“Nelson Mandela International Day is an annual call to action for people around the world to make a difference in the communities where they live and work by taking time to serve others,” the Secretary-General stated in his message for the Day.“Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life to the struggle for human rights and social justice,” Mr. Ban continued. “The United Nations joins the Mandela Foundation in asking people around the world to devote at least 67 minutes of their time on 18 July – Madiba’s birthday – to a community service activity.”The UN General Assembly declared 18 July ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ in 2009 in recognition of the former South African President’s contribution to democracy, justice and reconciliation and to mark his birthday. Mr. Mandela passed away in December 2013 in Johannesburg at the age of 95.The overall campaign slogan – Take Action, Inspire Change – seeks to inspire people around the world to take 67 minutes of time devoted to helping others and, in so doing, empower entire communities and build a global movement for good.In the past, volunteers have helped to rebuild homes destroyed by hurricane Sandy in the New York, offered school supplies to children, prepared meals for the elderly, helped out in orphanages, cleaned up parks, and delivered computer literacy workshops.This year’s commemoration comes a week before the UN is set to bestow its first-ever Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize to two individuals – a man and a woman – for their service to humanity. Dr. Helena Ndume, of Namibia, and Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio, of Portugal, will receive the award at a ceremony to take place on 24 July 2015, at UN Headquarters in New York.
She told The Telegraph: “I think the main reason there have been less applications for street parties this year is because Meghan and Harry’s engagement was such a fresh announcement – Meghan and Harry’s relationship was quite a new revelation to us all, and before we knew it they were getting married. Their courtship wasn’t a long one and the news of a wedding was somewhat sprung upon us, compared to the long-awaited arrival and preparation for the grand Royal Wedding of Will and Kate. Street parties across the country for the royal wedding are set to be overrun as so few have been planned.Some have complained that councils have made it difficult and expensive to host parties this year. There has been a dramatic reduction in the number of street parties for this royal wedding than there were for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.Judging by the number of road closure applications received by the county council, Kent is holding 14, compared to 182 in 2011, which is a drop of 92 per cent, while Hertfordshire, which usually holds a record number of street parties, has faced a drop of 83 per cent. The county hosted 298 celebrations in 2011, and is now only holding 51 this weekend.There are only due to be 14 street parties in the whole of Wales, while Liverpool is due to only host two, and Hull won’t have any at all.A spokesperson for Ringwood Town Council in Hampshire said it was expecting its street party to be “very busy”, especially as the marketplace “isn’t huge”, while one knees-up in Belfast said tickets to it were like “gold dust”. Lulu Gwynne, the owner of Betty Blythe cafe in west London, which is hosting a street party, expects there to be crowds. “We’re the street party capital of London – whenever there’s a royal event like this we remove all fees and costs from road closures. Other councils charge and we don’t – that encourages people to have great neighbourhood get together and have a knees-up.” “Our street party tomorrow is going to be very busy. We have been inundated with enquiries and bookings via the website and social media! We have attracted a global audience with some guests coming from as far as Japan! It is going to be truly splendid day.”Wandsworth Council has bucked the trend, with 74 royal-themed street parties set to be held in the London borough, compared to 70 when William and Kate got married.A spokesperson for the council told The Telegraph he wouldn’t be surprised if people from neighbouring boroughs came to the wealth of parties to be hosted – and that Wandsworth is the “street party capital of the UK” because they waived all costs.He said: “We suspect the parties will be busy – the weather forecast over the weekend is set to be good. This record number of street parties we are hosting in our borough bucks the trend and will be full of fun, frolicks and food.”Some of them are likely to be near the border of Merton and Lambeth, and anyone who wants to come to ours will get a very warm welcome. Local media on the Isle of Wight blamed the difficulties in obtaining a road closure license for the lack of parties planned for the island.There are no official street parties going ahead there this year – as the cost of a temporary road closure is £657.16 and applications had to be made well in advance.Any street party pictures you would like to share with the Telegraph, please send them to [email protected] Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.