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 November observances are:
Over the past 11 years, more than 900 journalists have been killed for bringing news and information to the public. Worryingly, only one in ten cases committed against media workers over the past decade has led to a conviction. This impunity emboldens the perpetrators of the crimes and at the same time has a chilling effect on society including journalists themselves. Impunity breeds impunity and feeds into a vicious cycle. UNESCO is concerned that impunity damages whole societies by covering up serious human rights abuses, corruption, and crime. The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.
In December 2015, the UN General Assembly designated 5 November as World Tsunami Awareness Day. World Tsunami Awareness Day was the brainchild of Japan, which due to its repeated, bitter experience has over the years built up major expertise in areas such as tsunami early warning, public action and building back better after a disaster to reduce future impacts. The date for the annual celebration was chosen in honour of the Japanese story of “Inamura-no-hi”, meaning the “burning of the rice sheaves”. During an 1854 earthquake a farmer saw the tide receding, a sign of a looming tsunami. He set fire to his entire harvest to warn villagers, who fled to high ground and stayed safe.The UN General Assembly has called on all countries, international bodies and civil society to observe the day, in order to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction. It also asked the UN office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) to facilitate the observance of World Tsunami Awareness Day in collaboration with the rest of the United Nations system.
Armed conflict has wide-ranging, long-term consequences for the environment. Water wells are polluted, crops torched, soils poisoned, and animals killed to gain military advantage. International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict highlights that over the last 60 years, at least 40 per cent of all internal conflicts have been linked to the exploitation of natural resources such as timber, diamonds, gold, oil, fertile land and water. Each year States are reminded of their commitment to the sustainable management of natural resources for ensuring durable peace and security. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2001 resolution A/RES/56/4.
Science and scientists play an important role in sustainable societies. World Science Day for Peace and Development is an opportunity to show the general public the relevance of science in their lives, reaffirm national and international commitments to science for peace and development, and promote the responsible use of science for the benefit of society. Each year events are held to raise awareness of the importance of science and to bridge the gap between science and society. This Day was proclaimed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 2001.
The World Health Organization projects that the amount of people currently living with diabetes, 364 million, will double by 2030. World Diabetes Day raises awareness about diabetes prevention and helping people with diabetes to maximise their quality of life. Every year organizations, NGOs, health departments and civil society mark the day with activities including free diabetes screenings, workshops and public information meetings. The UN General Assembly designated this Day in its 2007 resolution A/RES/61/225
For centuries, in every culture, philosophical concepts, ideas and analyses have provided the basis for critical, independent and creative thought. World Philosophy Day celebrates the importance of philosophical reflection, and encourages people all over the world to share their philosophical heritage with others. Each year States are urged to mark this Day with events such as dialogues and debates to recognize the role philosophy can play in today’s world, as well as to inspire public debate on the challenges confronting our society. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization established this Day in 2002.
Tolerance is an act of humanity. It promotes respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world's cultures and forms of expression, and recognizes the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of others. International Day for Tolerance highlights the need for tolerance and understanding in order to collectively address pressing challenges and secure a better future. Each year events are held to remind States and people that active tolerance begins with all individuals, every day. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1996 resolution A/RES/51/95.
Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among young people, killing 1.2 million people every year and injuring 50 million more. World Day for Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was created to commemorate victims and support their relatives. Events are held to draw the public’s attention to road traffic accidents, their consequences and costs, and measures to prevent them. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2005 resolution 6A/RES/60/5.
Around the world, 2.5 billion people continue to lack basic sanitation, including a clean toilet. World Toilet Day raises awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation, and encourages Member States to introduce policies to increase sanitation among the poor and contribute to sustainable environmental practices. The UN General Assembly declared this Day in its 2013 resolution A/67/L.75.
African economies are among the fastest growing in the world, yet intra-regional trade accounts only for 10 per cent of the continent’s commerce. Many constraints impede trade expansion in Africa, including obsolete infrastructure, low production capacities, limited investment financing and high transaction costs. Africa Industrialization Day is celebrated to mobilize the commitment of the international community to the industrialization of Africa and intra-African trade as a way to ensure a more prosperous and sustainable future for all the continent’s people. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day through its 1989 resolution A/RES/44/237.
The obligations of all States to succeeding generations can only be fulfilled by increased efforts on behalf of children. Universal Children’s Day promotes the ideals and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and the welfare of the children of the world. Events take place each year to remind the world of the continuation of extreme poverty affecting children, child soldiers and the lack of universal primary school education. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day through its 1954 resolution A/RES/836(IX). It is also the date of adoption of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Television educates, informs, entertains, instructs, and influences in many ways. It is a major tool for alerting the world to threats to peace and security and providing information on economic and social issues. World Television Day emphasizes that the television industry has the ability to promote mutual understanding and tolerance, with content that tells the stories and situations of people across the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1996 resolution A/RES/51/205.
Violence against women and girls takes many forms, including rape, domestic violence, harassment at work, abuse in school, female genital mutilation and sexual violence in armed conflicts. These forms of violence are widespread throughout the globe, and perpetrators often go unpunished. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women highlights the inalienable rights of women and girls enshrined in international human rights and humanitarian law. Activities are organized each year to raise awareness of the extent of violence against women around the world. The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign aims to raise public awareness and increase political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women and girls. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 1999 resolution A/RES/54/134.
More than eight million Palestinian people live in territory occupied by Israel, in Israel, in neighbouring Arab States, and in regional refugee camps. International Day of Solidarity provides an opportunity to remind the international community that the question of Palestine remains unresolved and that the Palestinian people have not yet attained their inalienable rights as defined by the UN General Assembly, including the right to self-determination and national independence. The Day's activities include special messages of solidarity with the Palestinian people, the dissemination of publications and other information material, and the screening of films. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day through its 1977 resolution 32/40B.
Chemical weapons are one of the world's most dangerous threats. Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare commemorates those who have lost their lives due to chemical weapons and renews our resolve to eradicate these weapons from our world. It is also an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons. This Day, established by the Conference of the States Parties of OPCW, marks the date in 1997 on which the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force.