World Humanitarian Day

International Observance for Humanity is August 19th

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service, and to mobilize people to advocate for a more humane world. The day was designated by the General Assembly of the United Nations seven years ago to coincide with the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq. This World Humanitarian Day, the UN and its partners are calling for global solidarity with the more than 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive.

As a goodwill ambassador working with these concepts and programs everyday, I perceive World Humanitarian Day as special because it gives us some valuable tools to mobilize people to come together as one. World Humanitarian Day highlights the World Humanitarian Summit which took place in Istanbul, Turkey, in May 2016. World leaders came together to declare their collective support for the new "Agenda for Humanity", which emphasizes some important areas where we can do better, and what we can do. Therefore, the World Humanitarian Summit was an important step on our common way to a better, more humane future. 

The theme of World Humanitarian Day 2016 is One Humanity. Source: United Nations

2016 Theme: One Humanity

In the digital quiz "The World You'd Rather" users will be confronted with challenging choices.

The theme of World Humanitarian Day 2016 is “One Humanity”. We are confronting some of the greatest challenges of our time and we are all one humanity sharing our responsibilities. Not only the world leaders, but also each one of us, need to commit to these responsibilities for the sake of humanity.

Digital campaign will bring to light the very real scenarios faced by people in crisis.

The WHD digital campaign “The World You’d Rather” will launch on 19 August. Featuring a quiz based on the popular game “Would you rather”, the digital campaign will bring to light the very real scenarios faced by people in crisis. After being confronted with challenging choices, users will be able to share a personalized graphic on social media, tweet their world leader and learn about the Agenda for Humanity.

Activities for World Humanitarian Day

In New York, a special event will be held at the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 August from 6:30 to 9:00 pm. Hala Kalim and her four children, who were featured in the documentary “Children of Syria”, will attend. Alongside talented musicians and high-level speakers, they will tell their story of the impossible choices they faced living in and fleeing Syria through four short films. A wreath laying ceremony will be held on 19 August at the Visitors’ Entrance at UN Headquarters to honor the aid workers who lost their lives in humanitarian service.

A virtual reality film, “Home”, will be launched on 19 August, which documents the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s travels to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Jordan, Lebanon and South Sudan as part of his “Mission for Humanity”. On the day, the Secretary-General will also release a video statement on the Day and OCHA (United Nations Office for the coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) will launch a three-minute film on this year’s WHD.

What we all can do?

World Humanitarian Day is a day for everyone to come together and take action for a safer and more humane world for the communities affected by crisis and the people who devote their lives to helping them.

Here are a few ways you can get involved:

  • Learn about the Agenda for Humanity and the core responsibilities.
  • Use the #sharehumanity hashtag to advocate for the Agenda for Humanity and the more than 130 million people affected by crisis.
  • Attend or organize a WHD event on 19 August.

Agenda for Humanity - Core Responsibilities

The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for humanity – people’s safety, dignity and the right to thrive – to be placed at the heart of global decision-making. To deliver for humanity, stakeholders must act on the core responsibilities seen in the illustrations below.

"In a world that is ever more digitally connected, each of us has the power and responsibility to inspire our fellow human beings to act to help others and create a more humane world."

- UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, for World Humanitarian Day 2016

Core responsibilities in the Agenda for Humanity. Source: United Nations.

For this World Humanitarian Day, let us all come together as one humanity. Let us realize what kind of reality our fellow humans live in and show some solidarity. We don’t all need to make big efforts, but if each one of us does a small act for a more humane world, our collective efforts will make a change.

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