World Humanitarian Day, Friday August 19 2011

World Humanitarian Day is a celebration of people helping people. Every day humanitarian aid workers help millions of people around the world.

The day recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of those who risk their lives to give others help and hope. It is also about inspiring the spirit of aid work in everyone. Find out how you can join forces with United Nations and aid organizations worldwide and take action.

I was working for the UN in East Timor at the same time as Sergio Vieira de Mello, who was UN Transitional administrator,at the time.

After 34 years working tirelessly for humanitarian causes.He was killed in the Canal Hotel Bombing in Iraq along with 20 other members of his staff on 19 August 2003 while working as the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Iraq. Before his death, he was considered a likely candidate for UN Secretary-General.It is special and selfless people like this and many ‘ordinary’ people who end up do extraordinary work on behalf of others, without any publicity or honarary mentions that the world humanitarian day celebrates.

From Haiti


PUBLICATION: Psychological first aid – Guide for field workers
(WHO, War Trauma Foundation, World Vision)

The United Nations health agency and its partners have launched a guide to help fieldworkers provide vital psychological support to people affected by humanitarian emergencies. The guide was released to coincide with World Humanitarian Day, celebrated on 19 August, which recognizes the sacrifices and contributions of those who risk their lives to give others help and hope. Produced jointly by WHO, the War Trauma Foundation and World Vision International, the guide reflects the emerging science and international consensus on how to provide basic support to people in the immediate aftermath of extremely stressful events.


The guide book is available here.

Youth – time for action? International Youth Day – Friday 12th August 2011.

The events in the UK during the last week has not only disgusted many in Britain, but with the worldwide spread of connected media -the whole world holds up young people in Britain as figures of shame.

We all know it was a ‘handful’ of young disaffected youth that were to blame, yet the media seems only interested in a sensational and negative view of young people. Not many newspapers get sold when the main headline is ‘Boy scout helps old lady to cross the road!’.

Well , there is plenty of good news to do with young people and the  recent INEE newsletter spells out what has been going on during the UN International Year of Youth.

International Youth Day, this Friday, August 12, marks the culmination of the UN International Year of Youth. The focus of the International Year was to advance the full and effective participation of youth in all aspects of society, and was kicked off by 27 Heads of UN Entities reaffirming the World Programme of Action for Youth.

The World Programme of Action for Youth, which was initially developed in 1985 during the first International Year of Youth, provides a policy framework and practical guidelines for national action and international support to improve the situation of young people. While progress has certainly been made in some of the areas outlined in the Programme, much remains to be done, particularly for youth affected by crisis.

All sectors of society are encouraged to work in partnership with youth and youth organisations to better understand their needs and concerns, and to recognise the significant contributions that they can and do make to society. With this in mind we have seen a strong momentum building in the area of inter-agency coordination on youth and within the INEE Adolescents and Youth Task Team.

UPDATES: Inter-Agency Coordination on Youth

Recent international events – including the November 2010 INEE Policy Roundtable on education for youth affected by crisis and a January inter-agency symposium on engaging youth in conflict affected areas – have built momentum for increasing collaboration among relief and development organizations to ensure coherent, responsible and relevant programming for youth in disaster- and conflict-affected situations.

In response, INEE undertook a mapping exercise in March and April on behalf of itself and colleagues such as the Center for Peace Building International, the International Rescue Committee, Search for Common Ground and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Findings indicated that increased collaboration could produce many benefits including: enhanced commitment (particularly at higher political and organizational levels); increased funding for and better financing of youth programs; more coordination and less duplication; incorporating youth issues more substantively in the humanitarian and development architecture, such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee’s cluster system; more effective programming; and institutionalized mechanisms for engaging youth.

To further these ends, many of the agencies involved in the mapping have since come together to form the core of a new informal youth coordination group that others have joined as well. The group has developed an action plan with activities to undertake together and approximately 30 individuals representing around 20 agencies – such as INEE, Open Society Foundation, Plan, Search for Common Ground, UNFPA, Women’s Refugee Commission – have agreed to participate. If you’d like to get involved with the work of the informal youth coordination group, please contact L. Randolph Carter from the Center for Peace Building International at

As its first activity, the group organized a side event to the UN High Level Meeting on Youth on 25 July. Panelists from the side event discussed the need for cross-sectoral engagement and interagency collaboration and the need for a champion of youth issues as a way to begin discussions at higher policy levels.

SURVEY: Inter-agency Survey on Youth

As its next activity, the informal youth coordination group is organizing an inter-agency survey process to engage young people in emergencies, post-conflict, and post-disaster situations for the purpose of informing collective humanitarian action. The group hopes to reach 30,000 young people through the survey.

If you would like to get involved with the development and implementation of the survey, please contact L. Randolph Carter at


UPDATES: INEE Adolescents and Youth Task Team

The INEE Adolescents and Youth Task Team has capitalized on the recent momentum around youth issues. It has reorganized with new conveners and has new activities underway.

AYTT co-convenership:Alongside continuing co-convener Nicolas Servas from Refugee Education Trust (RET), INEE would like to welcome Josh Chaffin (Women’s Refugee Commission), Anna Seeger (GIZ) and Kerstin Tebbe (INEE) as new AYTT co-conveners. INEE would like to thank the previous conveners – Jenny Perlman Robinson, Naseem Awl and Marian Hodgkin – for their contributions and commitment.

AYTT Action Plan: The AYTT has also created a new action plan and updated tasks for the next 12 months. Based on recommendations put forth from the Policy Roundtable in November 2010, there are four broad categories for action:

  1. advocacy and the building the evidence base to make the case for education for youth;
  2. knowledge management and technical capacity to equip all actors;
  3. resources for all to increase funding for post-primary education;
  4. and inter-agency and inter-sectoral coordination to work together to holistically meet the needs of youth affected by crisis.

AYTT Advocacy Brief: The AYTT advocacy brief on ‘Education for Youth Affected by Crisis: Trends, Challenges and Ways Forward’ is available here.

AYTT webpage: The AYTT webpage on the INEE website has also undergone some changes to reflect the new leadership and momentum of the group. Please view the website here for more information on the past, current and future activities of the group.

If you are interested in getting involved with the work of the AYTT, please

From the website on the International Year of Youth:

Welcome to the International Year of Youth (IYY)

“Youth should be given a chance to take an active part in the decision-making of local, national and global levels.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

 On 18 December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolutionA/RES/64/134 proclaiming the year commencing on 12 August 2010 as the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. The Year will coincide with the 25th anniversary of the first International Youth Year in 1985 on the theme Participation, Development and Peace. The resolution A/RES/64/134 is available in all United Nations Official Languages: English | Français | Español | Русский | عربي | 汉语

If you are holding an event in celebration of the International Year of Youth (IYY) and would like to register it on our calendar of events, please visit this link:

The Brochure of the Year provides an overview of the importance of the International Year for young people. Everyone is invited to promote the ideals of peace, freedom, progress and solidarity towards the promotion of youth development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. The Brochure is available in all official UN languages under Links and Resources on top of this page.

 Join the Change Your World campaign for IYY and International Youth Day on 12 August 2011

 International Year of Youth: Culmination Celebration, 11 August 2011

 High Level Meeting on Youth, UN General Assembly Hall, New York, 25-26 July 2011
Photos |  Video of the meeting

 Private Sector Kit to Working With Youth (PDF)

 Check out the webpage of our UN Youth Champion Monique Coleman and her World Tour Diaries

 International Year of Youth Briefing Sessions

 United Nations Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development

 Global Launch of the International Year of Youth, 12 August 2010

Further information about International Youth Day includes this article from  the Ecoleader’s Blog

“Good Night Earth” (free eBook) – Celebrating International Youth Day

Posted on August 12, 2011 by 

(Source: United Nations)

Since the current generation of Planet Earth’s leaders and consumers got us to where we are today, the poem reminds us of simpler times to appreciate Mother Nature each day and night. By appreciating and enjoying Nature with our youth, we can work together  to preserve the circle of life which sustains us.

As our youth mature to adulthood, we can pave the road for the young trailblazers to help us solve some of the world’s toughest energy and environmental issues. They will be able to learn from our mistakes and join us to be part of a solution for a greener future: to change our world.

As UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon states, “ ‘Change Our World’ is more than the theme for this year’s International Youth Day; it is an injunction that should inspire young people at all times…. Young people are gifted with open minds and a keen awareness of emerging trends, and are bringing their energy, ideas and courage to some of the most complex and important challenges facing the human family….And they are often the leading proponents of sustainability and green lifestyles.”

In summary, Ban Ki-moon declares: “To them I say: you have the opportunity to change our world. Seize it.”

Note: if you sign up to this blog   , you can receive a free copy of the eBook “Good Night Earth” (a children’s poem), to celebrate United Nations International Youth Day.

Some useful fact sheets for those involved with young people

Fact Sheets