complimentary celebration with the Earth Day observance each year on the same date. It is in…

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23 April English Language as a Tool for Inclusivity Gets a Day

(Revisiting English being one of the six official languages of UN) To celebrate understanding amidst diversity, the establishment of United Nations (UN) English Language Day in 2010 by the UN Department of Public Information is set every April 23 annually. English is one of the…

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23 April Multilingualism: A Special Day for the Spanish Language

The UN use six official languages in its proceedings and formal documents, namely, English, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish. Among these are the languages spoken by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom,…

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25 April Rallying Global Efforts to Eradicate Malaria

As part of its effort to combat the malaria pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared April 25 each year as World Malaria Day. It is meant to rally global public support and consolidate the medical and social intervention efforts to eradicate the disease. As…

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26 April Remembering the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster

It was perhaps a twist of irony that the worst nuclear disaster that occurred during the Cold War Era was from a facility intended for peaceful purposes. I has been almost 33 years since the Chernobyl nuclear power plant meltdown but the region near the…

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May

2 May Striving for Sustainable Global Tuna Production

Global fish productions are divided into two categories, namely, capture productions and aquaculture productions. According to the 2016 data of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the total global fish production based on consumption was 170.9 million metric tonnes. The global fish…

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3 May The Freedom of the Press as a Basic Human Right

The press is commonly referred to as the “Fourth Estate” or the fourth power. It acknowledges the unofficial capacity or power of the press to influence society and government. It moulds public opinion that, in turn, mould public policies. As a highly influential political tool,…

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16 May Tolerance: A Significant Ingredient in Peaceful Coexistence

Tolerance is generally defined as “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behaviour that one does not necessarily agree with.” It is not synonymous with acceptance or support. For instance, a staunch Christian may believe that homosexuality is…

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16 May Light: Description and Celebration

The bible introduced the idea of creation out of nothing or “creatio ex nihilo.” In Genesis 1:3, for instance, God bring forth light without any source: “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” Whether you believe this story as literally true…

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20 May A Special Day for Bees as Important Pollinators

During its meeting in December 2017, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/72/211, officially declaring May 20 every year as World Bee Day. The date was chosen because it coincides with the birthday of Anton Janša, the pioneer of beekeeping, who was born in…

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21 May Common Grounds for the Various Cultural Traditions

A special international day for recognising cultural differences and finding common grounds is necessary for peaceful coexistence. Although still largely restricted and divided into geographical locations, countries, ethnicities, and tribes, humanity has the capacity to transcend these differences. We have the communication and transportation technologies…

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23 May Reducing a Serious Pregnancy Risk: Obstetric Fistula

Pregnancy is always risky at varying degrees. Giving birth is much riskier, especially for those mothers who are living in poor and developing countries. Basic maternal health services such as professional midwives and birthing clinics are absent in many rural communities in poor countries. The…

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29 May Honouring the Sacrifices and Heroism of UN Peacekeepers

After the atrocities and devastation of World War II, the United Nations rose from the ashes of the League of Nations. Originally, there were only 51 countries that signed the UN Charter. They became the founding members of the newly created international diplomatic organisation. Today,…

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31 May Global Prevention of the Ill Effects of Tobacco and Smoking

The scientific consensus is conclusive that tobacco consumption is harmful to health but tobacco products are still allowed under heavy taxation and regulations. National laws and even local government ordinances are implemented to discourage smoking but since the demand is inelastic due to the addictive…

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December

1 December World AIDS Day

Aids Awareness, Prevention, Test and Treatment Word AIDS Day is an international observance initiated by the United Nations with the main purpose of inculcating global awareness. Awareness leads to better prevention programs and proactive medical interventions. The primary goals include avoiding infection and preventing the…

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2 December International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery was first organized by the United Nations General Assembly on December 2, 1986. It was a recognition of the reality of slavery in the modern world. Despite of international treaties and national laws, human exploitation in the…

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3 December International Day of Persons with Disability

Acknowledging People with Disabilities In a politically correct world, they are sometimes euphemistically called differently abled persons or persons with special needs. The euphemism is not intended to misdirect but rather to show respect. However, the more accurate term, “disabled persons,” is officially used by…

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5 December World Soil Day

SOS: Save Our Soil #StopSoilPollution and be one of the world’s environmental warriors If soil gets polluted, the ecosystem gets harmed as well, killing many organisms in the process. Usually neglected, soil is getting more degraded in the past decades since a lot of people…

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7 December International Civil Aviation

The Need for a Global Celebration of International Civil Aviation Twenty-two years ago (1996), the United Nations General Assembly declared the seventh day of December as the special day for celebrating civil aviation. Since then, the International Civil Aviation Day has been celebrated around the…

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9 December International Anti-Corruption Day

Fighting Graft and Corruption for a Better World Economic experts estimate that at least US$2 trillion is stolen from government funds worldwide each year through corruption. At the same time, approximately US$ 1 trillion is paid to corrupt government officials as bribes to favor certain…

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9 December International Day for the Commemoration of the Victims of Genocide

The Nazi’s “Final Solution” led to the systematic torture, experimentation, enslavement, and ultimately extermination of more than six million Jews. Although the Nazis victimized other people, the industrial-level of efficiency and coldness the Holocaust was carried out was distinct. It targeted one specific ethnic group…

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10 December International Human Rights Day

Celebrating Human Equality and Dignity The annual celebration of the International Human Rights Day every 10th day of December purposely coincides with the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This year marks the 70th year anniversary of the declaration. Historical background The…

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11 December International Mountain Day

Sustainability of Mountains and the Communities Dependent on Them The sustainability of mountain communities is directly dependent on the sustainability of the mountains. The mountain ecosystem must be protected without necessarily sacrificing the economic needs of the communities that are directly dependent on mountain resources….

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12 December International Day of Neutrality

Preventing Global Conflicts through Neutrality Both World War I and World War II occurred mainly because of alliances among nation-states that sought to dominate other countries. Extreme nationalism and regionalism led to these two most devastating wars in history. These wars were different from all…

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12 December International Health Coverage Day

Ensuring Fundamental Right to Health and Well-Being Access to universal healthcare is a hotly debated and highly politicized issue in some developed countries like the United States. Even though the governments in these developed countries can afford universal healthcare, the critics point out that it…

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18 December International Migrants Day

Balancing the Tide of Migration in a Globalized Economy The progress of humanity has been marked by major waves of migrations such as the prehistoric migration of the first groups of humans from the African continent into Europe. The spread of human population around the…

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18 December Arabic Language Day

Giving Importance to a Sacred Language Arabic was originally the common language of nomadic tribes but eventually was promoted to a high status with the emergence and spread of Islam. The language became a sacred language as it was used in writing down the revelations…

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20 December International Human Solidarity Day

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller Collective effort apparently defeats scattered individual efforts. This is simply called solidarity which was acknowledged as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century by United Nations’…

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