UN Days June

Individuals and groups can help to make UN Days much more effective through meditation and prayer. On this site there is a meditation in support of the UN Days and information on ways to participate in the UN Days & Years Meditation Initiative

Here you will find information on the UN designated Days during June 2013. Information provided includes some background, links to the UN site on the Day (where such a site exists), together with key thoughts for reflection.

1 June

First observed in 2013, Global Day of Parents provides an opportunity to appreciate all parents in all parts of the world for their selfless commitment to children and their lifelong sacrifice towards nurturing this relationship.

More information here.

4 June

This international day acknowledges the pain suffered by children throughout the world who are the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse - and affirms a commitment to protect the rights of children.

The statistics of child abuse in its many, many forms are horrendous. They include over 2 million children killed in conflict in the last two decades; around 10 million child refugees cared for by UNHCR; in the Latin America & Caribbean region 80 thousand children die every year from violence that breaks out within the family …

Humanity is organising as never before to put children first in the process of building a better world, and this Day also celebrates the millions of individuals and organizations working to protect and preserve the rights of children. UNICEF devotes considerable resources to the protection of children and and conducts annual surveys tracking progress in the rights of the child: We strive towards the day when nations will be judged not by their military or economic strength, nor by the splendour of their capital cities and public building, but by the well being of their children. See the Progress for Children reports and the annual State of the World's Children reports.

Child abuse is now in the spotlight of global attention, and much is being done to protect children around the world. One key factor in this is the process of international negotiation and action centred around the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

To explore this theme further visit the Unicef Child Protection from Violence web site and the UN Human Rights site. See also the UN site for the Day and the International Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Key thoughts for reflection:

... recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable right of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world ...

... childhood is entitled to special care and assistance ...

... the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding ...

... the child should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society, and brought up in the spirit of the ideals proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations, and in particular in the spirit of peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity ...

... the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth ...

Convention on the Rights of the Child - Preamble

5 June
Year 2013 Theme: Think. Eat. Save.

Observed since 1972, World Environment Day is "considered by many to be the most important event on the environmental calendar". UNEP reports that the Day "inspires action by governments, individuals, non-governmental organisations, community and youth groups, business, industry and the media to improve their environment, including clean-up campaigns, tree planting, street rallies, exhibitions, green concerts, essays, painting and photographic competitions, recycling efforts and much more".

Think.Eat.Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. This is equivalent to the same amount produced in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, 1 in every 7 people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of 5 die daily from hunger.

For further information visit the World Environment Day web site.

Key thoughts for reflection:

A cold, rational, observer's attitude toward nature fails to reveal the spiritual potential in nature. But a warm, imaginative, participant's perspective invites a more mystical and therefore a more spiritual engagement with the world. The former leads to millions of words and statistics analysing the natural world, while the latter leads to stories, poetry, prayers, rites and meditation on that same world. ...

We can be educated by nature, becoming persons of broad vision and subtle values. In nature we can find our place, our identity and our affections. Nature offers a way to discover the riches of our own souls rather than the powers of the ego. In this way, nature deepens our very sense of self.

What reason could be more compelling for honouring and protecting this natural world in all its particularity and ubiquitousness than to know that it is the prime source of our spirituality, the root of our personal meaning, and the starting point for any soul journey?

Thomas Moore

We had hundreds of birds in our small garden. Watching them was a joy; they brought seeds of trees as gifts, which I put into pots and distributed to the neighbourhood. My garden is so full of trees that we are many degrees cooler than any other house I know. I just get my reward in the singing of the birds. I get it in seeing my son mature. Animal abuse and environmental degradation are not necessary evils. No evil is necessary. Evil is present only as long as we support it. The moment we make the connection between what we know and how we behave, evil collapses.

Mahatma Gandhi wrote: "As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world, as in being able to remake ourselves." We need to remake ourselves as compassionate human beings. We need to learn and to teach the value of all life, because all life, not just human life, is sacred.

Maneka Gandhi

8 June
Year 2013 Theme: Together, we have the power to protect the oceans

World Oceans Day was first observed by the United Nations in 2009. It recognizes the importance and significance of international cooperation in caring for the well-being and sustainable management of the oceans.

Oceans play a key role in our daily lives. They are integral to sustainable development and an important frontier for research. ... I urge Governments and citizens everywhere to acknowledge the enormous value of the world’s oceans -- and do their part in ensuring their health and vitality. Ban Ki-moon.

For further information visit the World Oceans Day web site. See also information on the Day from the World Ocean Network and the Ocean Project.

Key thoughts for reflection:

The ocean drives climate and weather, regulates temperature, absorbs much of the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, holds 97% of Earth's water, and embraces 97% of the biosphere. Far and away the greatest abundance and diversity of life occurs in the ocean, occupying liquid space from the sunlit surface to the greatest depths. …

Earth's life-support system — the ocean — is failing. But who is paying attention? Throughout our history, the mostly blue natural world has been regarded as something to be vanquished, tamed, or otherwise used for puposes that seemed to make sense at the time. Deeply rooted in human culture is the attitude that the ocean is so vast, so resilient, it shouldn't matter how much we take out of it — or put into — it. But two things changed in the twentieth century that may jolt us into a new way of thinking.

First, more was discovered about the nature of the ocean and its relevance to the way the world works than during all preceding hstory. Second, during the same narrow slice of time, human actions caused more destruction to ocean systems than during all preceding history. And the pace is picking up.

Sylvia A. Earle

12 June
Year 2013 Theme: No to child labor in domestic work 

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that 115 million children are engaged in hazardous work likely to harm their health, saftey or morals. This is amongst the worst forms of child labour. Its elimination is a crucial part of a wider goal, pioneered by the ILO in cooperation with governments and trade unions around the world, to eliminate child labour by 2016.

For further information visit the UN World Day Against Child Labour web site. See also information on the Day from the ILO.

Key thoughts for reflection:

Child labour is one face of poverty. It is an expression of profound deficits of decent work. Decent work for women and men including a floor of basic social protection, as well as access to quality education, are the bulwark of stability for families, communities and societies. They are stepping stones to a world free from child labour. It is time for the broad vision and coherent policies that will end child labour.

Juan Somavia

17 June

Year 2013 theme: Don't Let Our Future Dry Up

Up to one quarter of the world's surface is covered by dryland areas. The fragile environment of these areas is under serious threat - deserts are spreading at an alarming rate, and drought increasingly prevalent.

More than 135 million people – the equivalent to the population of Germany and France combined - are at risk of being displaced as a consequence of desertification.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is held every year on 17 June to mark the anniversary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

There is an increasing focus on the need to reverse the spread of deserts if the Millennium Development Goals are to be met.

This years theme links with the UN Year of Water Cooperation. Drylands are particularly vulnerable to water scarcity. The projected intensification of freshwater scarcity will cause greater stresses in drylands. While each person needs at least 2,000 cubic meters of water for human well-being and sustainable development every year, on average, people in the drylands have access to only 1,300 cubic meters.

Further information on the Convention and the global action being taken to address the problem of desertification is available on the Convention website. See also information on the Day.

Key thought for reflection:

Look out of a window and you view a world in the thrall of climatic upheaval. Although nothing can be seen, the world is undergoing an environmental shift of a type and scale to rival a geological cataclysm - and one of the most rapid ever to overtake the Earth. To confront it we need a parallel change in our inner world, our world of perception and understanding.

Norman Myers

20 June

Year 2013 theme: Take 1 minute to support a family forced to flee

World Refugee Day was first observed on June 20th, 2001. It commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the 1951 Refugee Convention. The Convention, and the founding of the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, was in response to the crisis of an estimated one million, mainly European, displaced people in the aftermath of World War Two.

Since then the refugee crisis has spread to many parts of the world. Today there are around 40 million people who have been uprooted their homes as a result of persecution, wars or natural or man-made disasters. The conditions of around 10 million of these refugees are especially serious and they are of special concern to UNHCR.

The refugee crisis represents an enormous human tragedy. Each refugee family, each individual, carries a burden of pain and trauma. Yet the crisis also offers a great opportunity for we human beings to act on our sense of interdependence.

See useful links at the UN site, and the Wikipedia site.

Throughout their long and daunting journey from oppression and persecution to asylum and protection, and eventually to a place they can call home, refugees show incredible strength, courage and determination. Their journey is a dangerous and arduous one and every day spent in exile is a day too long.
But in every step of their journey refugees carry with them an unshakable, unrelenting hope. By hanging on to their hopes for basic survival, sustenance and protection, and for the chance to one day rebuild their lives, refugees defy all odds. As the UN Refugee Agency we continue to be impressed by the tenacious hopefulness of refugees which, in turn, motivates us to leave no stone unturned in the fulfillment of our mandate, to protect them and to find durable solutions to their plight.

Key thoughts for reflection:

If there is to be adequate response to the refugee crisis there is no alternative other than to continue to strengthen attitudes and values which foster a generous, intelligent, open-hearted response to all 'strangers', whether in our own community or in some distant part of the world. We need to recognise the importance of the countless individual acts of kindness and understanding which take place every day, and are repeated endlessly in a healthy society. These 'small' acts replenish the reservoir of goodwill from which we draw in collective acts of wise compassion.

World Goodwill Newsletter

Today's world requires us to accept the oneness of humanity. In the past, isolated communities could afford to think of one another as fundamentally separate. Some could even exist in total isolation. But nowadays, whatever happens in one region of the world will eventually affect, through a chain reaction, peoples and places far away. Therefore, it is essential to treat each major problem, right from its inception, as a global concern. It is no longer possible to emphasize, without destructive repercussions, the national, racial, or ideological barriers which differentiate us. Within the context of our new interdependence, self-interest clearly lies in considering the interest of others.

H.H. The Dalai Lama


23 June


This new event in the United Nations calendar seeks to raise awareness of the high levels of violence and deprivation faced by widow's in many parts of the world. ... abuse of widows and their children constitutes one of the most serious violations of human rights and obstacles to development today. Millions of the world’s widows endure extreme poverty, ostracism, violence, homelessness, ill health and discrimination in law and custom.

Widows are everywhere in the world, yet in many countries, they are nowhere to be seen or heard. They are hidden in the shadows, denied their basic rights and dignity. This [International Day] aims to shine a light on these women and their children, and put moral pressure on the guardians of the retrograde traditions that oppress them. Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, First Lady of Gabon.

Information on the Day here.

23 June


A Day to highlight the role that public servants make, and can potentially make, to the development of all societies – and particularly to the development of cultures of peace.


One of the keynotes of our age is the concentration of thought and action around the development of new processes of governance at a local, national, regional and international level.

Every year, United Nations Public Service Awards are presented on this Day to honour excellence in public service. More... Information on the Day here.

26 June

Year 2013 theme: Make health your 'new high' in life, not drugs

Since 1987, 26 June has been observed as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

Former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, comments:

"Illicit drugs destroy innumerable individual lives and undermine our societies. Confronting the illicit trade in drugs and its effects remains a major challenge for the international community."

Visit the United Nations Drug Control Programme UNDCP website for further information on the Day and also the UN site for the Day.

Key thought for reflection:

Whatever words we use, we must come to the realisation of the parallels within our internal environment to those priceless and limited resources within our external environment. Humanity now concerns itself with dangers from the abuse of our forests, our atmosphere, our soil, our rivers and seas. ...

During the next decade as a matter of urgency, and thereafter for ever, we must begin to talk about the atmosphere within the individual body, its soil (our flesh and bones), its rivers and seas (our arteries and veins). I suppose it is because we are so familiar with our own bodies that the sense of wonder and presciousness has not dawned upon us. We need scholars who will specialise in the ecology of self-esteem for our bodies and gradually develop programmes which will help every child and adult to explore the once-for-all gift of an individual life.

Ted Noffs

26 June

Year 2013 theme: Right to rehabilitation

The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture was first observed on 26 June 1998. This date, 26 June, was chosen because on 26 June 1987, the UN Convention Against Torture came into force - and on 26 June 1948 the United Nations Charter was signed.

Since its founding, the United Nations has worked towards the eradication of torture. The Convention Against Torture obliges the 105 states which have ratified it to act to prevent torture and to ensure that torture is an offence punishable under criminal law. A UN Special Rapporteur on Torture responds to complaints from individuals and groups, and reports to the UN High Commission on Human Rights. Yet still torture persists.

Today there are over 200 treatment centres or services for torture survivors, and there is now profound knowledge of torture methods, the effects of torture, and how to diagnose and rehabilitate torture victims.

A United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture was established in 1981. From 1983 - 1998 300 projects were financed by the project.

Poverty is a root cause of torture and also an effect of torture on individuals, their families and wider societies. Providing rehabilitation to survivors, as well as working for justice and prevention of torture therefore helps break a cycle of poverty.

Visit the UN site on the Day. See the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. The council co-ordinates a global campaign against torture. Also see the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture site and the Wikipedia page..

Key thought for reflection:

This is a day on which we pay our respects to those who have endured the unimaginable. This is an occasion for the world to speak up against the unspeakable. It is long overdue that a day be dedicated to remembering and supporting the many victims and survivors of torture around the world.

Kofi Annan


What's New

2013  is being observed by United Nations as: Year of Water Cooperation and Year of Quinoa. Check out meditations  for these themes and a full list of dates for the 2013 UN calendar.

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