United Nations Association UK

United Nations Association UK

The United Nations Association of the UK (UNA-UK) is the leading independent policy authority on the UN in the UK and a UK-wide grassroots membership organisation. UNA-UK campaigns and educates to promote the principles of the UN Charter and to support the work of the United Nations and its agencies. As UNA-UK is independent of the UN system and receives no funding from it, the organisation can be critical of the UN's decisions and activities when it needs to be, and can call for the Organisation to be reformed so that it is better equipped to fulfill its fundamental functions: to maintain international peace and security, to promote development and to uphold human rights around the world.

UNA-UK head office in London provides policy expertise to support the advocacy work of UNA-UK members. It maintains an ongoing dialogue with UK government ministers, parliamentarians and the media on issues relating to the UN. UNA-UK wants to promote multilateralism and adherence to international law through four policy programmes:

* Implementation of the UN Millennium Development Goals
* Peace, security and disarmament
* Human rights and humanitarian affairs
* UN reform

UNA-UK connects with its membership through a regional and local branch structure. UNA-UK publishes a quarterly magazine, 'New World', which contains articles specific to the work of the United Nations.

UNA-UK is also a founding member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations.

In Larger Freedom in the UK

In early 2005 UNA-UK was tasked by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to conduct a public and expert engagement process on UN reform in the lead up to the UN Millennium Review Summit in September 2005.

A series of national and regional public debates were undertaken to examine the recommendations made in the UN Secretary-General's Report, In Larger Freedom. The purpose of the debates was to ensure the widest possible public input into the development of the UK government's priorities for the 2005 World Summit.

The events proved very popular, attracting a cross-section of society, including youth, trade unions, parliamentarians, NGOs, the armed services and academia. Common themes emerged: a clear and widespread support for a strengthened United Nations, and a reaffirmation of the UN's unique importance as both a forum for negotiating viable solutions to collective threats, and an instrument for taking collective action to meet diverse threats, from climate change to terrorism.

UNA-UK compiled a report based on the feedback received and supplemented this with expert input.

On 28 November at Portcullis House Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman and UNA-UK Executive Director Sam Daws launched 'In Larger Freedom in the UK'. The launch took place following a talk by Edward Mortimer, Director of Communications and Chief Speechwriter in the UN Secretary-General’s Office, at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations All-Party Parliamentary Group. The audience included parliamentarians, UNA-UK members, staff from the UN family in London , civil servants and NGO representatives.

Kofi Annan addresses UNA-UK in London

In an historic speech in January 2006 at Central Hall Westminster, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered a wide-ranging address under UNA-UK auspices [cite web |url=http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17358&Cr=Iran&Cr1=nuclear |title=Annan addresses UNA-UK in London |accessdate=2007-08-05 |work=United Nations website ] to an audience of UNA-UK members, diplomats and civil society. Speaking of statesmanship and confidence-rebuilding the Secretary-General outlined his vision of a UN capable of dealing with today's crises.

In a question and answer session that followed, Mr Annan was asked to reflect on his term as Secretary-General. “You cannot do this kind of job for as long as I have done in the world we live in and not have regrets,” he replied. “I do have regrets. I regret that I was unable to breach the divisions amongst member States over the Iraq war. The divisions are still there. They are healing, but I was really deeply disappointed that I could not help bridge the differences,” he added.

The event commemorated the 60th anniversary of the first meeting of the UN General Assembly, which was itself held in Central Hall Westminster in January 1946.

Lord Hannay of Chiswick, Chair of UNA-UK, opened the event [cite web |url=http://www.una.org.uk/kofi_annan.html |title=Kofi Annan addresses UNA-UK |accessdate=2007-08-05 |work=United Nations Association-UK website ] . The then Foreign Secretary Jack Straw also shared his fond memories of his active involvement in UNA as a student, and warmly introduced the Secretary-General.

Commenting after the occasion, UNA-UK Executive Director Sam Daws said, "UNA-UK is delighted to have hosted this major policy speech by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Secretary-General gave a frank account of progress achieved to date on UN reform and the main obstacles to success. His answers to questions from the audience - especially his assessment of his time in office - were wonderfully candid, and served as a reminder of his warmth, commitment and contribution to the aims of the United Nations."

UN Youth & Student Association

UNA-UK has a very active youth and student programme. The UN Youth and Student Association (UNYSA) is a network of university groups, schools and individual members across the UK who exchange ideas and organise events to promote the work of the UN among young people.

Young Professionals Network

UNA-UK's Young Professionals Network (YPN) brings together a diverse mix of young professionals in their 20s and 30s who support a strong role for the UN in international affairs. The Network provides opportunities for like-minded individuals to meet each other and to engage with politicians and influential members of the business community.

See also

*United Nations
*United Nations Association
*United Nations Association Wales
*Humphry Berkeley

External links

* [http://www.una.org.uk United Nations Association UK]
* [http://www.unric.org The United Nations Regional Information Centre (UNRIC)]


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