Civilians are #NotATarget campaign poster

World Humanitarian Day is held every year on 19 August to pay tribute to those who risk their lives in humanitarian service and to rally support for people affected by crises worldwide.


World Humanitarian Day 2017: Civilians are #NotATarget

Around the world, conflict is exacting a massive toll on people’s lives. Trapped in wars that are not of their making, millions of civilians are forced to hide or run for their lives. Children are taken out of school, families are displaced from their homes, and communities are torn apart, while the world is not doing enough to stop their suffering. At the same time, health and aid workers – who risk their lives to care for people affected by violence – are increasingly being targeted.

For WHD 2017, humanitarian partners are coming together to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATargetThrough a global online campaign featuring an innovative partnership with Facebook Live, together with events held around the world, we will raise our voices to advocate for those most vulnerable in war zones, and demand that world leaders do everything their power to protect civilians in conflict.

This campaign follows on the UN Secretary-General’s report on protection of civilians, which was launched earlier this year. Laying out his ‘path to protection’, the Secretary-General calls for enhanced respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, and protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical workers as well as civilian infrastructure.

Sign the petition at to reaffirm that civilians caught in conflict are #NotATarget.

Ongoing crises

  • Averting famine
    May 22, 2017

    Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen are facing conflict and drought that have put them on the verge of famine. Some 20 million people are at risk of starvation in the worst preventable humanitarian crisis since World War II. UNDP has maintained a robust, long-term presence in all four affected countries and has mobilized quickly and to revitalize communities and economies.

  • Iraq
    May 22, 2017

    The conflict with ISIL and military operations to retake territory have displaced over 5 million Iraqis and driven over 11 million into humanitarian need. UNDP established the Funding Facility for Stabilization (FFS) to rapidly stabilize newly liberated areas.

  • Lake Chad Basin
    Sep 20, 2017

    Nine years into the conflict, the humanitarian emergency in the Lake Chad region is among the most severe in the world. The crisis is unfolding in a region already affected by severe underdevelopment, poverty and climate change. In 2018, more than 10 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection.

  • Somalia
    May 22, 2017

    Somalia today is once again confronted with mass famine. The lack of adequate rainfall over three consecutive seasons led to the failure of crop production and livestock deaths at a massive scale and rapid increases in the incidence of food insecurity, malnutrition, disease and population displacement.

  • South Sudan
    May 22, 2017

    Unresolved political conflicts, ethnic and religious tensions erupted into violence that has killed thousands of people and destroyed critical infrastructure in South Sudan. UNDP’s response focuses on security and justice, delivery of basic services and peace-building.

  • Syria
    May 22, 2017

    Since the onset of the crisis in 2011, hundreds of thousands have been killed, and today 13.5 million people in Syria are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. UNDP focuses on local projects to create emergency jobs, support livelihoods and restore critical community infrastructure for all Syrians.

  • Yemen
    May 22, 2017

    Already one of the poorest countries in the Arab region, Yemen’s situation worsened considerably amid escalating armed conflict. UNDP is helping people get back to work so they can become self-sufficient again, helping restore basic services and contributing to peace-building efforts.

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UNDP Around the world