On 19 August, one of the international celebrations of the World Humanitarian Day took place at Expo Milano 2015. The theme of WHD 2015 was to “Inspire the World’s Humanity.” The Governments of Italy and Switzerland, the World Food Programme (WFP) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) hosted several activities on the day to highlight humanitarian crises around the world – particularly in the context of food security - in line with the Expo Milano 2015 theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
The celebrations included an official WHD ceremony, a parade in the spirit of worldwide humanitarian solidarity and an interactive, high-level discussion on ending hunger, which featured Barbara Noseworthy, Assistant Executive Director of WFP, Rashid Khalikov, Director of OCHA Geneva, Ambassador Manuel Bessler, Delegate for Humanitarian Aid and Head of the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit, Cornelis Wittebrood, DG ECHO Head of Unit for East, West and Southern Africa, and Toby Lanzer, Assistant Secretary-General & Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for the Sahel. Throughout the Expo there were multimedia exhibits showcasing humanitarian action.
The ultimate goal of galvanizing a greater sense of global citizenship was supported this year through a groundbreaking #ShareHumanity digital campaign. Our aim was to mobilize a greater and more active global citizenship using the power of social media. In an age that is more digitally connected than ever before, we seized the opportunity to act together to advocate for a more peaceful and humane world and build up public awareness and support for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016.
About World Humanitarian Day
On World Humanitarian Day we remember the sacrifices made by those who have lost their lives during humanitarian operations; we pay homage to those who continue to put their lives at risk to offer assistance and aid and we give a voice to all the people who need help.
Every year catastrophes and conflicts cause immense suffering for millions of people, often the world’s poorest, most marginalized and vulnerable individuals. Together with poverty, these disasters are among the principal causes of food insecurity.
Humanitarian workers help communities to rebuild their lives after disasters, to become more resilient to future crises, to advocate for their voices to be heard, and to build lasting and sustainable peace in areas of conflict.
In December 2008 the UN General Assembly established the World Humanitarian Day on 19 August in memory of the brutal terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad in 2003, where 22 people lost their lives.