Welcome to our first newsletter of the new year – we hope that you have had a good start to 2012.
This year is likely to be as fast-paced as the last, with elections – or at least changes in administration – looming in four of the UN Security Council’s five permanent members and major UN conferences on sustainable development, the arms trade, and a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East (not to mention the small matter of the London Olympic & Paralympic Games). And those are just a few of the events that we can predict with some degree of certainty.
2012 will also be an action-packed year for UNA-UK. We are delighted to announce that on 14 July we will hold our second ‘UN Forum‘ in London – a public outreach event aimed at bringing the work and values of the UN to a large and diverse audience. We will also be holding our inaugural schools Model UN tournament, launching our first GLOBE events and applying for charitable status. Read on for more information.
As ever, we will be counting on your continued support throughout the year as we work for an effective United Nations and a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.
Your UNA-UK Team
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UNA-UK is the UK’s leading source of independent analysis on the United Nations and a UK-wide grassroots movement campaiging for a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.
Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on R2P visits UNA-UK
UNA-UK was delighted to welcome Edward Luck, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the responsibility to protect, to London on 13 December 2011. Dr Luck visited the UK to address the UN All-Party Parliamentary Group and a conference organised by the Oxford University Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict with support from UNA-UK. Noting that last year’s events in Libya had been a ‘watershed’ for R2P, he said that civil society, in particular UNA-UK and its membership, had an important part to play in promoting the principle.
General Meeting approves bid for charitable status
At UNA-UK’s General Meeting on 24 November, proposals for the organisation to merge with the UNA Trust into a new charitable organisation (subject to Charity Commission approval) were approved with overwhelming support.
Attempt to weaken cluster munitions ban is rejected
UNA-UK lobbied hard for the UK government to reject a draft protocol which stood to weaken the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions. We are pleased to report that the protocol was rejected at UN negotiations in Geneva on 25 November 2011, and that during negotiations, the UK did not support the protocol. Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UNA-UK’s Chairman, commented: “I am glad to see that what members of UNA-UK wanted to happen … has emerged from Geneva.”
Last December’s climate negotiations in Durban resulted in an agreement to work towards a legally-enforceable deal to take effect by 2020. However, a second Kyoto Protocol phase was accepted only by EU countries, with others – notably Canada, Russia and Japan – opting out.
One of UNA-UK’s key concerns is strengthening the international climate framework. In two op eds published by the Huffington Post and the UN Environment Programme, UNA-UK Chairman Sir Jeremy Greenstock and Bonian Golmohammadi, Secretary-General of World Federation of UN Associations, make the case for a global environment organisation.
Following recent developments in Iraq and across the Middle East and North Africa, UNA-UK Chairman Sir Jeremy Greenstock has made several media appearances. As well as appearing on BBC Newsnight alongside Henry Kissinger and Simon Schama to discuss the situation in the wider Middle East, Sir Jeremy was also interviewed by BBC World, the BBC News Channel and the British Forces Radio on the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq.
‘Uniting the Nations’ is a national Model UN tournament for UK school pupils aged 14-19. The event, taking place on Saturday 10 March 2012 in London, will be a model General Assembly to agree a resolution on the Olympic Truce. Find out more here: www.una.org.uk/unitingthenations
Know a school that may be interested?
Uniting the Nations is a nationwide event aimed at schools interested in international affairs and debating. Model UN is a tried-and-tested method to broaden knowledge of global issues and build key skills such as public speaking, research and negotiation. Please help us by forwarding the link www.una.org.uk/unitingthenations to any schools in the UK that you think may be interested in taking part.
Are you a Model United Nations enthusiast?
UNA-UK is recruiting volunteer Chairs, Assistant Chairs, Rapporteurs and a Media Team to help on the day. If you are an experienced Model UN participant or organiser and would like to be part of this unique event, we would love to hear from you. Click here for full details and to apply.