19 August is observed as World Humanitarian Day every year in honor of all humanitarians going to extraordinary lengths to support various causes. World Humanitarian Day also marks the day on which a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, as well as the then UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, Sergio Viera de Mello on 19 August 2003. Five years later, the General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day.
Every year, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) sets a theme to a cause or crisis that needs the world’s attention. The themes set focus on bringing together partners from all across the humanitarian system to advocate for survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crisis, and security of aid workers.
This year, 2021, the theme focuses on the immediate human cost of climate change. With this, OCHA aims to increase pressure on world leaders to take meaningful action against climate change and save the world’s most vulnerable people. The crisis is wreaking havoc across the world at a scale that humanitarian workers and the people on the front lines cannot manage. Millions of people are losing their livelihoods due to the effects of extreme climate change: these are the world’s most vulnerable people who have contributed the least to climate change but have been affected the most.
What can we do to help out?
To get the world racing against the climate crisis clock, the UN has organized a global race challenge. #TheHumanRace is the global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most, and to put the needs of climate-vulnerable people front and center at the UN climate summit (COP26). Through this global challenge, world leaders are being asked to deliver on their decade old pledge of $100 billion annually for climate mitigation and adaptation in developing countries. The challenge is being hosted on Strava, the world’s leading exercise platform. Participants are simply required to complete 100 minutes of physical activity; whether participants run, roll, ride, walk, swim, kick or hit a ball, each action will count towards helping carry out the message to world leaders.