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 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