On Friday, August 19, 2011, the United Nations community commemorated the Third Annual World Humanitarian Day (WHD) by paying tribute to the admirable humanitarian aid workers who work within UN agencies (the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) as well as for numerous NGOs world-wide, rescuing distressed populations in locations affected by crises and disasters, notably the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Haiti and Pakistan. This year’s UN campaign is about “inspiring the spirit of aid work in everyone”. As such, we invite you to find out how you can get involved by visiting the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) website at: http://ochaonline.un.org/whd/. During the event was launched the new World Humanitarian Day 2011 music video “If I could Change”, featuring various global artists including Ziggy Marley, Somali sister-duo Sweet Rush and Salman Ahmad from the Pakistani band Junoon.
The event, which took place in the General Assembly room of the United Nations Headquarters in New York, was an occasion for the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, to shed light on the sheer importance of humanitarian workers in a global context, particularly in relation to the disastrous crisis currently affecting the Horn of Africa. The Under Secretary-General, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, as well as the Executive Director of UNICEF, Anthony Lake, also spoke at the event. Ms. Amos stated that she hopes the dynamic song will inspire a new generation of aid workers to get involved. Ultimately, longer-term sustainability strategies will be required to deal with more frequent occurrences of drought and famine. Mr. Lake, who was manifestly moved by the ceremony, stressed the essentiality for the global community to mobilize in order to address issues of health and access to food.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre); Valerie Amos (left), Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; and Anthony Lake, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF); lead a ceremony commemorating the third annual World Humanitarian Day. Credits: UN Photo/Evan Schneider