Considering the initiative was declared in 2009 (one of the outcomes of the 2001 Durban The World Conference against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, which came from the UN's 2001 International Year of Mobilisation against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance), and launched in December 2010, it's somehow amazing that as I write this towards the end of 2011, the initiative seems to have passed by most people, hence the title of the first TAOBQ press release.
So here's an accessible background culled from the UN/UNESCO/OHCHR online resources.
On 18 December 2009, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the year beginning on 1 January 2011 the International Year for People of African Descent (PDF). The Year aims at strengthening national action and regional and international cooperation for the benefit of people of African descent. This includes their full enjoyment of economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, their participation and integration in all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and the promotion of a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.
Around 200 million people who identify themselves as being of African descent live in the Americas. Many millions more live in other parts of the world, outside of the African continent. In proclaiming this International Year, the international community is recognising that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected.
The main objective of the Year is to raise awareness of the challenges facing people of African descent. It is hoped that the Year will foster discussions that will generate proposals for solutions to tackle these challenges.
Framework for Action: 4 objectives
1. To raise awareness concerning the challenges faced by people of African descent as well as their contribution to the societies in which they live;
2. To contribute to raising the capacity of people of African descent and those working on this human rights issue;
3. To use Multi-partner forums to discuss the challenges facing people of African descent and arrival at proposals for solutions;
4. To have a coherent and strategic programme that effectively addresses the issue of people of African descent during the International Year and beyond.
Below are two videos, one shows the launch of the 2011 initiative in December 2010 and the other, the official closure in December 2011:
Special Event: Launching of the International Year of Peoples of African Descent 10 December 2010
If it passed you by, you can catch this 40 minute video showing the December 2010 launch of the UN's International Year For People Of Descent initiative and its aims.
Closure of the International Year for People of African Descent 06 December 2011
Running nearly 3 hours, you best make time to watch this reflective in chunks. It covers the closing event which takes stock of the initiatives and activities that were undertaken by Member States, United Nations bodies, specialised agencies, intergovernmental organisations, as well as civil society, including Non-governmental organisations and organisations of people of African descent during this year...