The United Nations observes designated days, weeks, years, and decades, each with a theme, or topic. By creating special observances, the United Nations promotes international awareness and action on these issues. The majority of observances have been established by resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, although some have been designated by UN specialized agencies.
The list of June observances are:
The family has the primary responsibility to protect, nurture and raise children. Global Day of Parents provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship. Member States are encouraged to celebrate this Day in full partnership with civil society, particularly involving young people and children. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2012 resolution A/RES/66/292.
Acknowledging the uniqueness, longevity and versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for two centuries, and that it is a simple, affordable, reliable, clean and environmentally fit sustainable means of transportation, fostering environmental stewardship and health, the General Assembly decided to declare 3 June World Bicycle Day.The Assembly welcomed initiatives to organize bicycle rides at the national and local levels as a means of strengthening physical and mental health and well-being and developing a culture of cycling in society.
With the development of more sophisticated and destructive weapons, wars are no longer limited to fighting soldiers; they have taken a severe toll on civilians, among whom the most vulnerable are children. International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression highlights our obligation, enshrined in the UN Declaration on the Rights of the Child, to ensure that all children enjoy special protection. This Day is commemorated every year to remind all States of the principles of the UN Charter. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1983 resolution A/RES/ES-7/8.
The 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment stated that humans bear a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. World Environment Day is celebrated to remind all States of their commitment to preserve the environment we live in, and to raise awareness of the dangers of climate change. Every year, events take place around the world to inform communities about the impact their individual actions have on the environment, and to suggest ways to better treat the world we live in. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1972 resolution A/RES/2994 (XXVII).
Fishing activities are responsible for the loss of 11–26 million tonnes of fish each year, which is estimated to have an economic value of US$10–23 billion. To curtail this impact, Target 14.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted in 2015 by the UN General Assembly, specifically urges the international community to “effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices” by 2020.
The world's oceans—their temperature, chemistry, currents and life—drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind. They are a major source of oxygen as well as food and medicines, and are a critical part of the biosphere. World Oceans Day celebrates our world's shared oceans, and raises awareness about the crucial role they play in our lives and the important ways people can help protect them. The observance also encourages States to cooperate on matters relating to navigational safety and the prevention, reduction and control of pollution from ships. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2008 resolution A/RES/63/111.
An estimated 215 million children are trapped in child labour worldwide, of which more than half are exposed to the worst forms of child labour such as work in hazardous environments, slavery or other forms of forced labour, illicit activities including drug trafficking and prostitution, and involvement in armed conflict. Each year World Day against Child Labour brings together governments, employers and workers, organizations, and civil society to highlight the plight of child labourers. The International Labour Organization launched this Day in 2002.
People with albinism face multiple forms of discrimination worldwide. Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization and social exclusion. This leads to various forms of stigma and discrimination. On 18 December 2014, the General Assembly proclaimed 13 June as an International Albinism Awareness Day, that is in effect from 2015.
Blood transfusion saves lives and improves health, yet many patients requiring transfusion do not have timely access to safe blood. About 107 million blood donations are collected worldwide, but almost half of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 15 per cent of the world's population. World Blood Donor Day celebrates the millions of people who give the precious gift of life through their donation of blood, as well as the value of donated blood in helping to save lives. The World Health Organization proclaimed this Day in 2004.
Elder abuse is a global human rights issue which affects the health of millions of older persons around the world. The incidence of abuse towards older people is predicted to increase as many countries are experiencing rapidly ageing populations, with the global population of persons aged 60 years and older estimated to reach 1.2 billion in 2025. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day urges all States to work together to optimize living conditions for older persons and enable them to make the greatest possible contribution to our world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2012 resolution A/RES/66/127.
The International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), celebrated every year on 16 June, is aimed at recognizing the significant financial contribution migrant workers make to the wellbeing of their families back home and to the sustainable development of their countries of origin. It is also aimed at encouraging the public and private sectors, as well as the civil society, to do more together and collaborate to maximize the impact of these funds in the developing world. UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2015 resolution A/RES/71/237.
Desertification is a phenomenon that ranks among the greatest environmental challenges of our time. Each year, 12 million hectares of land are lost due to desertification, directly affecting the lives of 1.5 billion people worldwide. World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought reminds States of their pledge to work together to maintain and restore land and soil productivity, and to mitigate the effects of drought in drylands. The observance includes seminars, media events and campaigns to raise awareness of the effects of drought and desertification. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1995 resolution A/RES/49/115.
The UN General Assembly adopted on 21 December 2016 its resolution A/RES/71/246 and designated 18 June as an international observance, Sustainable Gastronomy Day. The decision acknowledges gastronomy as a cultural expression related to the natural and cultural diversity. It also emphasizes the need to focus the world’s attention on the role that sustainable gastronomy can play, owing to its interlinkages with the three dimensions of sustainable development, in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by promoting:
- agricultural development;
- food security;
- sustainable food production; and
- conservation of biodiversity.
On 19 June 2015, the United Nations General Assembly (A/RES/69/293) proclaimed 19 June of each year the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, in order to raise awareness of the need to put an end to conflict-related sexual violence, to honour the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world and to pay tribute to all those who have courageously devoted their lives to and lost their lives in standing up for the eradication of these crimes.
Every minute, eight people somewhere in the world leave everything behind to escape war, persecution or terror. There are now more than 45 million refugees and internally displaced people throughout the world—the highest level in nearly 20 years. World Refugee Day calls on the international community to intensify efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, and to help achieve peace and security so that families can be reunited and refugees can return home. A wide range of activities, including film screenings, panel discussions, fashion shows, cultural performances, concerts and sports contests take place to raise awareness of the Day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this observance in its 2001 resolution A/RES/55/76.
On 11 December 2014, the UN General Assembly proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution A/RES/69/131.Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness. Today it is practiced in various forms around the world and continues to grow in popularity.The International Day of Yoga aims to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga.
Millions of the world's widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom. An estimated 115 million widows live in poverty, and 81 million have suffered physical abuse. International Widows' Day calls upon States, the UN and other international and regional organizations to give special attention to the situation of widows and their children. This Day promotes an end to all discrimination against the world's widows, and advocates for the rights of all widows so they can enjoy better lives and realize their potential to contribute to our world. The UN General Assembly declared this Day in its 2010 resolution A/RES/65/189.
The United Nations has long recognized the importance of good governance and efficient public administration. UN Public Service Day celebrates the value and virtue of public service to the community; highlights the contribution of public service to development; recognizes the work of public servants; and encourages young people to pursue careers in the public sector. Every year the UN Public Service Awards recognise excellence in public service, rewarding the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions worldwide. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2003 resolution A/RES/57/277.
Seafarers take on considerable risks in their daily duties. They work away from their families and friends for long periods of time, often in hostile environments. Day of the Seafarer provides an opportunity to pay tribute to the world's 1.5 million seafarers for their unique and all-too-often overlooked contribution to the well-being of the general public. On this Day, social networks are used by people around the globe to thank seafarers through stories, messages, videos and blog postings. The International Maritime Organization proclaimed this Day in 2010.
An estimated 210 million people use illicit drugs annually, with almost 200,000 deaths reported due to their consumption. International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking raises awareness of the billions of dollars generated from illicit drugs that fuel terrorist activities, human trafficking and arms smuggling. Public rallies and mass media coverage help promote the dangers of illicit drugs, educate adolescents on substance abuse, and convey treatment and care options for those addicted to drugs. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1987 resolution A/RES/42/112.
Every day, women, men and children are tortured or abused with the intention of destroying their sense of dignity and human worth. International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was established to promote the UN's aim to completely eradicate torture and see the effective functioning of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which entered into force in 1987. This Day urges States to assist the Victims of Torture fund and strengthen laws to allow the international community to bring more torturers to justice. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day through its 1997 resolution A/RES/52/149.
The General Assembly, recognizing the need to improve small business access to microfinance and credit, decided to designate 27 June as Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day through its resolution A/RES/71/279. The goal is to encourage member states to facilitate observance of the day by increasing awareness and actions to support small business.
The United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/267 on 14 June 2016, which declared that 29 June of each year is to be observed as the International Day of the Tropics.Tropical nations have made significant progress, but face a variety of challenges that demand attention across a range of development indicators and data in order to achieve sustainable development.
In December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/71/90, declaring 30 June International Asteroid Day in order to "observe each year at the international level the anniversary of the Tunguska impact over Siberia, Russian Federation, on 30 June 1908, and to raise public awareness about the asteroid impact hazard."