UN Year

Since 1959 the UN has designated International years in order to draw attention to major issues and to encourage international action to address concerns which have global importance and ramifications. There is a concerted effort not to designate every year - for fiscal reasons and to avoid any process of trivialization. The following is the chronological list of years designated to date:

1959/60 World Refugee Year
1961 International Health and Medical Research Year
1965 International Cooperation Year
1967 International Tourism Year
1968 International Year for Human Rights
1970 International Education Year
1971 International Year for Action to Combat Racism & Racial Discrimination
1974 World Population Year
1975 International Women’s Year
1978 International Anti-Apartheid Year
1979 International Year of the Child
1981 International Year of Disabled Persons
1982 International Year of Mobilisation for Sanctions Against South Africa
1983 World Communications Year
1985 International Youth Year
1986 International Year of Peace
1987 International Year of Shelter for the Homeless
1990 International Literacy Year
1992 International Space Year (endorsed, not declared)
1993 International Year for World’s Indigenous People
1994
International Year of the Family; and
International Year of Sport & Olympic Ideal
1995 United Nations Year for Tolerance
1996 International Year for the Eradication of Poverty
1998 International Year of the Ocean

1999
International Year of Older Persons
Centennial of the First International Peace Conference

2000
International Year for the Culture of Peace
International Year of Thanksgiving

2001
International Year of Volunteers
United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations
International Year of Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance

2002
International Year of Mountains
International Year of Culture Heritage
International Year of Eco tourism

2003
International Year of Freshwater

2004
International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and Its Abolition
International Year of Rice

2005 
International Year of Micro credit; and
International Year for Sport and Physical Education

2006
International Year of Deserts and Desertification

2008
International Year of the Potato; and
International Year of Planet Earth; and
International Year of Sanitation; and
International Year of Languages

2009
International Year of Human Rights Learning
International Year of Reconciliation
International Year of Natural Fibers
International Year of Astronomy

2010
International Year of Biodiversity
International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures
International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding

2011
International Year of Forests
International Year of Chemistry
International Year for People of African Descent
International Year of Youth

2012
International Year of Cooperatives
International Year of Sustainable Energy for All

2013
International Year of Water Cooperation
International Year of Quinoa

2014
International Year of Crystallography
International Year of Family Farming

2015
International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies
International Year of Soils

2016
International Year of Pulses

2017
International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development