Procedure for the proclamation of the international years

Guidelines and course of action to be followed for the proclamation of International Years.

Guidelines for the proclamation of international years were adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1980 (decision 35/424) upon a proposal by the ECOSOC (resolution 1980/67 of 25 July 1980) and were subsequently reaffirmed through General Assembly resolution 53/199 of 15 December 1998.

Proclamation of international years

International years are proclaimed by the General Assembly.

Proposals for the proclamation of international years should be submitted directly to the General Assembly which, however, may decide to bring them to the attention of ECOSOC.


  • A subject proposed for an international year should be consistent with the purposes and principles of the United Nations as stated in its Charter.
  • It should be of priority concern to all or the majority of countries and should contribute to the development of international cooperation in solving global problems, in particular those affecting developing countries.
  • It should involve action at the international and national levels and should be expected to generate significant follow-up at both levels in the form of new activities or the strengthening of existing ones.
  • There should be an interval of at least two years between two international years and a longer interval between years concerning similar subjects.
  • The proclamation of an international year should be considered only when celebrations of shorter duration (a month, week, day) would not suffice.
  • An international year should not be proclaimed when a world conference has been convened separately on the same subject or when a subject is already of wide international concern and effective programmes exist to further its ends.

    Procedures for the proclamation, organization and evaluation of international years
  • As a general rule, a final decision on a proposal is taken by the General Assembly not earlier than one full year after the introduction of the proposal in order to take into account the views expressed by all Member States and allow a thorough assessment of the proposal by the competent organs.
  • In general, there should be a period of two years between the proclamation and the beginning of an international year.
  • An international year should not be proclaimed before basic arrangements necessary for its financing (which in principle should be based on voluntary contributions) and its organization have been made.
  • There should be effective coordination of the activities of all United Nations organizations and bodies concerned so as to avoid duplication.
  • Each international year should have objectives that are likely to lead to identifiable and practical results.
  • Procedures for evaluation should be established in the preparatory phase and form part of the implementation and follow-up of each year (more detailed indications under section IV of the guidelines).