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Irish Aid Celebrates World Humanitarian Day

Aid Effectiveness, News/feature, Africa, 2016
World Humanitarian Day (Copyright: FAO)

This day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering (Image Copyright: FAO)

World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to humanitarian aid workers who risk their lives in humanitarian service and to mobilise support for a more humane world. The day was designated by the UN General Assembly seven years ago to mark the anniversary of the 2003 bombing of the United Nations mission building in Baghdad, Iraq.

Under the theme of ‘One Humanity’, the UN and its partners are availing of this year’s World Humanitarian Day to call for global solidarity with the more than 130 million people around the world who need humanitarian assistance to survive. Events will be held around the world on 19 August to highlight the ‘One Humanity’ theme A wreath-laying ceremony will take place at the United Nations headquarters in New York and a high-level event will be held in the General Assembly Hall.

This year’s World Humanitarian Day also follows on from the first ever World Humanitarian Summit, held from 23 to 24 May in Istanbul. During the Summit, world leaders came together to declare their collective support for a new Agenda for Humanity.

The Agenda sets out a framework by which the international community aims to reduce suffering and offer greater support towards the millions of people affected by natural disasters, conflict, displacement and other crises. It also seeks to ensure that aid workers can safely and more effectively deliver to those in need.

This day is an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers worldwide

Ireland and other countries that attended the Summit subscribed to a set of Core Commitments (key principles) arising from the Agenda for Humanity that reaffirm the importance of:

1) political leadership to prevent and end conflict;
2) upholding the norms that safeguard humanity;
3) leaving no one behind: addressing forced displacement;
4) women and girls: catalysing action to achieve gender equality;
5) better managing the risks and crises that derive from natural disasters and climate change;
6) moving from delivering aid to ending need; and
7) investing in humanity.

Ireland also confirmed that we will take 35 specific steps to enhance the way that we deliver humanitarian assistance and work with other partner organisations in addressing crisis situations. These include improvements in how we provide humanitarian funding and ensure that it is channelled to where needs are greatest and in how we prioritise the protection of people - particularly women and girls and other vulnerable groups - in all of the humanitarian programming that we support.