The annual calendar is full of events, patron saint days and anniversaries of all kinds. But one of type of celebration that is gaining more and more ground in the agendas of institutions or in public channels such as social networks is that of international days.
That is precisely why, and because of the impact that giving visibility to certain issues for at least one day a year has, we have created this Sustainability Calendar, which acts as an essential agenda for 2023, where we list the most significant international or world days for the sustainable development of the planet.
Click on the image to see the Sustainability Calendar:
The importance of International and World Days
Why are International Days so important? At first glance, it may seem quite irrelevant to celebrate World Bee Day or World Migratory Bird Day, for example. Why do bees need the world to talk about them for a full day? That is exactly the point, to talk about them and the difficult future they face if nothing is done to mitigate the problems that are affecting their survival, such as the sustainable initiative of bus stops to combat the decline in bee population. Perhaps through having their own day on the calendar, many more people will become aware of what would happen if bees disappeared, not only in relation to their species, but with virtually all the ecosystems on the planet.
That is why the goal of international days or world days is to increase public awareness of specific problems and for governments to develop initiatives to address it. Some examples of these are International Day of Forests or the World Energy Efficiency Day.
Who chooses International Days?
Most international days are proposed by the States of the United Nations General Assembly and approved, or rejected, by consensus of the Organisation. Usually the topics are related to the main areas of action of the United Nations, such as peacekeeping, the fight for human rights, the fight against climate change or the conservation of the planet. In fact, in its resolutions, the Assembly normally explains the reasons why it has chosen a certain day and date.
At other times, one of the United Nations agencies, such as UNESCO, UNICEF or the World Health Organization, submits a proposal to the UN General Assembly for their approval. If these matters are within their competence, the agencies themselves can sometimes proclaim an international day without going through the Assembly.
The UN uses these events not only to raise awareness and understanding about global issues such as climate change, but to advise States on the initiatives that they can take to mitigate some of the issues highlighted by these dates. On International Day for Biological Diversity, for example, the Organisation invites its members to sign and ratify the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
In addition to these, there are other days that are celebrated thanks to the momentum of social groups and that become so popular that they are finally institutionalised, as in the case of LGBT Pride Day.
Every day on the calendar has its celebration, but additionally the United Nations makes it a habit to highlight a specific issue that will remain a key concern globally throughout the whole year. This year, the UN has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets and International Year of Dialogue as a Guarantee of Peace.
Because practically all the food we eat comes, in one form or another, from plants. With the proclamation of Plant Health as the focus of all attention this year, the organisation, led by FAO, the aim is to raise awareness of the importance of protecting plants from deadly diseases and pests due to unregulated trade, travel and climate change.