UN General Assembly Current Affairs - 2019

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18 May: ‘Buddha Purnima’ celebrated

Buddha Purnima also known as Vaishak Purnima is the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha (or Lord Buddha). 18 May 2019 witnessed the 2,563rd birth anniversary of the Buddha and is being celebrated across the world.

About Buddha Purnima

  • Background: Buddha Purnima festival is traditionally celebrated to commemorate birth of Siddhartha Gautama​, who later became Gautama Buddha and founded Buddhism. People celebrate Siddhartha’s (a king by birth) choice to embrace a spiritual quest when he witnessed the suffering of common people which inspired him to let go of his royal life. He then renounced all worldly pleasures and became a holy man.
  • It is celebrated every year on the full moon day (known as Purnima), in month of Vaishakha, according to Hindu Lunar calendar.
  • Reason: It is also celebrated as Vesak in South and Southeast Asia. The day commemorates birth, death as well as enlightenment of Lord Buddha, all of which is said to have taken place on same day. It is after this enlightenment that later Siddhartha earned the title Buddha which means ‘The Enlightened One’.
  • Significance: Celebrating Buddha Purnima is all about praying with purest of feelings, and adopting what Buddhism stand for which is peace, harmony and non-violence.

Celebrations Worldwide

  • Nepal: is considered as Buddha’s birth country. He was born in Lumbini (now in modern-day Nepal). There Buddha Purnima day is celebrated on full moon day of Vaisakha month in accordance to Buddhist calendar.
  • Southeast Asian Nations: celebrate day during Vaisakha month of Buddhist and Hindu calendar, which is generally the month of April or May according to Gregorian calendar.
  • Others:
  • On this day, Countries all over world such as Malaysia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, South Vietnam, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia,
  • Canada, United States (US) celebrate the essence of Buddhism. It is public holiday in many countries, and is celebrated by commemorating different ethnicities and cultures.

Celebrations India

  • It is celebrated by paying a visit to common Viharas (monastery for Buddhists), where Buddhists observe a longer than usual and full-length Buddhist sutra (or suttas), which is similar to a service.

17 May: Vesak Day

  • On 17 May 2019 United Nation (UN) observed “Vesak”, the Day of the Full Moon in month of May.
  • In 1999, the UN General Assembly (UNGA), by its resolution 54/115, recognized internationally Day of Vesak, to acknowledge contribution of Buddhism in world.

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International Day of Families observed on 15 May

The International Day of Families is observed on 15 May every year. Its annual observance reflects the importance international community acknowledges and attaches to families and roles played by them in development.

Key Facts

  • About: The United Nations (UN) recognizes family as basic unit of society. Therefore, in 1992 the UN General Assembly (UNGA) with resolution A/RES/47/237 proclaimed 15 May as The International Day of Families. In many countries, this IDF serves as an opportunity to highlight various areas of interest and importance to families.
  • Objective: It seeks to promote awareness of issues relating to families and also aims to increase knowledge of demographic, economic and social processes affecting them.
  • Organized By: IFD observance is organized by ‘Division for Inclusive Social Development’ (DISD), which is part of UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and Global Communications Civil Society.

About International Day of Families 2019

  • The Theme for IFD 2019: is “Families and Climate Action: Focus on (Sustainable Development Goals) SDG 13”. The theme commemorates the day to focus on various roles of families for achievement of Sustainable Development Goals from SDG1 to SDG5 and SDG 16.
  • Significance: The 2019 observance of IDF primarily focuses on families, family policies and major SDG 13 targets –
    • SDG-13 target 13.3: which states to raise awareness, improve education and human and institutional capacity on climate change early warning, adaptation, impact reduction and mitigation.
    • SDG-13 target 13.2: it states to integrate climate change measures by nations into their national planning, policies and strategies.
  • Importance: The Families and family-oriented policies and programmes are important for achievement of many of the SDGs, which were adopted by 193 member states of the United Nations (UN) in 2015.

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