International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024)

In December 2014, the UN General Assembly, in its Resolution 68/237, proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024).

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© Shutterstock / Damian Ryszawy

Context

The International Decade for People of African Descent is an important commitment to the fight against racism.

During the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance (Durban, South Africa) in 2001 the most appropriate terms and notions to qualify the populations related to Africa were developed. As with indigenous people, the categories and denominations inherited from slavery and colonization were called into question by the people concerned who claimed their right to self-designation.  This is how, abandoning the categorizations based on skin color or ethnicity, the concepts of “afro-descendant” and “person of African descent” were discussed in depth.

The World Conference has notably recognized the slave trade and slavery as a crime against humanity, and adopted a Declaration and a Programme of Action proposing concrete measures to fight against these evils particularly manifest against people of African descent.

The Durban Review conference, held in 2009, outlined the need to prompt States to materialize their moral commitment. The year 2011 was proclaimed International Year for People of African Descent. UNESCO actively participated. At the end of 2011, it was clear that despite the significant number of actions undertaken by States, international organizations and civil society, the scope of work to be accomplished to advance the rights of people of African descent could not be achieved in only one year.

The United Nations proclaimed an International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024) to give Member States more time to accomplish their commitments and to achieve practical results by implementing the adopted Programme of activities. The proclamation of this Decade is the result of a long debate amongst Member States of different regions, on its pertinence, objectives and priority actions.