UN Forum is not just our biggest event of the year but the largest civil society conference on the UN to be held in the UK in 2012.
The event will bring together UN experts, policy-makers and people from all walks of life to discuss some of the pressing challenges facing the international community and to produce innovative ideas on how to build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.
The Olympic Truce: can we turn a fine ideal into a living reality?
UN Forum will take place just two weeks before the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games. The opening panel of the Forum will feature a high-level discussion on the Olympic Truce – a core focus for UNA-UK over the past year.
Based on the traditions of the ancient Olympic Games, the Olympic Truce centres on the idea of ceasing hostilities for the duration of the Games to enable humanitarian aid and facilitate dialogue between warring parties. Since 1993, states have pledged to uphold a truce before every Games, with little effect on the ground. In a world where internal conflict is rife, where non-state actors are increasingly part of the equation, and where peacekeepers, aid workers and journalists are routinely targeted, we want to explore whether and how we can turn this ideal into a living reality.
Our speakers will discuss how the concept of the Truce could be used to further conflict resolution, civilian protection and humanitarian aid. They will also share their experiences of sport as a vehicle for transforming lives.
Lord (Michael) Bates – the founder of the Walk for Truce campaign will introduce the panel by speaking about his inspiring walk from Mount Olympus to London to raise awareness of the opportunities for peace that the Truce offers
Lord Hannay of Chiswick, former British Ambassador to the UN and Chair of UN All-Party Parliamentary Group (panel chair)
Dame Margaret Anstee, former UN Under-Secretary-General and first woman to head a UN peacekeeping mission
Over the past 12 months, UNA-UK has been championing the Olympic Truce.
We are delighted that the UK government managed to win unanimous support for its resolution on the Truce in the UN General Assembly last October and are inspired by the activities that are taking place around the world. However, we believe that more can and must be done.
If the Truce is to have a lasting impact, the international community must provide long-term support for the UN’s peacekeeping and conflict prevention work, as well as for short-term humanitarian relief for people struggling to survive in conflict zones.
It is also vital that all of us demonstrate our support for this important initiative – we all have a stake in the Truce’s achievement.