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Welcome to the February / March 2022 edition of UNAA News!

WFUNA Issues Statement on Ukraine

The United Nations Association of Australia joins other associations of the World Federation of United Nations Associations to express grave concern over the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine which has led to a violation of its territorial integrity and political independence and marks a clear rejection of the steps outlined in Chapter VI of the United Nations Charter for resolving disputes peacefully.

The World Federation of the United Nations Association deplores the civilian casualties in all parts of Ukraine and expresses its solidarity with the Ukrainian Government and people who are resisting the invasion of their country by the Russian Federation. We support and join the global peaceful protests that are voicing their opposition to the war.'

Read full statement at the WFUNA website

Welcome to our first edition of the UNAA Newsletter for 2022. As a new year has dawned we look forward to your continued participation engaging, educating and inspiring Australians about the role of the United Nations. Our common goal of creating a safer, fairer and more sustainable world is even more critical today. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the devastating flooding in QLD and northern NSW. It is inspiring to see everyone supporting one another in these times.

March SDG of the Month
Goal 15: Sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss

This month's Sustainable Development Goal of the month is Life on Land. More pertinent than ever; nature is critical to our survival. It provides us with our oxygen, regulates our weather patterns, pollinates our crops, produces our food, feed and fibre. But it is under increasing stress. As human induced climate change pushes the natural environment to its limits, the United Nations shares why sustainable development matters to life on earth, some targets we can collectively work toward to achieve sustainability, and resources to help you understand how you can contribute to a better future, here.  

UNAA Board Update

In February the UNAA Board approved the first Policy Position Statements developed by our Public Policy Committee.

Our statement on Australia’s relationship with the United Nations draws on the research paper prepared by Senuri Perera in 2020 on the ‘UN’s importance to Australia and the World in an era of COVID-19.’ The statement urges the Australian Government to:

  • Engage Australian young people with more UN initiatives and streamline programs for Australians to enter the UN family
  • Practically implement gender obligations and the Women, Peace and Security agenda
  • Undertake a greater leadership role on the international stage, supporting multilateral institutions and processes, facilitating collaborations, and sharing science in the pursuit of a safer, fairer, and more sustainable world
  • Better communicate the benefits Australia stands to gain from increasing UN engagement.

Our statement on the Sustainable Development Goals is an update on our statement published in 2019. It follows the themes of our UN & Australia Sustainable Partnerships Forum in 2021.

The new statement urges the Australian Government to:

  • Integrate Sustainable Development Goals and targets within domestic and foreign policy and reporting frameworks
  • Strengthen transparency, collaboration and communication on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals across all foreign and development policy
  • Fund a secretariat to coordinate national action on the Sustainable Development Goals and develop a national public awareness campaign to increase understanding, engagement, commitment and partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
We encourage you to read and share our policy position statements. If you would like to contribute to the Public Policy Committee please drop us a line at
Opportunities to volunteer with the UNAA National Office 

We recently welcomed Sarah Lisle to our Governance and Policy team. We are finalising recruitment to Communications roles. We are looking to engage volunteers with the passion, skills and capacity to support our work through

  • Volunteer Coordination
  • Policy and network coordination
  • Compliance

If you would like to work with our dedicated and inspiring team please send your CV and a short letter covering your motivation and volunteering goals to – thank you!


Climate Action: Speak Up and Act Now

Climate activists around the world are relentlessly pursuing global solidarity and transformational change with a clear and urgent message: act now to protect people and save our planet from the worst impacts of the climate crisis. As a tribute to those who persist, the ten-part Voices of Change series looks at the determination and drive of young people mobilising for climate justice, starting with Ugandan Climate Activist and a Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals Vanessa Nakate.

Vanessa Nakate: Climate change is about the people 

Vanessa Nakate started her journey as a climate activist in 2018. The climate crisis has been one of the greatest threats affecting the lives of many Ugandans - and she became increasingly aware and concerned about communities particularly vulnerable to the crippling impacts of a warming planet.

Watch her interview and learn more here. 

What's coming up? 

Adelaide: International Women's Day Breakfast
Friday 11th March 

UNAA South Australia is excited to be hosting a virtual International Women's Day (IWD) event on Friday 11th March, 7am-8/8:15am.

With special guest Grace Tame, hosted by Senator the Hon Penny Wong and MC'd by Sonya Feldhoff, ABC Radio Adelaide, we are looking forward to a wonderful event. 

The pandemic has significantly disadvantaged millions of women and as a result we need your support more than ever to help us raise funds to support UN Women Australia's projects in the Asia-Pacific region. We encourage you to use this as an opportunity to fundraise for UN Women Australia by hosting smaller events and watching the live stream with your friends and colleagues.

From the 2021 Adelaide IWD Breakfast we were able to donate $60,000 to UN Women Australia. This was a significant achievement and we hope to continue that strength this year.


  • Event Date: Friday 11th March 2022
  • Start: 7am
  • Finish: 8/8.15am
For more info and tickets, visit here

UNAA New South Wales

Reconnection Picnic - 5th March 

UNAA NSW is hosting a Reconnection Picnic to help people reconnect as we learn to live with COVID. The picnic will be held from 11am - 1pm on Sat 5th March 2022 at Prince Alfred Park (next to Central Station). The event is FREE and will begin with an Aboriginal smoking ceremony and performances. Three special guest speakers will talk about learning to live with covid - Reverend Bill Crews, Dr Sonu Bhaskar, and Associate Professor Holly Seale. Food and drinks will be provided, and we'll also have a roving big band! Register here!
Reconnection picnic flyer.png

Ocean Lovers Festival, 10th -13th March 
UNAA NSW is proudly partnering with the Volvo Ocean Lovers Festival for their annual celebration of Ideas, Art+Music and Actions, showcasing some of the latest innovations, science, and state-of-the-art technology for helping the ocean. Staged at Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach, the Ocean Lovers Festival provides 4 days of free entertainment and events from 10-13 March 2022. UNAA NSW will be coordinating the volunteers for the event, running a UNAA NSW stall and hosting monthly Meetups to engage volunteers leading up to the festival, including ocean experts as guest speakers.  
What's been? 

UNAA Victoria

UNAA Victoria has worked with students from two Indian universities over the past three months while the students undertake SDGs-based internships.

Four students from Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, Delhi, researched Nature Based and Human Solutions for Tackling Biodiversity Loss (SDGs 14, 15 and 17), while students from the Centre for Social Sensitivity and Action, Goa Institute of Management, researched A World without Waste: Making the transition to a Circular Economy (SDG 12 and 17).

Students researched their topic from the perspective of an allocated UN Member State and then verbally presented the views of their country in an online, mini–Model UN. For the Biodiversity focused internship, Manini Dhawla represented India, Himanshu Ralhan Australia, Sourabh Wadhwa Costa Rica and Sanyam Jain Finland. From the Goa Institute, India was represented by Aditya Kailas Bedij, Rwanda by Anmol Shukla, Australia by Sreya Sarah Geeejo and Germany by Maitri Aswal. 

UNAA Victoria President Professor Ian Howie acted as Secretary-General for the simulations of the UN General Assembly, during which students outlined their country’s position before a moderated discussion.
Goa Institute of Manager Director, Ajit Parulekar congratulated “all participants for the presentations as well as the discussion. This is an excellent initiative that introduces participants to geo-politics, especially those related to climate change."

Participant Seya Sarah Geejo said it was a “privilege to represent Australia and to propose the amendments along with my fellow member nations. Circularity and international partnership are truly the only way forward for a sustainable future 'that leaves no one behind' as rightly stated in the vision for UN SDG goals of Agenda 2030”.

Goa Institute of Management student UN delegates discuss the transition to a circular economy with guidance from acting Secretary-General Professor Ian Howie.

UNAA Queensland

Wednesday 24th of February was the first of a series of six monthly round tables coordinated by Dr Donnell Davis, a former president of UNAAQ. The event focused on planning in South East Queensland five years after the significant event in the region in 2017, UN Habitat 3, New Urban Agenda for SE Queensland.

H3plus 5 (Habitat3, plus 5) will engage speakers from diverse professions and interests to review what has happened in planning, share experiences and challenges alike, and develop a Declaration to guide the next steps. 

This month, UNAAQ has signed an MOU with Pure Land Learning College in Toowoomba. This relationship has been developed over several years, through the commitment to developing community engagement and understanding of peace. Last year we shared a wonderful community event to celebrate International Day of Peace and we plan continued cooperation in a range of events with the local council, faith groups and schools. We are also finalising a similar agreement with Heartfulness, the international relaxation and meditation NGO, through the Toowoomba connection. Thank you to UNAA NSW for the introduction 

UNAA Northern Territory
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women  

To mark the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on the 25 November 2021, UNAA NT hosted an event at Darwin Uniting Memorial Church with presentations from two inspirational community leaders whose advocacy in the NT seeks to empower women who suffer from domestic violence in all forms.
Ms. Sally Gearin- a Trailblazing barrister and human rights advocate who was the first women admitted to the NT Bar in 1990- spoke about the structural discrimination women have faced through time, and certain international changes she had seen occur over the years to improve the rights of women.
Ms. Melissa Coveney- a passionate advocate for women’s rights, working as Principal Lawyer at the North Aboriginal Family Legal Service- presented on the cycles of violence upon women in indigenous communities, that occurs at the intersection of domestic violence and the law and courts. The session was moderated by UNAA NT Committee member and human rights barrister, Ms. Lyma Nguyen.
The event was well attended with UNAA members and supporters, as well as professional workers from domestic violence and legal agencies present, providing stimulating discussion and debate on a very important topic. Abuse against girls and women is a widespread and prevalent phenomenon around the world, often with devastating consequences. It was wonderful to hear from Darwin community members about activities being implemented in organisations to raise awareness of and to implement projects to stop violence against women.

UNAA Western Australia

Universal Declaration of Human Rights Day
On 10th December 2021, The UNAAWA Human Rights Committee organised an event to commemorate the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The theme of this event was “The Importance of Non-Violence.”

The event was hosted by Borderless Gandhi, which works to spread the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, including non-violence. The panel tackled questions relating to how non-violence, safety and peace allows for the recovery process for persons traumatised by violence, such as refugees, war zone survivors, domestic violence victims. The speakers shared their experiences in assisting survivors with recovery process, assistance available for those seeking asylum and refuge in Australia, and how the granting of certain visas could help the survivors in their mental recovery.
Human Rights Convener, Randhir Amoganathan, and panel speakers representing Borderless Ghandi, the Association for Services to Torture and Trauma Survivors (ASeTTS), and Law Access

Celebrating Diversity on Australia Day
On Australia Day this year, UNAAWA President Dr. Sandy Chong who serves as an Ambassador of Auspire for the Australia Day Council, supported the Community Citizen Awards ceremony at the City of Canning. She reflected on what Australia Day means to her – a day to reflect on, respect, and celebrate the ways in which we have shaped Australia’s society, of the efforts of both Aboriginal custodians and migrants to Australia since the 18th century.

She urged that we commemorate those who made sacrifices to live in Australia and to protect the opportunities that we enjoy here. In ending her message of solidarity, Dr. Chong emphasised that, despite our differences, we are shaped by our country just as we shape it, and that we continue to do our best in ensuring that we keep it united, beautiful, and free.
UNAAWA President, Dr Sandy Chong with Mayor and Deputy Mayor of City of Canning, Patrick Hall and Ben Kunze.
60th Session of the Commission for Social Development 

The 60th session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD60) took place largely online from the 7th to 16th February 2022 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commission is the advisory body responsible for the social development pillar of global development.

The priority theme was 'Inclusive and resilient recovery from COVID-19 for sustainable livelihoods, well-being and dignity for all: eradicating poverty and hunger in all its forms and dimensions to achieve the 2030 Agenda.'

Officials from around the world joined to discuss national policies and measures implemented by Member States to combat hunger and poverty in times of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. They also discussed the challenges to getting on track towards the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The sessions were all recorded and can be viewed here

The UNAA is a Not-for-profit charity and relies on donations to support our events and programs. All donations under the auspices of the Australian Institute for International Affairs are tax deductible and much appreciated.
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