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 February observances are:
Early diagnosis is the key to reducing the 7.6 million deaths caused by cancer across the globe annually. This figure is projected to rise to an estimated 13.1 million deaths in 2030. The World Health Organization observes World Cancer Day to promote ways to ease the global burden of cancer. Worldwide educational events on this Day bring attention to cancer prevention and improving the quality of life for cancer patients.
Female genital mutilation (FGM) is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. A harmful procedure carried out for non-medical reasons, it is estimated that 140 million girls and women worldwide are currently living with the consequences of FGM. International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation is supported by the World Health Organization through events focusing on advocacy, research and guidance for healthcare professionals.
Pulse crops such as lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas are one of the sources of plant-based proteins and amino acids for a healthy diet for people around the globe. The high iron content of pulses, when combined with food high in vitamin C, makes them a potent food for replenishing iron stores, particularly for women of reproductive age, as well as a source of plant-based protein for animals. Health organizations recommend a healthy diet, which may include pulses, to optimize nutrition as well as to help prevent and manage such chronic diseases as obesity, diabetes, coronary conditions and cancer. In many countries women have the primary responsibility for the cultivation of pulses. Affirming the need to continue to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of eating a variety of food, including pulses, and affirming also the contribution of pulses to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the need to further promote sustainable agriculture, on December 20, 2018 the UN General Assembly proclaimed 10 February as the World Pulses Day in its resolution A/RES/73/251.
Science and gender equality are both vital for the achievement of the internationally agreed development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Over the past 15 years, the global community has made a lot of effort in inspiring and engaging women and girls in science. Unfortunately, women and girls continued to be excluded from participating fully in science. According to a study conducted in 14 countries, the probability for female students of graduating with a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and Doctor’s degree in science-related field are 18%, 8% and 2% respectively, while the percentages of male students are 37%, 18% and 6%. In order to achieve full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls, and further achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/70/212 declaring 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
Radio continues to evolve in the digital age. As the medium that reaches the widest audience worldwide, radio encourages people to engage in discussions on topics that affect them, helps save lives during natural or human-made disasters, and provides journalists with a platform to report facts and tell their stories. In 1946, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established World Radio Day to celebrate the importance of radio, encourage decision makers to provide access to information through this medium, and improve cooperation among broadcasters. This Day is celebrated worldwide with special radio programmes and related events. The UN General Assembly endorsed this Day in its 2013 resolution A/RES/67/124 A-B.
The pursuit of social justice is at the core of the UN's mission to promote development and human dignity. Social justice is advanced when barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability are removed. World Day of Social Justice promotes peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations for the sake of development and human dignity. Its observance supports efforts of the international community in poverty eradication, the promotion of full employment and decent work, gender equity and access to social well-being and justice for all. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2007 resolution A/RES/62/10.
Languages are the most powerful instruments for preserving and developing our heritage. Yet the processes of globalization are increasingly threatening the survival of many languages. It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations. International Mother Language Day promotes linguistic and cultural diversity. It marks the date in 1952 when students demonstrating for recognition of their language, Bangla, as one of the two national languages of the then Pakistan, were shot and killed by police in Dhaka, the capital of what is now Bangladesh. The observance represents an opportunity to foster understanding, tolerance and dialogue, and is celebrated through language and educational events. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed International Mother Language Day in 1999, and the UN General Assembly welcomed the observance in its 2002 resolution A/RES/56/262.