World Humanitarian Day is a day dedicated to recognizing humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution A/63/L.49 on the Strengthening of the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations, and set as 19 August. It marks the day on which the then Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 of his colleagues were killed in the bombing of the UN Headquarters in Baghdad. Since the establishment of World Humanitarian Day, the day has been marked and observed globally with special theme adopted every year.
For 2018, the plan globally is to build on from the 2017 World Humanitarian Day campaign of #NotATarget which last year generated more than 2.5 million social engagements. At global level, OCHA and partners are finalizing a global digital campaign that aims to mobilize citizens, decision makers, celebrities and the humanitarian community to stand together under the #NotATarget campaign which will run from July to September 2018. To read more on the #NotATarget campaign, click here!
Recently, the Pacific have witnessed several natural disasters, Tropical Cyclone Gita, which made landfall in Samoa and Tonga, Tropical Cyclone Josie and Keni, which affected the main island and the southern parts of Fiji and drought in the Northern Pacific. During these emergencies, humanitarian workers were at the front line responding to the needs of the affected population. Local and international humanitarian workers range from volunteers and staff including those deployed on technical and surge capacity to support national actors. This WHD, will be an opportunity to recognize Pacific humanitarian workers who have responded to these emergencies and who support preparedness for crises. The Pacific commemoration will mainly focus on the Pacific #HumanitarianHeroes campaign to further reinforce the purpose of WHD which is to recognize the contribution and work of humanitarian workers in the Pacific. A public photography display will be conducted highlighting Pacific humanitarian heroes who have prepared for and responded to emergencies and disasters in Pacific Island countries in 2017 – 2018, including the recent TCs Gita, Josie and Keni.