About World Humanitarian Day

On 19 August 2003, a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five years later, the General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day (WHD).

Each year, WHD focuses on a theme, bringing together partners from across the humanitarian system to advocate for the survival, well-being and dignity of people affected by crises, and for the safety and security of aid workers.

This year, we highlight the immediate human cost of the climate crisis by pressuring world leaders to take meaningful climate action for the world’s most vulnerable people.

WHD is a campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and humanitarian partners.

Recent WHD Campaigns

  • 2021: Join #TheHumanRace
    For this World Humanitarian Day, 19 August, we’re coming together for #TheHumanRace: a global challenge for climate action in solidarity with people who need it the most.
  • 2020: Real Life Heroes
    Around the world, many people have grown up with local stories of fictional heroes, from folktales to fantasy epics. Humanitarians didn’t appear in those stories, but this year we bring these unsung heroic stories to life.
  • 2019: #WomenHumanitarians
    Today, on World Humanitarian Day, the United Nations honours the work of women throughout the world; raising awareness, rallying support, and amplifying the stories of these heroes on the front lines of our humanitarian efforts.