20 December: International Human Solidarity Day

This year’s celebration of Human Solidarity Day comes after leaders of the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which is a new, inclusive development agenda — succeeding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) — to eradicate poverty, protect the planet and ensure dignity for all.

The new SDGs agenda is centred on people & planet, underpinned by human rights and supported by a global partnership determined to lift people out of poverty, hunger and disease. It will be thus be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity.

Background

Solidarity is identified in the Millennium Declaration as one of the fundamental values of international relations in the 21st Century, wherein those who either suffer or benefit least deserve help from those who benefit most. Consequently, in the context of globalisation and the challenge of growing inequality, strengthening of international solidarity is indispensable.

Therefore, the UN General Assembly, convinced that the promotion of the culture of solidarity and the spirit of sharing is important for combating poverty, proclaimed 20 of December as International Human Solidarity Day.

Through initiatives such as the establishment of the World Solidarity Fund to eradicate poverty and the proclamation of International Human Solidarity Day, the concept of solidarity was promoted as crucial in the fight against poverty and in the involvement of all relevant stakeholders.

The UN and the Concept of Solidarity

The concept of solidarity has defined the work of the United Nations since the birth of the Organisation. The creation of the United Nations drew the peoples and nations of the world together to promote peace, human rights and social and economic development. The organisation was founded on a basic premise of unity and harmony among its members expressed in the concept of collective security that relies on the solidarity of its members to unite “to maintain international peace and security”.

It is in the spirit of solidarity that the organisation relies on “cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character” as well.

The General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution 60/209 identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples in the Twenty-first century, and in that regard decided to proclaim 20 December of each year International Human Solidarity Day.

By resolution 57/265 the General Assembly, on 20 December 2002, established the World Solidarity Fund, which was set up in February 2003 as a trust fund of the United Nations Development Programme. Its objective is to eradicate poverty and promote human and social development in developing countries, in particular among the poorest segments of their populations.

International Human Solidarity Day is

  • a day to celebrate our unity in diversity;
  • a day to remind governments to respect their commitments to international agreements;
  • a day to raise public awareness of the importance of solidarity;
  • a day to encourage debate on the ways to promote solidarity for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals including poverty eradication;
  • a day of action to encourage new initiatives for poverty eradication.

Source: UN, 2015

5 September: International Day of Charity

Charity contributes to the promotion of dialogue, solidarity and mutual understanding ‎among people.‎ Poverty persists in all countries of the world, ‎regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, particularly in developing countries.

In recognition of the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human ‎suffering within and among nations, as well as of the efforts of charitable organisations ‎and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa, the General Assembly of the ‎United Nations in its resolution A/RES/67/105 designated the 5th of September, the ‎anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, as the International Day of Charity.‎

On this International Day of Charity, the United Nations invites all Member States and all international and regional organisations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organisations and individuals, to commemorate the Day in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.

Background

Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.

The International Day of Charity was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.

The date of 5 September was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 “for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace.”

Mother Teresa, the renowned nun and missionary, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. In 1928 she went to India, where she devoted herself to helping the destitute. In 1948 she became an Indian citizen and founded the order of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkota (Calcutta) in 1950, which became noted for its work among the poor and the dying in that city.

For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless. Mother Teresa’s work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa died on September 5th 1997, at 87 years of age.