With so many things going on around the world, we must raise awareness of these issues concerning us and the people on this planet. One such way of doing so is by observing international days and weeks that are occasions held to educate the public on issues of concern.
From ‘International Women’s Day’ which is celebrated on March 8 to ‘International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade’ observed on March 25, we have compiled a long list of all the Awareness Days marked in March 2022 that you should know of to help bring about a change.
Zero Discrimination Day
Zero Discrimination Day is observed on 1 March. On this day, we celebrate the right of everyone to live a full and productive life — and live it with dignity, and it helps to create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination.
This day highlights how people can become informed about and promote inclusion, compassion, peace. Above all, a movement for change with this year’s theme being “Remove laws that harm, create laws that empower,” as per the UNAIDS website. UNAIDS is highlighting the urgent need to take action against discriminatory laws.
Visit the UNAIDS Website to Learn More About the ‘Zero Discrimination Day’: HERE
World Wildlife Day
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World Wildlife Day is observed on March 3. It is an opportunity to celebrate the many beautiful, varied forms of wild fauna and flora. “The animals and plants that live in the wild have an intrinsic value and contribute to the ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic aspects of human well-being and to sustainable development,” states the UN website.
The ‘World Wildlife Day’ offers us an opportunity to raise awareness of the multitude of benefits that the conservation of wildlife provides to people. At the same time, it reminds us of the urgent need to step up the fight against wildlife crime. This includes the human-induced reduction of species that have wide-ranging economic, environmental, and social impacts.
This year’s theme for the day is ‘Recovering key species for ecosystem restoration’. It is a way to “draw attention to the conservation status of some of the most critically endangered species of wild fauna and flora and to drive discussions towards imagining and implementing solutions to conserve them,” according to the United Nation.
Over 8,400 species of wild fauna and flora on our planet are critically endangered. About 30,000 species are understood to be endangered or vulnerable. Based on these estimates, it is suggested that over a million species are threatened with extinction. This year, ‘World Wildlife Day’ will therefore drive the debate towards the imperative need to reverse the fate of the most critically endangered species. It will drive a conversation to support the restoration of their habitats and ecosystems and to promote their sustainable use by humanity.
Visit the UN Website to Learn More About the ‘World Wildlife Day’: HERE
World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development
UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed 4 March as World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development during its 40th session in November 2019 since Engineering has always had an essential role in the development and human welfare.
This is to raise awareness of the role of engineering in modern life, which is essential to mitigate the impact of climate change. It also helps advance sustainable development, especially in Africa and the small island developing states (SIDS). Engineering ensures that future generations of engineers and scientists will be able to design solutions for local and global challenges is critical.
“In spite of the importance of engineering for our life and future, women have been historically underrepresented in engineering fields, typically making up only 10 – 20% of the engineering workforce,” states the UNESCO website. There are many countries where the number of women studying STIs has increased. However, this trend has not translated into more women entering the workplace as too many female students who graduate do not go into the engineering profession.
According to the UNESCO website, “The barriers are often connected to persistent gender stereotypes in this field, inadequate policies or educational environments that do not meet their needs and aspirations.” “UNESCO is placing a high priority on activities that promote awareness of engineering as a career, as well as on those that demonstrate the importance of youth studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM),” states their website.
Visit the UNESCO Website to Learn More About ‘World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development’: HERE
International Women’s Day
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According to the United Nations website, “Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.”
More and more women are being recognized as increasingly vulnerable to climate change impacts than men. They constitute the majority of the world’s poor. Women are more dependent on the natural resources that climate change threatens the most. At the same time, women and girls are effective and powerful leaders. They are change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation and are involved in sustainability initiatives around the world. The UN states: “Women’s participation and leadership results in more effective climate action.”
“Continuing to examine the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality, today, a sustainable future, and an equal future remain beyond our reach. This International Women’s Day, let’s claim “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow,” states the UN website.
Visit the UN Website to Know More About ‘International Women’s Day’: HERE
International Day of Women Judges
There is an increased engagement of women in public life. However, they still remain significantly underrepresented in decision-making positions. In fact “a relatively small number of women have been, or are part of, the judiciary, particularly at senior judicial leadership positions,” states the UN website.
Women’s representation in the judiciary is very important. It is key to ensuring that courts represent their citizens, address their concerns, hand down sound judgments, and by their mere presence, women judges enhance the legitimacy of courts. They send a powerful signal that they are open and accessible to those who seek recourse to justice.
Women were historically excluded from these spaces. So the entry of women judges in court has been a positive step in the direction of judiciaries being perceived as being more transparent, inclusive, and representative of the people whose lives they affect.
“By marking the day, we will reaffirm our commitment to develop and implement appropriate and effective national strategies and plans for the advancement of women in judicial justice systems and institutions at the leadership, managerial and other levels,” states the UN website.
Equality in the judiciary has been historically uneven. But steps are “being taken to remedy this as evidenced by the declaration by the United Nations General Assembly of 10 March as the International Day of Women Judges,” as per the UN website.
“Redressing gender inequalities is also at the core of UNODC’s Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women,” states their website. It is a goal shared by the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration since it works to promote a culture of lawfulness around the world. They provide education and training. It also supports the full participation of women in every professional sphere.
To Learn More About the ‘International Day of Women Judges’, Visit the Un Website: HERE
International Day of Mathematics
Mathematics is very important to our lives and “greater global awareness of mathematical sciences are vital to addressing challenges in various areas,” according to UNESCO. These include artificial intelligence, climate change, energy, and sustainable development. It is important for improving the quality of life in both the developed and the developing worlds and therefore, UNESCO’s 40th General Conference proclaimed 14 March of every year ‘International Day of Mathematics’ in November 2019.
The Day “aims to showcase the fundamental role played by the mathematical sciences in the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in reinforcing the two UNESCO priorities: Africa and Gender Equality,” states the UNESCO website. The ‘International Day of Mathematics’ invites us to “celebrate the joy to be found in mathematics as well as the plethora of vocations it offers to girls and boys, through festive and diverse activities taking place around the world,” as per UNESCO.
Visit the UNESCO Website to Learn More About ‘International Day of Mathematics’: HERE
International Day of Happiness
The ‘International Day of Happiness’ is pretty self-explanatory, it is a day of happiness! “The United Nations has celebrated the International Day of Happiness as a way to recognize the importance of happiness in the lives of people around the world,” as per the UN website. In 2015, the UN launched the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These goals seek to end poverty, reduce inequality, and protect our planet. These are the three key aspects that lead to well-being and happiness.
According to the UN website, “The United Nations invites each person of any age, plus every classroom, business, and government to join in the celebration of the International Day of Happiness.” The General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 20 March as the International Day of Happiness.
It “recognizes the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world and the importance of their recognition in public policy objectives,” states the UN website. It also “recognized the need for a more inclusive, equitable, and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and the well-being of all peoples.”
Visit the UN Website to Know More About ‘International Day of Happiness’: HERE
International Francophonie Day
The Agency for Cultural and Technical Cooperation celebrates its anniversary on March 20. According to the UNESCO website, this agency “marks the first step towards Francophone cooperation, which will become the International Organization of La Francophonie a little later.” “The French language has always had an important place among languages. First a symbol of culture and creativity, it was then a vector of democracy and humanism, values that UNESCO intends to promote.”
Celebrating ‘La Francophonie’ is recognizing the potential of language and culture to unite people. It is celebrated to create spaces of solidarity and mutual understanding, to reflect together on our common future. “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) share this common vision that places culture and language at the heart of any lasting effort for peace and development,” states the UNESCO website.
Visit the UNESCO Website to Learn More About ‘International Francophonie Day’: HERE
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
The ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’ is observed annually on the day the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire killing sixty-nine people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws” in 1960, as per the United Nations website.
In 1979, the General Assembly adopted a program of activities. This was to be undertaken during the second half of the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On that occasion, the General Assembly decided that a week of solidarity with the people struggling against racism and racial discrimination, beginning on 21 March, would be organized annually in all States, according to the UN website.
The apartheid system in South Africa has been dismantled ever since with the racist laws and practices having been abolished in many countries. “We have built an international framework for fighting racism, guided by the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Convention is now nearing universal ratification,” states the UN website. However, still, in all regions, too many people, communities, and societies suffer from the injustice and stigma that racism brings.
Visit the UN Website to Learn More About ‘International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination’: HERE
World Poetry Day
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‘World Poetry Day’ is observed every year on March 21. It “celebrates one of humanity’s most treasured forms of cultural and linguistic expression and identity.” Poetry has been practiced throughout history. It is found in every culture and on every continent. It speaks to our common humanity and our shared values. Poetry transforms simple poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.
According to the UNESCO website, they [UNESCO] first “adopted 21 March as World Poetry Day during its 30th General Conference in Paris in 1999, with the aim of supporting linguistic diversity through poetic expression and increasing the opportunity for endangered languages to be heard.”
This day is an occasion to “honor poets, revive oral traditions of poetry recitals, promote the reading, writing, and teaching of poetry, foster the convergence between poetry and other arts such as theatre, dance, music, and painting,” as per the UNESCO website. ‘World Poetry Day’ raises the visibility of poetry in the media and as it continues to bring people together across continents, all are invited to join in.
Visit the UNESCO Website to Know More About ‘World Poetry Day’: HERE
International Day of Nowruz
The word ‘Nowruz’ (Novruz, Navruz, Nooruz, Nevruz, Nauryz), means new day. The way it is spelled and its pronunciation may vary by country. Nowruz marks the first day of spring. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox. This usually occurs on 21 March and it is celebrated as the beginning of the new year by more than 300 million people all around the world, as per the UN.
According to the United Nations website, Nowruz has been celebrated for over 3,000 years in the Balkans, the Black Sea Basin, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Middle East and other regions. It was inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a cultural tradition observed by numerous peoples.
Nowruz is an ancestral festival marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature, promoting values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families. It also promotes reconciliation and neighborliness. It “contributes to cultural diversity and friendship among peoples and different communities and it plays a significant role in strengthening the ties among peoples based on mutual respect, the ideals of peace, and good neighborliness.
The traditions and rituals of the festival reflect the cultural and ancient customs of the civilizations of the East and West,” according to the UN website. This influenced those civilizations through the interchange of human values as celebrating Nowruz means the affirmation of life in harmony with nature. It means awareness of the inseparable link between constructive labor and natural cycles of renewal and a solicitous and respectful attitude towards natural sources of life,” states the UN website.
Visit the UN Website to Know More About the ‘International Day of Nowruz’: HERE
World Down Syndrome Day
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“Down syndrome occurs when an individual has an extra partial (or whole) copy of chromosome 21” with “adequate access to health care, to early intervention programs, and to inclusive education, as well as appropriate research, are vital to the growth and development of the individual,” states the United Nations website.
In December 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as ‘World Down Syndrome Day’ with a decision to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year from 2012. They invite all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, “to raise public awareness of Down syndrome and to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner.”
The estimated incidence of Down syndrome is between 1 in 1,000 to 1 in 1,100 live births globally with approximately 3,000 to 5,000 children born with this chromosome disorder each year.
According to the UN website, “the quality of life of people with Down syndrome can be improved by meeting their health care needs.” This includes “regular check-ups with health professionals to monitor the mental and physical condition and to provide timely intervention be it physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling or special education,” as per the UN website.
“Individuals with Down syndrome can achieve optimal quality of life through parental care and support, medical guidance, and community-based support systems such as inclusive education at all levels.” This makes it possible for them to participate in mainstream society. It also facilitates the fulfillment of their personal potential.
Visit the United Nations Website to Learn More About ‘World Down Syndrome Day’: HERE
International Day of Forests
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the ‘International Day of Forests’. It was proclaimed in 2012 to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests with countries being encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees. This includes tree-planting campaigns.
The organizers “are the United Nations Forum on Forests and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), in collaboration with Governments, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests and other relevant organizations in the field,” states the United Nations website.
Visit the UNICEF Website to Learn More About ‘International Day of Forests’: HERE
World Water Day
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‘World Water Day’ has been held on 22 March every year since 1993. It focuses on the importance of freshwater, celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water, according to the UN website.
‘World Water Day’ is about “taking action to tackle the global water crisis” with a core focus of the Day being to “support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030,” as per the UN website. The focus in 2022 is groundwater. It is an invisible resource with an impact visible everywhere which is very important in our lives.
“Groundwater is water found underground in aquifers, which are geological formations of rocks, sands and gravels that hold substantial quantities of water,” states the United Nations website. It “feeds springs, rivers, lakes, and wetlands, and seeps into oceans, recharged mainly from rain and snowfall infiltrating the ground,” as per the UN website.
Groundwater can be extracted to the surface by pumps and wells and life would not be possible without it as most arid areas of the world depend entirely on groundwater. It supplies a large proportion of the water we use. It is used for drinking, sanitation, food production, and industrial processes and is also critically important to the healthy functioning of ecosystems, such as wetlands and rivers.
The UN website states: “We must protect them from overexploitation – abstracting more water than is recharged by rain and snow – and the pollution that currently haunts them, since it can lead to the depletion of this resource, extra-costs of processing it, and sometimes even preventing its use. Exploring, protecting, and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population.”
Visit the United Nations Website to Know More About ‘World Water Day’: HERE
World Meteorological Day
‘World Meteorological Day’ is observed every year on March 23. It “commemorates the coming into force on 23 March 1950 of the Convention establishing the World Meteorological Organization,” as per the World Meteorological Organization website.
It “showcases the essential contribution of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services to the safety and wellbeing of society and is celebrated with activities around the world,” states the website. The themes that they choose for the day reflect topical weather. This also includes climate or water-related issues.
Visit the World Meteorological Organization Website to Know More About ‘World Meteorological Day’: HERE
World Tuberculosis Day
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Each year ‘World Tuberculosis Day’ is commemorated on March 24. It is observed “to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of tuberculosis (TB) and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic,” states the World Health Organization website. March 24 “marks the day in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced that he had discovered the bacterium that causes TB, which opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease,” as per the WHO website.
Tuberculosis remains one of the world’s deadliest infectious killers with each day 4100 people losing their lives to Tuberculosis. Nearly 28,000 people fall ill with this preventable and curable disease. Global efforts to combat the disease have saved an estimated 66 million lives since the year 2000 but “the COVID-19 pandemic has reversed years of progress made in the fight to end TB.”
For the first time in over a decade, tuberculosis deaths increased in 2020. The theme of World Tuberculosis Day 2022 is ‘Invest to End TB. Save Lives.’
It “conveys the urgent need to invest resources to ramp up the fight against TB and achieve the commitments to end TB made by global leaders,” which is “especially critical in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic that has put End TB progress at risk, and to ensure equitable access to prevention and care in line with WHO’s drive towards achieving Universal Health Coverage,” as per the WHO website.
Visit the WHO Website to Learn More About ‘World Tuberculosis Day’: HERE
International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims
‘International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims’ is observed every year on March 24. “This annual observance pays tribute to the memory of Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero, who was murdered on 24 March 1980. Monsignor Romero was actively engaged in denouncing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable individuals in El Salvador,” as per the United Nations website.
According to the UN website, “The right to the truth is often invoked in the context of gross violations of human rights and grave breaches of humanitarian law.”
”The relatives of victims of summary executions, enforced disappearance, missing persons, abducted children, torture, require to know what happened to them”. “The right to the truth implies knowing the full and complete truth as to the events that transpired, their specific circumstances, and who participated in them, including knowing the circumstances in which the violations took place, as well as the reasons for them,” states the UN website.
Visit the UN Website to Learn More About the ‘International Day for the Right to the Truth concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims’: HERE
International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade
“For over 400 years, more than 15 million men, women, and children were the victims of the tragic transatlantic slave trade, one of the darkest chapters in human history,” as per the UN website. The website states: “Every year on 25 March, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade offers the opportunity to honor and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system.”
This Day also aims to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today. In order to more permanently honor the victims, a memorial has been erected at United Nations Headquarters in New York. The unveiling of this memorial took place on 25 March 2015. “The winning design for the memorial, The Ark of Return by Rodney Leon, an American architect of Haitian descent, was selected through an international competition and announced in September 2013,” according to the United Nations website.
To Learn More About ‘International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade’, Visit the UN Website: HERE
International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members
‘The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members’ is marked each year on March 25. It was the anniversary of the abduction of Alec Collett. Collett is a former journalist who was working for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). At the time, he was abducted by an armed gunman in 1985 and his body was finally found in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in 2009.
Ever since the United Nations was founded in 1945, hundreds of brave men and women have lost their lives in its service and during the 1990s, the growing number and scale of UN peacekeeping missions put many more at risk. “More lives were lost during the 1990s than in the previous four decades combined,” the UN website states.
“‘The International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members’ has taken on even greater importance in recent years,” according to the UN website. Attacks against the United Nations intensify and this is a day “to mobilize action, demand justice and strengthen our resolve to protect UN staff and peacekeepers, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the press,” states the United Nations website.
Visit the UN Website to Learn More About ‘International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members’: HERE