Senior UN officials, leaders of organisations of civil society from around the world and the general public met on Wednesday at Expo Milano 2015 to celebrate World Humanitarian Day (WHD).
In line with the theme of the World Expo "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life", this year's United Nations World Humanitarian Day carries the theme "Inspiring the World's Humanity," according to the Italian News Agency (AGI).
The main objective of meetings and debates held in Milan was to stimulate a deep sense of global citizenship through the accounts of humanitarian workers and efforts to assist people in need. The event was marked by the social campaign #ShareHumanity, slogan of the parade held in the afternoon, with Solidarity, Inspire, Dignity and Compassion as keywords to raise public awareness on the importance of humanitarian aid. "Inspiring the World's Humanity - If hunger is a weapon, food is an instrument of peace" was the title of the discussion organised at the Swiss Pavilion.
Several officials participated in the debate, including Ambassador Manuel Bessler, delegate of the Swiss government for Humanitarian Aid and Head of Swiss Humanitarian Aid, the Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme Barbara Noseworthy, the director of OCHA Geneva Rashid Khalikov, the Assistant Secretary General and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Crisis in the Sahel Toby Lanzer and the Unit Head for East, West and Southern Africa's Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid of the European Commission (ECHO), Cornelis Wittebrood.
"World Humanitarian Day is another crucial step in the long and fruitful collaboration between the United Nations and Expo," said Expo Commissioner Giuseppe Sala. "Thanks to the parade and other events, Expo Milano 2015 today celebrates the people and the activities that are undertaken around the world to bring help, to alleviate suffering and to offer support to people in danger." Rashid Khalikov added: "Today we celebrate the spirit that inspires humanitarian action worldwide. Today we honour all the heroic humanitarian aid workers who have given their lives to help the most helpless and vulnerable in the world," AGI reported.