UN International Years

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
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

1994 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

1999 Centennial of the First International Peace Conference


2000 International Year for the Culture of Peace

2000 International Year of Thanksgiving
2001 International Year of Volunteers

2001 United Nations Year of Dialogue among Civilizations

2001 International Year of Mobilization against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance
2002 International Year of Mountains

2002 International Year of Culture Heritage

2002 International Year of Ecotourism
2003 International Year of Freshwater
2004 International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and Its Abolition

2004 International Year of Rice
2005 International Year of Microcredit

2005 International Year for Sport and Physical Education
2006 International Year of Deserts and Desertification
2008 International Year of the Potato

2008 International Year of Planet Earth

2008 International Year of Sanitation 

2008 International Year of Languages
2009 International Year of Reconciliation

2009 International Year of Natural Fibres


2010 International Year of Biodiversity

2010 International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures

2010 International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding

(12 August 2010 to 11 August 2011)

2011 International Year of Forests

2011 International Year of Chemistry

2011 International Year for People of African Descent
2012 International Year of Cooperatives

2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All

2013 International Year of Water Cooperation