List of international observances

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An international observance, also known as an international dedication or an international anniversary, is a period of time to observe some issue of international interest or concern. This is used to commemorate, promote and mobilize for action. Many of these periods have been established by the United Nations General Assembly (UN), Economic and Social Council, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),[1] World Health Organization (WHO) and other United Nations bodies including the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In this case, the lead agency for a particular international observance uses the symbolism of the United Nations (UN), perhaps a specially designed logo for the year, and the UN infrastructure to coordinate events worldwide. It also presents a written report about the event. This summarizes the activities that took place around the world under the auspices of the international observance, and makes recommendations for the future.

Below is a list of days, years and decades that have been recognized as international observances by the United Nations, or by other organizations that declare international observances but are not as widely recognized.


Day Name Recognized by


January 1 New Year's Day Users of the Gregorian calendar
January 4 World Braille Day
January 11 International Parity at Work Day[2]
January 18 International Religion Day
January 23 International Freedom Day
January 26 International Fisherman Day
January 26 International Environmental Education Day
January 26 International Customs Day
January 27 International Holocaust Remembrance Day
January 27 International Outer Space Day UN[3]
January 28 International Reducing CO2 Emissions Day
January 30 International of Nonviolence and Peace Day
January 31 Street Children's Day


February 2 World Wetlands Day
February 4 World Cancer Day UN, WHO[3][4]
February 6 International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation WHO[3][5]
February 11 World Day of the Sick Instituted by Pope John Paul II
February 13 World Radio Day UN, UNESCO[3][6]
February 14 World Valentine Day
February 15 World Cholangiocarcinoma Day
February 20 World Day of Social Justice UN[3]
February 21 International Mother Language Day UN, UNESCO[3]
February 22 A Day Without News[7]
February 24 Defend the Donut Day
February 27 World NGO Day[8][9]


March 1 World Civil Defence Day[10]
March 3 World Wildlife Day UN[11]
March 8 International Women's Day UN[12]
March 15 World Consumer Rights Day World Contact Day
March 20 World Oral Health Day[13]
March 20 International Day of Francophonie[14]
March 20 International Day of Happiness UN[3][15]
March 20 World Sparrow Day[16]
March 21 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination UN[3]
March 21 World Poetry Day UN, UNESCO[3][17]
March 21 International Day of Nowruz UN[3][18]
March 21 World Down Syndrome Day UN[3][19]
March 21 World Puppetry Day UNIMA
March 21 International Day of Forests UN[3][20]
March 22 World Water Day UN[3][21]
March 23 World Meteorological Day UN, WHO[3][22]
March 24 World Tuberculosis Day[23] UN, WHO[3][24]
March 25 International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade UN[3][25]
March 25 observance of National Genocide Day[26] BPCA[27]
March 27 International launch of Global Money Week [28][29]
March 27 World Theatre Day


April 1 World April Fools' Day
April 2 World Autism Awareness Day UN[3][30]
April 2 International Children's Book Day
April 7 Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Rwanda Genocide UN[3][31]
April 7 World Health Day[23] UN, WHO[3][32]
April 8 International Romani Day
April 17 World Hemophilia Day
April 18 International Day For Monuments and Sites
April 20 420: international day for cannabis-related protests and events Global cannabis culture[33][34][35]
April 22 International Mother Earth Day UN[3][36]
April 23 World Book and Copyright Day UN, UNESCO[3][37]
April 23 English Language Day[3]
April 24 World Day for Laboratory Animals
April 25 World Malaria Day[23] UN, WHO[3][38]
April 26 World Intellectual Property Day UN, WIPO[3][39]
April 28 World Day for Safety and Health at Work UN, ILO[3][40]
April 29 Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare UN[3][41]
April 29 International Dance Day UNESCO[42]
April 29 International Bee Day[43]
April 30 International Jazz Day UN[3][44]


May 1 May Day, International Workers' Day
May 3 World Press Freedom Day UN[3][45]
May 4 International Firefighters' Day, Star Wars Day
May 5 International Midwives Day
May 8 World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day
May 8–9 Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War UN[3][46]
May 9 Europe Day
May 10 International Migratory Bird Day North America
May 12 International Nurses Day
May 15 International Day of Families UN[3][47]
May 17 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day UN, ITU[3][48]
May 17 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia
May 18 World AIDS Vaccine Day
May 18 International AIDS Candlelight Memorial
May 18 International Museum Day
May 21 World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development UN[3][49]
May 22 International Day for Biological Diversity UN[3][50]
May 25 Geek Pride Day, Towel Day
May 29 International Day of UN Peacekeepers UN[51]
May 31 World No-Tobacco Day[23] UN, WHO[3][52]
1st Tue in May World Asthma Day
1st Sunday in May World Laughter Day
2nd Sat in May World Fair Trade Day
2nd Sun in May Mother's Day
Full moon in May Vesak[3]
A weekend in May World Migratory Bird Day UN, UNEP[3][53]


June 1 Global Day of Parents UN[3][54]
June 1 International Children's Day
June 1 World Milk Day
June 4 International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression UN[3][55]
June 5 World Environment Day UN, UNEP[3][56]
June 6 World Pest Day CEPA, NPMA[57]
June 8 World Oceans Day UN[3][58]
June 12 International Shia Day[59]
June 12 World Day Against Child Labour[3][60]
June 14 World Blood Donor Day[23] UN, WHO[3][61]
June 15 Global Wind Day
June 17 World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought UN[3][62]
June 18 Autistic Pride Day
June 20 World Refugee Day UN[3][63]
June 21 World Music Day, International Day of Yoga UN[64]
June 23 World Whistleblowers Day
June 23 International Widow's Day UN[3][65]
June 25 World Vitiligo Day VITSAF[66][67]
June 26 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking UN[3][68]
June 26 United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture UN[3][69]
June 30 United Nations International Asteroid Day raises public awareness of the asteroid impact hazard UN[3][70]
3rd Sun in Jun Fathers' Day in some countries


1st Sat in Jul International Day of Cooperatives UN[3][71]
July 7 World Chocolate Day
July 11 World Population Day UN[3][72]
July 12 Malala Day UN
July 15 World Youth Skills Day UN[73]
July 17 World Day for International Justice
July 18 Nelson Mandela International Day UN[3][74] July 23 My Chemical Romance Day July 26 International Day for the Conservation of the Mangrove Ecosystem UN[75]
July 28 World Hepatitis Day[23] UN, WHO[3][76]
July 29 International Tiger Day
July 30 International Day of Friendship UN[3][77]


1st Fri in Aug International Beer Day
August 4 Aboriginal Children's Day
August 8 World Cat Day
August 9 International Day of the World's Indigenous People UN[3][78]
August 12 International Youth Day UN[3][79]
August 13 International Lefthanders Day
August 14 Pakistan Independence Day - August 15 India Independence Day
World Humanitarian Day UN[3][80]
August 21 World Fashion Day
August 23 International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition UN, UNESCO[3][81]
August 29 International Day against Nuclear Tests UN[3][82]
August 30 International Day of the Disappeared


September 5 International Day of Charity [3]
September 8 International Literacy Day UN, UNESCO[3][83]
September 10 World Suicide Prevention Day UN, WHO[3][84]
September 15 International Day of Democracy UN[3][85]
September 16 International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer UN[3][86]
September 18 World Water Monitoring Day
September 19 International Talk Like a Pirate Day
September 21 International Day of Peace UN[3][87]
September 26 European Day of Languages
September 27 World Tourism Day UN, UNWTO[3][88]
September 28 World Rabies Day UN, WHO[3][89]
September 28 International Right to Know Day[90]
September 28 International Safe Abortion Day[91]
September 29 World Heart Day UN, WHO[3][92]
September 29 International Coffee Day
September 30 Blasphemy Day
September 30 International Translation Day


October 1 International Day of Older Persons UN[3][93]
October 1 World Vegetarian Day
October 2 International Day of Non-Violence UN[3][94]
October 2 World Cerebral Palsy Day
October 5 World Teachers' Day UN, UNESCO[3][95]
October 9 World Post Day UN[3][96]
October 10 World Mental Health Day UN, WHO[3][97]
October 11 International Day of the Girl Child UN[3][98]
October 13 World Thrombosis Day[99]
October 13 International Day for Disaster Reduction UN[3][100]
October 14 World Standards Day
October 15 Global Handwashing Day
October 16 World Food Day UN, FAO[3][101]
October 16 National Boss Day (Boss's Day)
October 17 International Day for the Eradication of Poverty UN[3][102]
October 18 World Vasectomy Day[103]
October 20 World Osteoporosis Day[104]
October 20 World Statistics Day
October 22 International Stuttering Awareness Day
October 24 United Nations Day UN[3][105]
October 24 World Tripe Day
October 24 World Development Information Day UN[3][106]
October 26 Intersex Awareness Day
October 27 World Day for Audiovisual Heritage UN, UNESCO[3][107]
October 28 International Animation Day
October 29 World Stroke Day
1st Mon in Oct World Habitat Day UN[3][108]
2nd Thu in Oct World Sight Day UN, WHO[3][109]
1st Fri in Oct World Smile Day[110]
2nd Sat in Oct International Migratory Bird Day South America


November 1 World Vegan Day
November 6 International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict UN, WHO[3][111]
November 8 International Day of Radiology
November 10 World Science Day for Peace and Development UNESCO
November 12 World Pneumonia Day UN, WHO[3][112]
November 13 World Kindness Day
November 14 World Diabetes Day UN, WHO[3][113]
November 14 Children's Day
November 15 Day of the Imprisoned Writer
November 16 International Day for Tolerance UN[3][114]
November 17 International Students Day
November 17 World Prematurity Day
November 17 International Candidate Attorney Day
November 19 International Men's Day (Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Australia, India, United States, Singapore, Malta, United Kingdom, South Africa, Hungary, Ireland, Ghana, Canada, Denmark, Austria, France, Pakistan, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada)
November 20 Universal Children's Day UN[3][115]
November 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance
November 20 Africa Industrialization Day UN[3][116]
November 21 World Television Day UN[3][117]
November 21 World Hello Day
November 25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women UN[3][118]
November 29 International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People UN[3][119]
3rd Thu in Nov World Philosophy Day UN, UNESCO[3][120]
3rd Sun in Nov World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims UN, WHO[3][121]


December 1 World AIDS Day[23] UN[3][122]
December 2 International Day for the Abolition of Slavery UN[3][123]
December 3 International Day of Persons with Disabilities UN[3][124]
December 4 International Cheetah Day Cheetah Conservation Fund[125]
December 5 World Soil Day UN: A/RES/68/232
December 5 International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development UN[3][126]
December 7 International Civil Aviation Day UN, ICAO[3][127]
December 9 International Anti-Corruption Day UN[3][128]
December 10 Human Rights Day UN[3][129]
December 11 International Mountain Day UN[3][130]
December 18 International Migrants Day UN[3][131]
December 20 International Human Solidarity Day UN
December 29 International Cello Day[132]


Week Name Recognized by
February 1–7 World Interfaith Harmony Week UN with A/RES/65/5[133]
March 27 – April 2 (2017) Global Money Week[28]
April 25 – May 2 (2009) Vaccination Week in the Americas[134]
August 1–7 World Breastfeeding Week WHO[135]
September 5–11, 2016 Idiopathic Hypersomnia Awareness Week[136]


Month Name
February Black History Month (USA)
February Cholangiocarcinoma Awareness Month (USA)
April LGBT Month (USA)
October Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Black History Month (UK)
November Movember - November events to raise awareness and funds for men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and depression
November National Novel Writing Month - people from all over the world try to write a 50,000 word novel in a month


2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages[137]
2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development[138]
2016 International Year of Pulses[139]
2015 Year of the Gibbon[140]
2015 International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies[141]
2015 International Year of Soils[142]
2014 International Year of Crystallography[143][144]
2014 International Year of Family Farming[145]
2014 International Year of Small Island Developing States[146]
2013 International Year of Quinoa[147]
2012 Alan Turing Year
2011 World Veterinary Year 2011
2011 International Year for People of African Descent, recognized by UNESCO, proclaimed by UN on December 18, 2009[148][149][150]
2011 International year of homophobia prevention and tables
2011 International Year of Chemistry, recognized by UNESCO
2011 International Year of Forests
2010 International Year of Youth
2010 International Year of Biodiversity
2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures[151]
2009 International Year of the Shark[152]
2009 Year of the Gorilla[153]
2009 International Year of Reconciliation[154][155]
2009 International Year of Natural Fibres[156]
2009 International Year of Astronomy[157] (proposal accepted by 33rd session of the UNESCO General Conference, proclaimed by United Nations 62nd General Assembly)
2008 International Year of Sanitation
2008 International Year of the Potato
2008 International Year of Languages
2007 Year of the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in Colombia
(2007)–2008–(2009) International Year of Planet Earth (N.B. Triennium)[158]
2007–2008–(2009) International Polar Year
2007–2008 International Heliophysical Year
2007 International Year of the Scout[159]
2007 Year of the Dolphin (extended to 2008)
2006 International Year of Deserts and Desertification
2005 World Year of Physics (declared by IUPAP)[160]
2005 International Year of Microcredit[161]
2004 International Year of Rice
2004 International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition[162]
2003 International Year of Freshwater[163]
2002 United Nations Year for Cultural Heritage[164]
2002 International Year of Mountains[165]
2002 International Year of Ecotourism[166]
2001 United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations[167][168][169]
2001 International Year of Volunteers
2001 International Year of Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
2000 International Year for the Culture of Peace
1999 International Men's Day
1999 International Year of Older Persons
1995 United Nations Year for Tolerance
1994 International Year of the Family
1992 International Space Year
1990 International Literacy Year[170]
1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless
1986 International Year of Peace
1985 International Youth Year
1984 Year of Women in South Africa[171]
1981 International Year of Disabled Persons
1979 International Year of the Child
1975 International Women's Year
1974 World Population Year[172]
1965 International Cooperation Year
1957/1958 International Geophysical Year
Before 1950
1932/1933 International Polar Year
1882/1883 International Polar Year


Decade Name Recognized by
2015–2024 International Decade for People of African Descent UN General Assembly[173][174]
2014–2024 United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All[173][175] UN
2013–2020 International Decade for the Rapprochement of Cultures UNESCO[176][177]
2011–2020 United Nations Decade on Biodiversity UN
2011–2020 Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism UN
2011–2020 Decade of Action for Road Safety[178] UN
2008–2017 Second United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty[173] UN
2005–2015 Water for Life Decade UN
2005–2014 Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People [179] UN
2005–2014 United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development[180] UN
2003–2012 United Nations Literacy Decade [181] UN
2001–2010 International Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-violence for the Children of the World [182] UN
2000–2010 Bone and Joint Decade[183] WHO, UN
2000–2010 Second International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism [184] UN
1997–2006 First United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty [185] UN
1994–2004 First International Decade of the World's Indigenous People [186] UN[173]
1993–2003 Third Decade to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination[173] UN
1990s International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction
1976–1985 United Nations Decade for Women[187] UN

See also


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  54. ^ "Global Day of Parents". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  55. ^ "International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
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  71. ^ "International Day of Cooperatives". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  72. ^ "World Population Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  73. ^ "World Youth Skills Day,July 15". 
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  76. ^ "World Hepatitis Day". WHO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
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  86. ^ "International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
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  88. ^ "World Tourism Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
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  101. ^ "World Food Day". FAO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  102. ^ "International Day for the Eradication of Poverty". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  103. ^ "World Vasectomy Day". 
  104. ^ "World Osteoporosis day.". 
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  106. ^ "World Development Information Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  107. ^ "World Day for Audiovisual Heritage". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  108. ^ "World Habitat Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  109. ^ "World Sight Day". WHO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  110. ^ "Welcome to the World Smile Day® Website". 
  111. ^ "International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  112. ^ "World Pneumonia Day". WHO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  113. ^ "World Diabetes Day". WHO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  114. ^ "International Day for Tolerance". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  115. ^ "Universal Children's Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  116. ^ "Africa Industrialization Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  117. ^ "World Television Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  118. ^ "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  119. ^ "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  120. ^ "World Philosophy Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  121. ^ "World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims". WHO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  122. ^ "World AIDS Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  123. ^ "International Day for the Abolition of Slavery". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  124. ^ "International Day of Persons with Disabilities". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
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  126. ^ "International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  127. ^ "International Civil Aviation Day". ICAO. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  128. ^ "International Anti-Corruption Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  129. ^ "Human Rights Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  130. ^ "International Mountain Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  131. ^ "International Migrants Day". UN. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
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  • "United Nations Conferences and Observances" (press release), United Nations, Reference Paper No. 47, 20 February 2008.
  • United Nations Conferences and Observances
  • World Physical Therapy Day 2010

External links

  • United Nations Observances Calendar
  • UNESCO International Days
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