By Charndré Emma Kippie
Each year, National Environment Month is celebrated in June, with the South African government and industry leaders raising awareness about significant environmental issues, and challenging all citizens to become active agents for change. In addition, World Environment Day — the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) biggest annual event — is celebrated on 5 June, and is geared towards facilitating positive environmental action. Important areas of concern are: the depletion of the ozone layer, toxic chemicals, desertification and global warming. The theme for World Environment Day 2021 is ‘Ecosystem Restoration’ and will see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Ecosystem restoration can take many forms: Growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, changing diets or cleaning up rivers and coasts.
World Oceans Day: 8 June
World Oceans Day is geared towards raising awareness about the role of our oceans and the importance of conserving and protecting our marine environment. The 8th of June is celebrated internationally as World Oceans Day. While the day has been unofficially celebrated since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, in December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution to officially recognise World Oceans Day annually. Our oceans are necessary for ensuring food security and the overall survival of all life on Earth. On this day we also celebrate the power the oceans have over our climate and biosphere. World Oceans Day encourages global consciousness surrounding the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.
World Blood Donor Day: 14 June
Countries across the globe celebrate World Blood Donor Day (WBDD) annually. This event aims to educate the public about the need for safe blood and blood products, and to thank voluntary blood donors for their life-saving contributions to public health systems. Blood donations are key to ensuring that healthcare systems garner a sufficient supply of blood for injured and near-death patients. For 2021, the World Blood Donor Day slogan is ‘Give blood and keep the world beating’. This message highlights the essential contribution blood donors make to keeping the world pulsating by saving lives and improving others’ health. It reinforces the global call for more people all over the world to donate blood regularly and contribute to better health.
Youth Month – Youth Day: 16 June
This month is allocated to paying homage to the youth of 1976 who fought against the apartheid government, laying down their lives in the fight for freedom and the right to equal education. 2021 marks 45 years since the youth uprising, in which many young people lost their lives while standing up against a system that sought to condemn their identity, and break their spirit. During June, government and its agencies, such as the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA), will host a number of initiatives, including youth expos and youth entrepreneur hubs to showcase opportunities available to the South African youth. The country is encouraged to take part in Youth Month by recognising the present and future role of the youth in shaping the socio-economic landscape of the country.
Africa Public Service Day: 23 June
Africa Public Service Day is a commemorative day in the African Union calendar. It was launched on the back of a conference between African Ministers for Public or Civil Service agendas, held in Tangier, Morocco in 1994. This day aims to draw attention to the value and virtue of service to the community. It is also a platform to reflect and share practical recommendations on women empowerment in public service nationally and across the continent. This year’s theme is ‘The role of Public Administration in Building and Sustaining peaceful co-existence among communities’. Pan-African Ministers agree that this continental strategy is needed to boost public administration programmes, public sector performance and governance as well as recognise the value and virtue of service to the community.
International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking: 26 June
On 7 December 1987, the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) made the decision to observe 26 June, annually, as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. This was the General Assembly’s way of expressing its determination to reinforce action and cooperation geared towards achieving the objective of an international society free of drug abuse. Acknowledged each year by communities, various health and support organisations, and individuals all over the world, this global observance is intended to raise awareness around major issues posed in society by illicit drugs. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) encourages individuals, non-profit organisations, the private sector and Member States to get involved in its social media campaign to mark this day.
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