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 October observances are:
In 2050, for the first time in human history, there will be more persons over 60 years of age than children in the world. International Day of Older Persons is celebrated to highlight the opportunities and challenges of an ageing population in the 21st century and to promote the development of a society for all ages. Events are held at the UN offices in New York and Geneva to support efforts in improving the lives of our rapidly ageing population and ensuring their meaningful participation in society. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1990 resolution A/RES/45/106.
Nearly a quarter of urban residents, more than 850 million people, live in slums or informal settlements. World Habitat Day underscores the urgent need for better-planned and better-functioning cities, where everyone has adequate shelter, sanitation, education and healthcare. Each year, UN-Habitat's Scroll of Honour is awarded to initiatives that have made outstanding contributions to developing and improving human settlements and the quality of urban life. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1985 resolution A/RES/40/202.
The principle of non-violence—also known as non-violent resistance—rejects the use of physical violence in order to achieve social or political change. This form of social struggle has been adopted all over the world in campaigns for social justice. International Day of Non-Violence, celebrated on the anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, reaffirms the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence. Every year events take place to encourage States to work together to build a world of tolerance and lasting peace. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2007 resolution A/RES/61/271.
A quality education offers hope and the promise of a better standard of living. However, there can be no quality education without competent and motivated teachers. On World Teachers’ Day, the UN highlights the importance of supportive environments, quality training and rights for teachers, and celebrates the crucial role teachers play in shaping our future. Events are held around the world to highlight the importance of education and to offer advice and encouragement for students who wish to begin a teaching career. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization proclaimed this Day in 1994.
In an era of new information and communication technologies, mobile telephones and the Internet, the postal service remains an integral part of our world. World Post Day raises awareness of the role the postal sector has in people's everyday lives and highlights its contribution to social and economic development. The observance also marks the anniversary of the establishment of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) in 1874. In many countries, this Day is celebrated through exhibitions, seminars, and the issuance of new stamps and products. This Day was declared by UPU in 1969.
Depression affects more than 350 million people of all ages, in all communities. Access to treatment can be difficult, and in some countries fewer than 10 per cent of those in need receive treatment. World Mental Health Day promotes open discussion of mental disorders, as well as investments in prevention, promotion and treatment services. The World Health Organization supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues in collaboration with Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe.
Meaningful participation of girls is key in breaking the cycle of discrimination and violence and in promoting and protecting the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights. International Day of the Girl Child focuses attention on the need to address the challenges girls face and to promote girls’ empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. This Day also reminds States of their commitments to both the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Celebrations are held to raise awareness of the situation of girls around the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2012 resolution A/RES/66/170.
Natural disasters may not be preventable, yet human actions can increase risk and turn danger into catastrophe. International Day for Disaster Reduction raises awareness of how people are taking action to reduce their risk in disasters such as earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or landslides, and highlight methods of protection. Events are held each year to inform the public of how to reduce the risk of disasters and quicken recovery, promote investment in early warning systems, and encourage citizens and Governments to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities and nations. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2009 resolution A/RES/64/200.
Many human activities such as unsustainable hunting, as well as the impacts of climate change, fisheries by-catch and pollution, gravely threaten migratory bird populations. World Migratory Bird Day raises awareness of the threats to the migration patterns of these species and advocates for their protection. The observance is marked by birdwatching excursions, festivals and educational programmes around the world. The United Nations Environment Programme established this Day in 2006.
Rural women play a critical role in supporting movements for democracy, human rights and peace, economic development and the welfare of their families and communities. Yet they continue to face disadvantages and discrimination that prevent them from realizing their potential. International Day of Rural Women celebrates the ability of rural women to ease poverty, and calls for equal rights, opportunities and resources to assist them. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2008 resolution A/RES/62/136.
Today almost 870 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations marks World Food Day to raise awareness of the problem of hunger in the world, strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition and poverty, and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development. The UN General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/35/70, welcomed this observance, established in 1979 by FAO to coincide with the anniversary of the Organization's founding in 1945.
Around the world, 1.2 billion people are living in extreme poverty. They are challenged and threatened by lack of food, shelter and access to essential services, endure hazardous working conditions, and live in degraded and insecure living environments. International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is an opportunity to renew our commitment and show solidarity with the poor, acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty, and provide a chance for them to make their concerns heard. States are invited to devote this Day to promoting concrete activities for the eradication of poverty and destitution. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1993 resolution A/RES/47/196.
The first World Statistics Day was celebrated in 2010, as decided in resolution 64/267, and was deemed an overwhelming success, with activities organized in more than 130 Member States and by at least 40 international and regional organizations and entities.The UN General Assembly decided with resolution 69/282 to celebrate the day every five years from now on.
On this date in 1945, the Charter of the United Nations entered into force. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being. United Nations Day is a time to reaffirm the commitment and collective resolve of Member States to live up to the ideals of the Charter and build a better world for all.The UN Day Concert, in New York, is a traditional part of the celebrations, with similar events taking place around the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1947 resolution A/RES/168 (II).
Information and communication technologies have the potential to provide new solutions to development challenges as they can foster economic growth, competitiveness, access to information and knowledge, poverty eradication and social inclusion. World Development Information Day draws the attention of the public to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1972 resolution A/RES/3038 (XXVII), in the conviction that improving the dissemination of information would lead to greater awareness of the problems of development, and promote international cooperation for development.
Audiovisual documents—such as films, radio and television programmes—are our common heritage and contain the primary records of the 20th and 21st centuries. Yet countless documentary treasures have disappeared as new image and sound technologies are invented. World Day for Audiovisual Heritage helps raise awareness of the importance of our audiovisual heritage and its value in ensuring the preservation of recordings and moving images that reflect the economic, political and social events of history. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization established this Day in 2005.
Assembly has designated the 31st of October as World Cities Day, by its resolution 68/239. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.