Charity contributes to the promotion of dialogue, solidarity and mutual understanding among people.
Poverty persists in all countries of the world, regardless of their economic, social and cultural situation, particularly in developing countries.
In recognition of the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering within and among nations, as well as of the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa, the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution A/RES/67/105 designated the 5th of September, the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, as the International Day of Charity.
On this International Day of Charity, the United Nations invites all Member States and all international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to commemorate the Day in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities.
Charity, like the notions of volunteerism and philanthropy, provides real social bonding and contributes to the creation of inclusive and more resilient societies. Charity can alleviate the worst effects of humanitarian crises, supplement public services in health care, education, housing and child protection. It assists the advancement of culture, science, sports, and the protection of cultural and natural heritage. It also promotes the rights of the marginalized and underprivileged and spreads the message of humanity in conflict situations.
The International Day of Charity was established with the objective of sensitizing and mobilizing people, NGOs, and stakeholders all around the world to to help others through volunteer and philanthropic activities.
The date of 5 September was chosen in order to commemorate the anniversary of the passing away of Mutter Teresa von Kalkutta, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979 "for work undertaken in the struggle to overcome poverty and distress, which also constitute a threat to peace."
Mother Teresa, the renowned nun and missionary, was born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910. In 1928 she went to India, where she devoted herself to helping the destitute. In 1948 she became an Indian citizen and founded the order of Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata (Calcutta) in 1950, which became noted for its work among the poor and the dying in that city.
For over 45 years she ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion, first in India and then in other countries, including hospices and homes for the poorest and homeless. Mother Teresa’s work has been recognized and acclaimed throughout the world and she has received a number of awards and distinctions, including the Nobel Peace Prize. Mother Teresa died on September 5th 1997, at 87 years of age.
Charity plays an important role in upholding the values and advancing the work of the United Nations. Donations of time or money; volunteer engagement in one’s own community or on the other side of the world; acts of caring and kindness with no thought of recompense; these and other expressions of global solidarity help us in our shared quest to live together in harmony and build a peaceful future for all.
I welcome this first observance of the International Day of Charity, which was proclaimed last year by the United Nations General Assembly and which coincides with the anniversary of the death of Mother Teresa, whose life and good works for some of the human family’s poorest and most vulnerable members inspired emulation across the world.
Strangely, charity sometimes gets dismissed, as if it is ineffective, inappropriate or even somehow demeaning to the recipient. “This isn’t charity”, some donors take pains to claim, “this is an investment”. Let us recognize charity for what it is at heart: a noble enterprise aimed at bettering the human condition.
At a time when we aim to accelerate our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and define a bold agenda for the period beyond 2015, the role of charity can and should grow.
UN bodies such as the UN Volunteers Programme and UNICEF offer venues for people across the world to get involved. In establishing the Day, the General Assembly asked that charity be encouraged through education and awareness-raising activities; initiatives such as the United Nations Academic Impact's ASPIRE -- Action by Students to Promote Innovation and Reform through Education -- have encouraged young women and men to take on the responsibility of ensuring that their less fortunate peers have the financial opportunity to go to school. The UN’s humanitarian agencies rely on charitable donations from the public as well as the generosity of governments to continue their lifesaving work in response to natural disasters, armed conflicts and other emergencies.
On this new International Day, I call on people everywhere, of all ages, to act on the charitable impulse that resides in every human being.
The Permanent Mission of Hungary, in cooperation with DPI, UNDP, UNOP and UNF, is organizing two panel discussions at UN Headquarters in New York to highlight the importance of non-profit organizations in development. The two discussions are going to concentrate on the role of charity in water and sanitation and poverty alleviation, eradication issues.
Participation is by invitation, however the panel discussions will be webcast LIVE on webtv.un.org.
Time and venue of the event: September 5, 2013, 3:00-6:00 p.m.; Conference Room 1, Conference Building, UN Headquarters
Agenda and speakers:
The role of charity in securing access to clean water and sanitation: 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Paull Young, Director of Digital, Charity: water
Girish Menon, Director of International Programmes, WaterAid
Kellie Sloan, Director and Chief of Staff for the Office of the President of Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Seema Shah, Director of Research for Special Projects, The Foundation Center
Partnership for poverty alleviation, eradication – the role of charity: 4:30-6:00 p.m.
Keynote speech: Hugh Evans, CEO, The Global Poverty Project
Navid Hanif, Director, Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination, UNDESA
Selim Jahan, Director, Poverty Practice, UNDP Bureau for Development Policy
Neelam Makhijani, CEO, The Resource Alliance
Susan Myers, Vice President for UN Relations, UN Foundation
Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 17 December 2012
[without reference to a Main Committee (A/67/L.45 and Add.1)]
67/105. International Day of Charity
The General Assembly,
Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1 which states that recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,
Recalling the goals and objectives of the Declaration 2 and Programme of Action3 on a Culture of Peace,
Reaffirming Economic and Social Council resolution 1980/67 of 25 July 1980 on international years and anniversaries and General Assembly resolutions 53/199 of 15 December 1998 and 61/185 of 20 December 2006 on the proclamation of international years,
Reaffirming also the recognition, set forth in the United Nations Millennium Declaration 4 adopted by the Heads of State and Government at the Millennium Summit, of the fundamental value of solidarity to international relations in the twenty-first century,
Deeply concerned that poverty persists in all countries of the world,
particularly in developing countries, regardless of their economic, social and
Recognizing the work done by Member States and the United Nations system
and the role of charity in alleviating humanitarian crises and human suffering within
and among nations,
1 Resolution 217 A (III). 2 Resolution 53/243 A. 3 Resolution 53/243 B. 4 Rresolution 55/2.
A/RES/67/105 International Day of Charity
Affirming that charity may contribute to the promotion of dialogue among people from different civilizations, cultures and religions, as well as of solidarity and mutual understanding,
Recognizing the efforts of charitable organizations and individuals, including the work of Mother Teresa,
1. Decides to designate 5 September as the International Day of Charity;
Invites all Member States, organizations of the United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and individuals, to commemorate the International Day of Charity in an appropriate manner, by encouraging charity, including through education and public awareness-raising activities;
Requests the Secretary-General to bring the present resolution to the attention of all Member States and organizations of the United Nations system.