human figures running while consumed by shades of red (global warming) and shades of blue (tsunami as a climate change phenomenon).  ©Sadek Ahmed
"The Human Race", an illustration depicting human figures running while consumed by shades of red (global warming) and shades of blue (tsunami as a climate change phenomenon).
Photo:©Sadek Ahmed

#TheHumanRace

A global challenge for climate action in solidarity with the people who need it most

The climate emergency is wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that people on the front lines and in the humanitarian community cannot manage. Time is already running out for the world’s most vulnerable people — those who have contributed least to the global climate emergency yet are hit the hardest — and millions of others that are already losing their homes, their livelihoods, and their lives.

With most climate campaigns focused on slowing climate change and securing the planet’s future, World Humanitarian Day 2021, will highlight the immediate consequences of the climate emergency for the world’s most vulnerable people and ensure that their voices are heard, and their needs top the agenda at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in November.

Therefore, everyone is invited to join #TheHumanRace, which is the global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most; and to put the needs of climate-vulnerable people front and centre at the UN climate summit (COP26).

Stand in solidarity with the world's most vulnerable people by using these hashtags in your social media activities #TheHumanRace #WorldHumanitarianDay

WHD 2021 logo

Join #theHumanRace

Run, ride, swim, walk or do any activity of your choice for a cumulative 100 minutes between August 16 and August 31 in solidarity with vulnerable people and to tell world leaders that they expect developed countries to deliver on their decade-old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. If you don’t wish to take part physically you can ADD YOUR VOICE.

Providing life-saving support during the pandemic

On World Humanitarian Day (WHD) August 19, the world commemorates humanitarian workers killed and injured in the course of their work, and we honour all aid and health workers who continue, despite the odds, to provide life-saving support and protection to people most in need.

This year World Humanitarian Day comes as the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic over recent months. Aid workers are overcoming unprecedented access hurdles to assist people in humanitarian crises in 54 countries, as well as in a further nine countries which have been catapulted into humanitarian need by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This day was designated in memory of the 19 August 2003 bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 22 people, including the chief humanitarian in Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. In 2009, the United Nations General Assembly formalized the day as World Humanitarian Day.

 

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Facts & Figures

  • In 2020, 475 aid workers were attacked: 108 killed, 242 wounded and 125 kidnapped.
  • Travel and movement restrictions for international staff (due to Covid-19) may partly explain why the proportion of national aid worker victims in 2020 was even higher than usual (95%).
  • Most of the violence took place in South Sudan, Syria, and DRC. Other high incident contexts included Central African Republic and Mali, where incidents more than doubled since 2018.
  • 2020 marked the first time in 20 years that Afghanistan was not one of the top five most violent contexts for aid workers.
  • Attacks against aid workers in Tigray of Ethiopia rose during 2020 and has been worsening further in 2021.

Additional Resources

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 Medical equipment is loaded into an aircraft in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of a UN “Solidarity Flight” to deliver supplies to African countries fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

One of the purposes of the United Nations, as stated in its Charter, is "to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character."  The UN first did this in the aftermath of the Second World War on the devastated continent of Europe, which it helped to rebuild.  The Organization is now relied upon by the international community to coordinate humanitarian relief operations due to natural and man-made disasters in areas beyond the relief capacity of national authorities alone.

A woman sitting on the ground inside a tent.

In 2021, 235 million people will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This number has risen to 1 in 33 people worldwide - a significant increase from 1 in 45 at the launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview 2020, which was already the highest figure in decades. The UN and partner organizations aim to assist 160 million people most in need across 56 countries and will require a total of $35 billion to do so.

A crowd of women sitting and laughing

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.