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.
This year, WHD follows on one of the most pivotal moments in the history of humanitarian action: the World Humanitarian Summit, held from 23 to 24 May in Istanbul. During the Summit, world leaders came together to declare their collective support for the new Agenda for Humanity and commit to bold action to reduce suffering and deliver better for the millions of people in need of humanitarian assistance.
WHD 2016 will continue communications around the World Humanitarian Summit. The #ShareHumanity campaign kicked off last year on 19 August, beginning a global countdown to drive awareness for the Summit. In April, the campaign ‘Impossible Choices’ was launched with a call to world leaders to attend the Summit and to ‘Commit to Action’. The final phase of the campaign will launch on 19 August and run up until the Secretary-General presents the Summit Report at the UN General Assembly in September.
2016 Theme: One Humanity
Under the overarching theme of ‘One Humanity’, WHD will promote how the world came together in Istanbul around the Agenda for Humanity, and how the commitments made at the World Humanitarian Summit will help the 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive. One Humanity speaks to how our shared human experiences bind us across divides, and create a common responsibility to demand action for the most vulnerable and at risk of being left behind.
WHD Digital Campaign ‘The World You’d Rather’
Following on the ‘Impossible Choices’ campaign earlier this year, 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.
One Humanity Events
WHD is marked every year with events held around the world. Under the banner of ‘One Humanity’, the UN and its partners are organising events that will raise awareness of the Agenda for Humanity and inspire people to demand greater global action for the 130 million people affected by conflict and disaster.
In New York, a special event will be held at the General Assembly on 19 August from 6:30 to 9:00 pm, which will include musical performances and speeches by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Natalie Dormer, Leslie Odom Jr., Alisan Porter, Mohammed Assaf, Yasmine Al Masri and the Harlem Gospel Choir. Hala Kalim and her four children, who were featured in the documentary ‘Children of Syria’, will also attend, and 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.
Photographic Exhibition: ‘When I Grow Up’
The photographic exhibition ‘When I Grow Up’ will be held at the General Assembly Visitors’ Hall at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 8 August to 14 October and at Photoville. The exhibition features moving photos that reveal the hopes and dreams of young people affected by humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Jordan, Mali and Niger.
A virtual reality film ‘Home’ will be launched on 19 August, which documents the Secretary-General’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 will launch a three-minute film on this year’s WHD.
A Humanitarian Film Festival is being organized by Conscious Good in recognition of WHD, with the four winning films set to be announced on 25 August.
During the WHD and until mid-September, a call for nominations is open for the Aurora Prize, a US$1 million award for inspiring humanitarians.
What can you do?
WHD 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 five 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