World Humanitarian Day 2015 – Digital Storytelling Campaign Reaches Over Half a Billion Worldwide

United Nations and partners kickstart momentum towards World Humanitarian Summit with #ShareHumanity campaign

(New York, 19 August 2015) – More than half a billion Facebook and Twitter feeds were saturated with real-life stories from survivors of humanitarian crises as part of a massive digital storytelling campaign launched by the United Nations and partners in the name of inspiring the world’s humanity.

“On this World Humanitarian Day, I urge everyone to show solidarity as global citizens by signing up to the #ShareHumanity campaign,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Kimoon, at a special event on the eve of World Humanitarian Day. “By donating your social media feeds for just one day you can promote humanitarian action and help to give a voice to the voiceless by sharing their stories of crisis, hope and resilience.”

The campaign, launched last week, leverages the collective power of individuals to inspire a greater sense of global citizenship using the power of social media. Users are asked to turn their social media feeds into storytelling platforms to spread awareness of humanitarian crises in countries like Syria and Afghanistan.

At the event, humanitarian leaders, media and celebrities joined together to generate a critical mass of support for #ShareHumanity. Australian singer-songwriter Cody Simpson, Malian-French singer-songwriter Inna Modja, and Colombian music superstar, Juanes, inspired the audience with their performances.

“Tonight is also a celebration of the values and principles that drive our actions: the humanitarian instinct to support people in need,” said UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien.

The UN Secretary-General also paid tribute to the 120 humanitarian aid workers who lost their lives in 2014 in the service of helping others. World Humanitarian Day commemorates the day in 2003 when 22 UN workers were killed in a bombing of the UN offices in Baghdad.

Today, more than 100 million people in countries across the world need urgent lifesaving humanitarian aid, with nearly 60 million people now forcibly displaced. This is a crisis of forced migration on a scale not seen in the post-World War era, in which a displaced person will remain, on average, displaced for 17 years.

These growing humanitarian needs and finding better ways to respond to them are the impetus behind the Secretary-General’s World Humanitarian Summit, to be held in Turkey in 2016 – his ambitious global call to action to reduce human loss and suffering from humanitarian crises. He kicked off the official countdown to the Summit by revealing a massive virtual clock at the event and pressing a symbolic button. The global gathering of world leaders from government, business and communities will be held in Istanbul in May – just 278 days away

Media contact:

Natasha Scripture, OCHA New York, (+1) 917 367 4432, scripture@un.org

Note to editors:

According to data and analysis from Humanitarian Outcomes, a team of specialist consultants providing research and policy advice for humanitarian aid agencies and donor governments:

– In 2014, ten aid workers lost their lives each month and 329 aid workers were victims of violent attacks in 27 countries

– While this is roughly 30 per cent less than last year’s all-time high, the number of incidents remains alarmingly high

– In 2014 the countries where the most attacks on aid workers took place were Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Central African Republic and Pakistan

– Seventy-seven aid workers have lost their lives in Syria since the start of the conflict

– Killings, kidnappings and attacks are daily risks in a world where 80 per cent of humanitarian aid is being delivered to civilians caught up by conflict.

About World Humanitarian Day

August 19 marks the anniversary of the 2003 United Nations Headquarters bombing in Baghdad, which claimed the lives of 22 people. In an effort to raise awareness of humanitarian assistance worldwide – and the people who risk their lives to provide it – the United Nations General Assembly in 2008 designated August 19 as World Humanitarian Day.