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Welcome to the June / July 2021 edition of UNAA News!

The UN & Australian Sustainable Partnerships Forum
We are very pleased to share a copy of the Report and Resources Guide developed from the UN & Australia Sustainable Partnerships Forum delivered electronically on 20 and 21 April 2021.

The Report is designed to be a useful, ongoing resource which captures the important, challenging and very high-quality conversations held during the Forum and provides a comprehensive Resources Guide to information relating to Partnerships, the SDGs and their related thematic areas. Partnerships for the Goals: Discussions and Resources found here

Save the Date: 22 October 2021 Post-Forum Event

The UN & Australia Sustainable Partnerships Forum was created as a springboard for new partnerships and initiatives to progress the SDGs, particularly as we emerge from the global pandemic.

We would like to invite you all to join us at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on 22 October 2021 for an event to build on the momentum of the Forum.

UNAA Victoria and NSW are now partnering with Spark Strategy, an impact led advisory firm and B Corp, to develop a major new SDG resource. This will be launched at the October event and at events run by UNAA State Divisions.

We look forward to providing more detail soon.

June Goal of the Month
Climate Action, Life Under Water, Life on Land

Each month the United Nations focus on one major Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). June's SDGs are 13 Climate Action, 14 Life under Water and 15 Life on Land.

There has never been a more urgent need to revive damaged ecosystems than now, according to the UN Environment Programme who will launch the Decade of Ecosystem Restoration this month. In June, Australia and the world marked several days, events and campaigns relating to restoration and conservation of our natural environment. 

“Science tells us these next 10 years are our final chance to avert a climate catastrophe, turn back the deadly tide of pollution and end species loss.”
From UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for World Environment Day 2021

To check out all the events, all the incredible actions being taken around the globe, as well as interactive eBooks, games and opportunities to get involved, visit UNEP's website here

'Waste Not' Campaign

World Environment Day is for encouraging worldwide awareness and action to protect our environment due to rising pollution levels and climate change. It is observed on June 5 every year.

A group of keen volunteers from the UNAA South Australia and Slow Food South Australia came together and cooked meals for Foodbank to distribute to those in need. A huge team effort, this was an important community outreach event and contributed to Foodbank South Australia’s crucial food relief support for vulnerable people in the community. Foodbank supplied rescued food and Ben Sharp from the Institute generously provided the commercial kitchen cooking facilities.

After a quick coffee and introduction, our volunteers donned aprons and were briefed by well-known chefs Emma McCaskill and Ben Sharp.

Emma’s team chopped onions, garlic and vegetables, while also pan cooking a fragrant spice mix of ginger, turmeric, fennel and paprika – ingredients for their lentil and potato stew with pickled carrots. 

Ben’s team set to work peeling potatoes and chopping celery for their Spanish style snapper with smoked paprika, fennel seeds and tomatoes.

Our teams enjoyed working together for this worthy cause and were happy to pitch in and help with whatever needed doing. An enticing aroma from mounds of chopped vegetables, cooked lentils and baked snapper wafted through the kitchens and transformed into two amazing dishes. Once the cooking was completed, meals were portioned into containers and wheeled on large trolleys into the cool room, awaiting distribution – we cooked 200 meals.

Thank you to everyone who helped on the day and supported this wonderful, collaborative initiative.

Australian Migrant Resource Centre

Congratulations to those who received certificates for completing the Basic Skills in the Food Industry Training! The training was initiated and sponsored the UNAA SA Division in partnership with the Adelaide Institute of Hospitality and the Ausrtalian Migrant Resource Centre (AMRC). Master Chef Cheong Liew visited the AMRC to present certificates of participation to youth who completed the Basic Skills in the Food Industry Training in January 2021.

The training was initiated and sponsored by the UNAA SA Division in partnership with the Adelaide Institute of Hospitality and the AMRC. Both Chef Cheong and Chef Bhu Chung delighted the audience by recollecting their migrant success stories. There was agreement that the contribution migrants make to Australia is not just to food but to all walks of life. Thank you for welcoming young new Australians to the diversity of Australian cuisine.

Watch the video here
Youth Voice For Peace 

Forty five enthusiastic students gathered at Craigslea State High School on Wednesday 25th June to participate in this year’s Youth Voice for Peace event, conducted by the UNAAQ Branch, Just Peace QLD, and Earth Charter. Students at Craigslea were joined by Year 6 students from Aspley State Primary School for the day’s activities.

In the morning the students listened to some short presentations from Joel Lindsay on the UNAA and Earth Charter, and on three of the SDGs by Jessica Pinder on Climate Action, Walid Rahman on Peace and Security, and by Kiana Charlton on Care for Land.

Students then divided into five workshops to collectively develop their visions and responses to these three goals through Visual Art, Poetry, Video making, Computer game making, and Engineering Solutions.  Local creative artists and workers volunteered their time to lead each of these workshops.  At the end of the day students from each workshop presented their results to the whole group.  The day was completed by short summaries from the President of UNAAQ, Claire Moore, and the Just Peace committee member Annette Brownlie.

The teachers who were involved at Craigslea and Aspley were both very enthusiastic and generous of their time in making the day such a success – the results of the five workshops will be presented in a variety of forums, including at each school, and at the annual Brisbane Peace Lecture in September.

Ross Gwyther. June 2021

Peacekeepers Ceremony 2021

The UN blue helmet is a symbol of hope and peace to millions of people. Australia boasts a proud history of serving in peace operations, with more than 65,000 personnel serving in over 30 countries.

On 29 May 2021, the UNAAQ hosted the annual Peacekeepers Ceremony to honour the personnel who have served and sacrificed their lives in the global effort to build and restore peace. Claire Moore, President of UNAAQ, welcomed over 70 guests including representatives from local government including the Brisbane Lord Mayor and Members of Parliament from State and Federal Government. 

Together, dignitaries, the Australian Peacekeeper and Peacemaker Veterans' Association and members of local community groups expressed their appreciation and thanked peacekeepers for their work to liberate countries from places of conflict.

Veronica Henderson, president of the Brisbane Bougainville Community Group, reflected on the history of Bougainville and their call for peace during a time of conflict. In 1994 an Australian-led peacekeeping force was established during the Bougainville Civil War, to resolve the conflict between the Papua New Guinea government and the Bougainville Revolutionary Army. The peacemaking process was a success.

“Sending in Peacekeepers without guns was a risk but broke through the trust issues. The replacement of guns for guitars, song and dance tapped into our culture... it helped form a Kingship of culture to culture, sharing breath, handshakes, hugs, and tears, the spirit of cultures connected,” she said.

However, keeping the peace is more dangerous and challenging than ever. More than 3,900 UN peacekeepers have lost their lives while serving under the UN flag, including 102 last year. We are forever in debt to the service of these individuals, and it is vital we recognise the work of peacekeepers who risk their lives each day in the pursuit of peace.

UNAAQ thanks all attendees who participated in the 2021 Brisbane Peacekeepers Ceremony. Together we appreciate and remember the forgotten frontline soldiers who put their lives on the line for those who are denied the most basic human rights.

UN Diploma Program

UNAA NSW commenced the UNAA NSW UN Diploma Program in partnership with William Business College three years which has proved most successful with over 118 graduates.

Students learn about the United Nations, its history, and affairs, and gain transferable skills (including project management and conflict resolution) relevant to any career pathway. Taught by experienced lecturers including UN Alumni, this is an opportunity not to miss. 

Our next online semester will commence on 9 July 2021. 

For more information and to register please visit

SDGs in Action Forum - Learn, Connect and Create Partnerships

Are you a leader who is passionate about creating a positive impact in your organisation and community? Join the Sustainable Development Goals In Action Forum in person on 20th July 2021.

The Forum will showcase ideas from across the world stage and bring together a range of stakeholders from government, industry, academia, and NGOs. You’ll be a part of a Think Tank of cross-sector attendees from NGOs, government, and corporate who have a mutual interest in achieving specific goals (from People, Planet, and Prosperity themes). 

Hear from inspiring leaders including:
  • Louise Herron: Chief Executive Officer, Sydney Opera House
  • Hon. Robert Stokes MP: Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, NSW Government
  • Dr Sunny Oliver-Bennetts: Community Engagement Leader, ARUP
  • Brianna Casey: Chief Executive Officer, Foodbank
  • Nava Subramaniam: Deputy Dean, Research and Innovation, RMIT University

The Forum will be run by UNAA NSW, the Public Sector Network, and supported by and held at Western Sydney University, Centre for Western Sydney, at their innovative Parramatta's City Campus.

See the agenda and register. 

National Reconciliation Week

On June 4th saw the President, Human Rights Committee, and members attend a joint UNAA WA-Perth Rotary Club luncheon event at the Parmelia Hilton Hotel to mark the National Reconciliation Week. We were treated to a moving and inspiring talk on “Two Cultures, One Story” by the esteemed Dr Robert Francis Isaacs, the recipient of numerous awards including the Member of the Order of Australia (AM), West Australian of the Year and Order of Australia Medal.

An Aboriginal Elder from the Bibilmum Noongar language group, Robert spoke of his birth and being a member of the Stolen Generation, as well as his subsequent journey to find and reconnect with his parents, community and culture. He shared how this experience led him to dedicating his life to breaking down cultural barriers and improving the lives of those who are disadvantaged. The President of the UNAAWA, Dr Sandy Chong, gave thanks to Dr Robert Isaacs at the end of his talk for all that he has done for our state and its people.

She noted that the National Reconciliation Week is about more than just raising awareness and knowledge. It is about taking action; taking what we have learned about the tragic impact of colonisation on First Nations communities and families, and putting it into effect so as to bravely bridge the gaps that still remain in this nation of ours.

She thanked him for sharing his inspiring story, his experience and wisdom with us, and for giving us hope. His talk reminded us that  it is possible to make a difference and hope that we will all learn from his journey and continue his legacy for many years to come.

World Refugee Day
Together we Heal, Learn and Shine 

June 20 was International World Refugee Day. It is an international day designated by the United Nations to honour refugees around the globe. It celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. World Refugee Day is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for their plight and to recognise their resilience in rebuilding their lives. 

Please read the High Commissioner's for Refugees Filippo Grandi’s message on World Refugee Day here
Erika Feller 
UNAA Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees
Congratulations to UNAA Goodwill Ambassador for Refugees, Erika Feller, on receiving an Order of Australia in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours.

Erika was acknowledged for her distinguished service to the international community, to the recognition and protection of human rights, and to refugee law -

After a long and effective legal and diplomatic career, Erika served as UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner (Protection) from 2006 to 2013. Erika is now Professorial Fellow, Melbourne School of Government.

You can read more about Erika and UNAA's other Goodwill Ambassadors here

UNAA Board Update

The National Board welcomes new volunteers who will be working with us to staff our National Office and activate our national networks.

  • Esra Akcamci, Governance and Policy Coordinator will support the work of the National Board
  • James Puckridge and Visna Hemachandra, Membership and Operations Coordinators are keeping on top of our engagement with Divisions and stakeholders.
  • Bree Wellington, Academic Coordinator will support the Academic Network membership and program.
  • Erin Dickson, Head of Communications will be reviewing our Communications Strategy and leading implementation, working with Dominica Williamson our Communications Coordinator.

Roles to support our Alumni and Parliamentary Friends Networks and Public Policy Committee are being finalised now.

We also extend our appreciation to Samantha O’Shaughnessy, who spent 6 months with us working to establish our volunteer National Office.

If you expressed interest in working with us last year we will be in touch soon to thank you, invite you to stay in touch with us and introduce you to opportunities in your local division.

The UNAA is a Not-for-profit charity and relies on donations to support our events and continued efforts. All donations are tax deductible and much appreciated.
To donate please click here.
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