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 April observances are:
Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that manifests itself during the first three years of life. The rate of autism in all regions of the world is high, and the disorder can bring significant hardships to families. World Autism Awareness Day highlights the need to help improve the lives of children and adults who suffer from autism, and promotes international attention to address stigma, lack of awareness and inadequate support structures for individuals and their families. The UN General Assembly declared this Day in its 2008 resolution A/RES/62/139.
Landmines and explosive remnants of war hamper development and endanger lives. The United Nations advocates for the universalization of existing legal frameworks and the development of new international instruments to protect civilians from these weapons. It undertakes this work in collaboration with Member States, civil society and international organizations. International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action reaffirms UN commitment to a world free from the threat of mines and other remnants of war, and calls for continued efforts by States to establish national mine-action capacities in countries where these weapons constitute a serious threat to the safety, health and lives of the civilian population. The UN General Assembly declared this Day in its 2005 resolution A/RES/60/97.
The significance of sport in improving a society’s welfare can be traced back to the origins of the Olympic Games, when war was forbidden during competition so that athletes and spectators could travel safely to participate. Across the globe today, sports programmes have been used to bring different nations and cultures together, deliver HIV/AIDS prevention messages, promote child and maternal health and further gender equality. International Day of Sport for Development and Peace recognizes international progress in the use of sport in fostering development and peace, as well as power of sport to contribute to social well-being, cooperation and tolerance. The General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2013 resolution A/67/L.77.
More than 800,000 innocent people lost their lives in the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide honours the people who lost their lives, the resilience of survivors, and those who came to the defence of their fellow human beings. The annual commemoration is marked by ceremonies and educational events around the world.
World Health Day marks the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organization in 1948. This Day provides an opportunity for individuals in every community to get involved in activities that can lead to better health. Events raise awareness and encourage families and communities to take action to protect themselves from diseases.
On 12 April 1961, the first human space flight was carried out by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen, opening the way for exploration that has generated important benefits for humanity. International Day of Human Space Flight celebrates the beginning of the era for space exploration, reaffirms the important contribution of space science and technology in achieving sustainable development goals, and the aspiration to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes. The UN General Assembly implemented this Day in its 2011 resolution A/RES/65/271.
Language Days at the United Nations seek to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization. Chinese was established as an official language of the United Nations in 1946. However, in early years, Chinese was not commonly used in the work of the United Nations. The situation was improved after restoration of the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971. In 1973, the General Assembly included Chinese as a working language, which was followed by the Security Council in 1974. More and more UN offices and staff members work with Chinese language.
On April 21, 2018, the first official World Creativity and Innovation Day was celebrated. Observed six days after Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday and one day before International Mother Earth Day, World Creativity and Innovation Day is well positioned to encourage creative multidisciplinary thinking to help us achieve the sustainable future we want.
The Earth and its ecosystems provide us with life and sustenance. International Mother Earth Day recognizes a collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations. The UN General Assembly proclaimed this Day in its 2009 resolution A/RES/63/278.
Books have the power to bring people together, spread knowledge and information, and transmit the diversity of cultures, values and ideas worldwide. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization declared World Book and Copyright Day in order to pay tribute to all books and authors. This Day encourages everyone to discover the pleasure of reading and respect the contributions of those who have furthered social and cultural progress through books.
English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on 23 April, the date observed as both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare. The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Public Information, establishing language days for each of the Organization's six official languages. The purpose of the UN's language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.
In its resolutions on multilingualism, the UN General Assembly has welcomed the language days established by the Secretariat in 2010. On April 23, "Spanish Language Day" is celebrated at the United Nations to raise the awareness of the staff of Organization, and the world in general, about the history, culture, use of Spanish as an official language.
The approach of multilateralism and diplomacy could reinforce the advancement of the three pillars of the United Nations, namely, sustainable development, peace and security and human rights, which is the main instrument to address multifaceted and complex global challenges. Thus, the General Assembly of the UN designated April 24 as the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace on 19 December, 2018.
Malaria - a life-threatening disease transmitted to people via infected mosquitoes - causes 660,000 deaths each year, mostly in children under five years of age. World Malaria Day, instituted by the World Health Assembly in 2007, recognizes the global effort to provide effective control of malaria. The observance is an occasion to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control, encourages new donors to join the global malaria partnership, and showcases the scientific work of research and academic institutions.
On 8 December 2016 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 26 April as International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day. In its resolution, the General Assembly recognized that three decades after the disaster there remains serious long-term consequences and that the affected communities and territories are experiencing continuing related needs.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the UN agency responsible for promoting the protection of intellectual property—including copyright, trademarks and designs—as a means of stimulating innovation and creativity. In cooperation with Member States, Intellectual Property Day encourages innovation and creativity for economic, social and cultural development through a balanced and effective international intellectual property system. This Day also marks the date on which the WIPO Convention came into force in 1970.
Every 15 seconds, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease, and 160 workers have a work-related accident. World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. This Day honours the memory of victims of occupational accidents and diseases and features campaigns focusing international attention on emerging trends in occupational safety and health. The International Labour Organization, which promotes the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally, instituted this Day in 2003.
Jazz music has roots in a great mix of peoples and cultures-from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the United States—and is now played and enjoyed across the world. Jazz encourages artistic expression and innovation, stimulates intercultural dialogue, and has the power to unite people through a love of music. International Jazz Day raises global awareness of this art form as an educational tool and a force for peace and unity among people. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization proclaimed this Day in 2011.