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International Day against the Use of Child Soldiers – 12 February

End Violence Against Children

One in every six children live in conflict zones. Each day these children must navigate extreme risks of violence, psychological trauma, abduction, and abuse.
 
And thousands of these children are caught in the eye of storm each year, recruited and used as soldiers in armed conflicts across the world. Between 2005 and 2020, more than 93,000 children were recruited and used by armed groups. 8,500 of these cases were reported to authorities in 2020 alone, and the actual number of cases is believed to be much higher.
 
On 12 February, Red Hand Day is catalysing advocacy efforts from around the world to raise awareness about children recruited for armed conflict. Civil society, governments and international organisations are coming together to demand that children not be used in armed groups or other military units and to promote peace, aid and support for child soldiers.

No child should be a soldier in combat

Children in combat is more than just a child holding a weapon. Those recruited are forced into hardorzous child labour, hired as spies or looters, and forced to kill. Recruited children are often taken in by force, abduction, or even compelled by families for income and food. 

There is risk of abuse and sexual violence, especially for girls. Trafficking of children, particularly for sexual exploitation which disproportionately affects young girls and women, has been found in all conflict areas across the world.

Since 2002, the UN has instated the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict in the Convention of the Rights of the Child. Ratified by 172 countries, it states the commitment that children under the age of 18 should not participate in military organisations of any kind and that recruitment for such purposes must be actively prevented. Yet, the UN’s 2021 report on Children and Armed Conflict notes that at least 15 countries have cases of recruitment and use of children in settings that need humanitarian assistance.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.end-violence.org/articles/red-hand-day

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Day – June 27

Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day | June 27
Every year on June 27th, Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Day raises awareness for the important role different sized enterprises play in meeting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

#MicroSmallMediumSizedEnterprisesDay

There are two classes of micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. These classes include manufacturing enterprises and service enterprises. Businesses are further broken down according to how much money they invest in their manufacturing plant, machinery, and equipment. According to recent estimates, more than 95% of global enterprises are micro-, small and medium-sized. These companies account for 60% of private-sector employment. Additionally, these enterprises make up 50% of GDP.

In 2015, the UN General Assembly developed 17 global goals that they called Sustainable Development Goals. The purpose of the goals is to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. The UN also hopes to achieve these goals by 2030.

Some of these sustainable goals include:

  • No poverty
  • Good health and well-being
  • Quality education
  • Gender equality
  • Clean water and sanitation
  • Decent work and economic growth
  • Industry, innovation and infrastructure
  • Sustainable cities and communities
  • Responsible consumption and production

The UN believes micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises help to sustain growth for long-term development in developing countries. As this growth becomes stronger, enterprises of all sizes will begin to play a key role in industrial development. Micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises will do this by increasing local demand for services. These types of enterprises will also be responsible for significant employment opportunities and income generation.

MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM-SIZED ENTERPRISES DAY HISTORY

On April 6, 2017, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution to designate June 27th as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day. The resolution was co-sponsored by 54 member states, representing over 5 billion people. The UN has appointed the International Trade Centre as the leading agency for this observance.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/june-international-days/

World Refugee Day – 20 June 2023

2023 Theme: Hope Away from Home

World Refugee Day is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It falls each year on June 20 and celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives.

Background

Every minute 20 people leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. There are several types of forcibly displaced persons:

Refugees

A refugee is someone who fled his or her home and country owing to “a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion”, according to the United Nations 1951 Refugee Convention. Many refugees are in exile to escape the effects of natural or human-made disasters.

Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers say they are refugees and have fled their homes as refugees do, but their claim to refugee status is not yet definitively evaluated in the country to which they fled.

Internally Displaced Persons

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have not crossed an international border but have moved to a different region than the one they call home within their own country.

Stateless Persons

Stateless persons do not have a recognized nationality and do not belong to any country.

Statelessness situations are usually caused by discrimination against certain groups. Their lack of identification — a citizenship certificate — can exclude them from access to important government services, including health care, education or employment.

Returnees

Returnees are former refugees who return to their own countries or regions of origin after time in exile. Returnees need continuous support and reintegration assistance to ensure that they can rebuild their lives at home.

UN Action

1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol

Refugees are among the most vulnerable people in the world. The 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol help protect them. They are the only global legal instruments explicitly covering the most important aspects of a refugee’s life. According to their provisions, refugees deserve, as a minimum, the same standards of treatment enjoyed by other foreign nationals in a given country and, in many cases, the same treatment as nationals.

The 1951 Convention contains a number of rights and also highlights the obligations of refugees towards their host country. The cornerstone of the 1951 Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. According to this principle, a refugee should not be returned to a country where he or she faces serious threats to his or her life or freedom. This protection may not be claimed by refugees who are reasonably regarded as a danger to the security of the country, or having been convicted of a particularly serious crime, are considered a danger to the community.

The rights contained in the 1951 Convention include:

  • The right not to be expelled, except under certain, strictly defined conditions;
  • The right not to be punished for illegal entry into the territory of a contracting State;
  • The right to work;
  • The right to housing;
  • The right to education;
  • The right to public relief and assistance;
  • The right to freedom of religion;
  • The right to access the courts;
  • The right to freedom of movement within the territory;
  • The right to be issued identity and travel documents.

Some basic rights, including the right to be protected from refoulement, apply to all refugees. A refugee becomes entitled to other rights the longer they remain in the host country, which is based on the recognition that the longer they remain as refugees, the more rights they need.

 

Source: Text: https://www.un.org/en/observances/refugee-day    Image: https://www.universalcurrentaffairs.com/2022/06/world-refugee-day

International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers – 29 May

Background

The General Assembly, in its resolution 57/129, designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers. This is the date when in 1948 the first UN peacekeeping mission named the « United Nations Truce Supervision Organization », or UNTSO, began operations in Palestine. On this day, we pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in UN peacekeeping operations, and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.

Since the first UN Peacekeeping mission was established in 1948, 3,800 military, police and civilian personnel have lost their lives in the service of peace as a result of acts of violence, accidents and disease. On 29 May, UN offices, alongside Member States and non-governmental organizations, hold solemn events to honour fallen peacekeepers.

At the UN Headquarters in New York, the Secretary-General presides over a wreath-laying ceremony in honour of all peacekeepers who lost their lives while serving under the UN flag. In addition, the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal is awarded posthumously to the peacekeepers who have fallen while serving in the cause of peace, during the preceding year.

UN Peacekeeping operations use the Day to strengthen bonds with the local populations that they have been deployed to serve. For example by holding sporting events, school and orphanage visits, art and essay competitions, photo exhibits, neighbourhood clean ups, tree plantings, concerts, and conferences and workshops on peace issues.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/events/peacekeepersday/background

 

International Day for Biological Diversity – 22 May 2023

 Introduction

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 The International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues. When first created by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly in late 1993, 29 December (the date of entry into force of the Convention of Biological Diversity), was designated The International Day for Biological Diversity. In December 2000, the UN General Assembly adopted 22 May as IDB, to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity. This was partly done because it was difficult for many countries to plan and carry out suitable celebrations for the date of 29 December, given the number of holidays that coincide around that time of year.
Source: Text: https://www.cbd.int/idb/

As the global community is called to re-examine our relationship to the natural world, one thing is certain: despite all our technological advances we are completely dependent on healthy and vibrant ecosystems for our water, food, medicines, clothes, fuel, shelter and energy, just to name a few.

This involves respecting, protecting, and repairing our biological wealth.

Undoubtedly, this year is special in terms of biodiversity conservation. We now have a renewed sense of hope with the adoption of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, a historic agreement signed in December 2022 that sets goals and concrete measures to stop and reverse the loss of nature by 2050.

That is why the theme of the International Day for Biological Diversity (2023) is from agreement to action: build back biodiversity. The slogan promotes the idea that, now that we have an action plan agreed upon at a global level, we must implement all the measures that the agreement contemplates before 2030. Only in this way will we be able to obtain protected and sustainable biological diversity by 2050. That is the main message from the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the key international instrument for sustainable development.

Source: Texte: https://www.un.org/en/observances/biological-diversity-day      Images: Convention on Biological Diversity

World Bee Day – 20 May

We all depend on the survival of bees

Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats and hummingbirds, are increasingly under threat from human activities.

Pollination is, however, a fundamental process for the survival of our ecosystems. Nearly 90% of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination, along with more than 75% of the world’s food crops and 35% of global agricultural land. Not only do pollinators contribute directly to food security, but they are key to conserving biodiversity.

To raise awareness of the importance of pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated 20 May as World Bee Day.

The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators, which would significantly contribute to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.

We all depend on pollinators and it is, therefore, crucial to monitor their decline and halt the loss of biodiversity.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/bee-day

International Jazz Day – 30 April

International Jazz Day highlights the ability for jazz to unite people from all walks of life and draw together folks from around the globe. No one is left out, as this day brings together artists, schools, communities, historians, academics, and jazz aficionados to raise awareness around this type of music and educate the public about the roots, impact, and future of jazz. There’s a deep-rooted message attached to this day of celebration, such as reinforcing international cooperation and communication.

It brings to light the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding through one of the best ways possible, music. The power of the music will be apparent when participants view people of all backgrounds, forgetting about their differences and joining together to celebrate jazz. Any adverse circumstances from the past or present are suddenly forgotten or pushed aside, and people begin to focus on friendship, freedom, hope, and dignity instead.

The day itself is intended to promote peace, diversity, respect among different cultures, and highlight the need for human rights and dignity. The music itself addresses the desire for eliminating discrimination and promoting the freedom of expression. Youth are also encouraged to participate by enacting change and helping to foster gender equality. One will have the chance to experience how much life and love emerges when the day kicks off, and musicians from all over begin to jam and play their music.

History of International Jazz Day

It all began in 2011 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization declared International Jazz Day as an opportunity to give recognition to jazz music and state its role to unite people all around the globe. It’s been going strong ever since and people look forward to this day each year when music lovers from around the world can share in the experience of listening to and making jazz music.

The idea itself emerged from jazz pianist and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock. Together, the UNESCO Director-General and Hancock chair the event and ensure people from all over come out to participate in the celebration each year. Cities such as Paris, New Orleans, and New York were some of the first to begin to educate the public on the event and draw excitement to Jazz Day.

The Host City goes as far as to organize an All-Star Global Concert which brings together over two-dozen jazz musicians from all parts of the world in or around a historical landmark. It’s interesting to know that the popularity of the day has grown immensely over the years. Now, nearly 200 countries participate in International Jazz Day.

You can visit just about any location and hear and experience jazz music at its finest. You’ll witness artists and onlookers expressing themselves in their own unique and individual way. Cape Town, South Africa is the Host City for 2020, so one should make a note of this if he or she wants to travel and see some of the best musicians perform their music live. Not only will there be music present at the event, but organizers are also planning an extensive educational and community outreach program for people to participate in and as a way for them to expand their knowledge.

 

Source: Text (Abridged): https://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/jazz-day     Image: Freepik

 

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace – 6 April 2023

« Sport has the power to align our passion, energy and enthusiasm around a collective cause. And that is precisely when hope can be nurtured and trust can be regained. It is in our collective interest to harness the tremendous power of sport to help build a better and more sustainable future for all. »

– UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed

Scoring for People and the Planet

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP), which takes place annually on 6 April, presents an opportunity to recognize the positive role sport and physical activity play in communities and in people’s lives across the globe.

Sport has the power to change the world; it is a fundamental right and a powerful tool to strengthen social ties and promote sustainable development and peace, as well as solidarity and respect for all.

The global theme for the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2023 is “Scoring for People and the Planet”. As in previous years, this overarching theme allows for IDSDP activities to broadly focus around the impact and influence of sport on sustainable development and peace.

From empowering women and girls, young people, persons with disabilities, and other marginalized groups to advancing health, sustainability, and education objectives, sport offers tremendous potential for advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for promoting peace and human rights. The United Nations has long recognized the power and universality of sport, using it to unite individuals and groups through supporting sport for development efforts, participating in events from the global to the grassroots level, and developing its own sports-related campaigns and initiatives.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/sport-day

World Wildlife Day – 3 March

World Wildlife 2021 poster

On 20 December 2013, the Sixty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly decided to proclaim 3 March as World Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild fauna and flora. The date is the day of the adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, which plays an important role in ensuring that international trade does not threaten the species’ survival.

Previously, 3 March had been designated as World Wildlife Day in a resolution made at the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to CITES (CoP16) held in Bangkok from 3 to 14 March 2013. The CITES resolution was sponsored by the Kingdom of Thailand, the Host of CITES CoP16, which transmitted the outcomes of CITES CoP16 to the UN General Assembly.

The Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in collaboration with other relevant United Nations organizations, facilitates the implementation of World Wildlife Day.

With 183 Member States, CITES remains one of the world’s most powerful tools for biodiversity conservation through the regulation of trade in wild fauna and flora.

 

Source: Text & Image: https://www.un.org/en/observances/world-wildlife-day/

World AIDS Day – 1 December 2022

Equalize

Every year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day. People around the world unite to show support for people living with and affected by HIV and to remember those who lost their lives to AIDS.

The inequalities which perpetuate the AIDS pandemic are not inevitable; we can tackle them. This World AIDS Day, UNAIDS is urging each of us to address the inequalities which are holding back progress in ending AIDS.

The “Equalize” slogan is a call to action. It is a prompt for all of us to work for the proven practical actions needed to address inequalities and help end AIDS.

Data from UNAIDS on the global HIV response reveals that during the last two years of COVID-19 and other global crises, progress against the HIV pandemic has faltered, resources have shrunk, and millions of lives are at risk as a result. 

We have only eight years left before the 2030 goal of ending AIDS as a global health threat. Economic, social, cultural and legal inequalities must be addressed as a matter of urgency. In a pandemic, inequalities exacerbate the dangers for everyone. Indeed, the end of AIDS can only be achieved if we tackle the inequalities which drive it. World leaders need to act with bold and accountable leadership. And all of us, everywhere, must do all we can to help tackle inequalities too.

Dangerous Inequalities

Dangerous Inequalities, the UNAIDS World AIDS Day report 2022, reveals that inequalities are obstructing the end of AIDS. On current trends the world will not meet agreed global targets on AIDS. Millions of lives are at stake. The new UNAIDS report shows that only urgent action to tackle inequalities can get the world’s AIDS response on track. It shows how world leaders can tackle those inequalities, and calls on them to be courageous in doing so.

 

Source: Text & Image: un.org