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Welcome to the November / December 2021 edition of UNAA News!

December SDG of the Month
Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies 

Conflict, insecurity, weak institutions and limited access to justice remain a great threat to sustainable development. With the pandemic affecting each and every one of us in one way or another, it is now more important than ever to promote and uphold these disciplines, not only reflected in value but in practice.


The UNAA is constantly striving to support peace, justice and strong institutions in the communities in which we work. 

As 2021 comes to a close, we would like to thank all of you who have participated in, and contributed to, our many events, webinars, fundraisers, partnerships and other activities. Your engagement is truly a testament to our common goal of contributing to a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season and we can't wait to share what is in store for next year. For now, please enjoy our final-wrap up of the activities that have taken place across Australia in November and December, and some things that are to come for 2022!

UNAA Board Updates

The National Board has welcomed two new directors. Sharyn McNeill  joins us as National Treasurer. And Michael Donaghue-Evans joins us from UN Youth. We extend hearty appreciation to Georgina Ryan for her contribution to the board over the last 12 months and wish her well in her future endeavours.

We are currently consulting with our Members to define a Wellbeing Behaviours Policy, Procedure and Toolkit. This policy framework reiterates our commitment to human rights, and incorporates our UN values – integrity, professionalism and respect for diversity, promotes the wellbeing of all people within our organisation and defines and describes actions and consequences for unwelcome and illegal behaviour.

The Public Policy Committee is finalising position statements addressing Australia’s role in the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change, a specific paper on Climate Change and the Pacific and Feminist Foreign Policy. Draft statements will be considered by our Members for finalisation in 2022. If you are interested in contributing please contact

Call for Volunteers 

We will be calling for expressions of interest to volunteer with the National Office in 2022 in a range of roles including:

  • Operations and Membership Coordinator – managing our correspondence, membership, events calendar, and coordination across our Members.
  • Volunteer Coordinator – supporting our volunteer recruitment and engagement
  • Governance and Policy Coordinator – working with the National Secretary to generate board agendas, papers and minutes
  • Compliance Coordinator – working with the National Secretary to ensure we meet our compliance requirements.

If you are interested in any of these roles or know someone who might be, please drop us a line to with the role title in the subject line and a copy of your CV.

Human Rights Day 
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December — the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). "The UDHR is a milestone document, which proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being - regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Available in more than 500 languages, it is the most translated document in the world."

2021's Human Rights Day theme is 'reducing inequalities, advancing human rights'. Equality, inclusion and non-discrimination, in other words - a human rights-based approach to development  - is the best way to reduce inequalities and resume our path towards realising the 2030 Agenda. UNAA aims to promote these goals in all the work that we do. 

The UN SDGs Handbook Launch

UNAA Victoria

More than 350 people registered to attend the launch of the new SDGs Handbook produced by UNAA Victoria with partners, Spark Strategy, as a flow on from the 2021 Sustainable Partnership Forum in April.

Attendees gained access to a fantastic discussion between panellists:

  • Anna Yanatchkova, Acting Head of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging, Sydney Opera House
  • Mindy Leow, Head of Community Building, B Lab Australia & New Zealand
  • Matthew Brennan, Head of Sustainability, Transurban
  • Catherine Brown, CEO, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
  • Kiam Yoong, Senior Manager Environmental Sustainability, Zoos Victoria

The handbook has been designed to provide practical advice, tips and case studies for Australian organisations seeking to begin aligning to the SDGs or those who may be seeking to change the focus of their previous work with the Goals.

Access your copy of the Handbook HERE

What's coming up? 

Climate Change Conference Outcome Event

Colleagues and guests are cordially invited to virtually join UNAA ACT's last event on the 16 December, 2021 to hear Honorary Professor Howard Bamsey's reflections on the UN Climate Change Conference and its context, focusing on Australia’s contribution.

At the conclusion of COP26, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that “The outcome of COP26 is a compromise. It reflects the interests, the contradictions and the state of political will in the world today. It is an important step, but it is not enough”. The talk will explore Australia's role in this and address the important question, "How will Australia manage compromise and contradiction to rise to the challenge."

In contrast to decades of volatility and chaos in domestic policy, Australia’s international positioning has been generally consistent and constructive. Several of the key elements of the Paris Agreement (2015) architecture reflect Australian priorities, especially universal participation in mitigation of emissions. We look forward to discussing 

Details below; 
Event time and date: 18:30 - 19:30, Thursday 16 December
Event format: Online via zoom, link to be emailed separately 
Registration link:

Howard Bamsey is Chair of the Global Water Partnership and Honorary Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University. He is a member of the boards of the Climate Policy Initiative and Climate Works Australia.

UNAA South Australia 

UNAA SA is pleased to announce the details of the 2022 Adelaide International Women's Day Breakfast (IWD), which will be held in person and online at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Friday, 11 March 2022.

We are proud and excited to be 
celebrating 30 years of hosting the IWD event in Adelaide and look forward to sharing more exciting news with you in the weeks to come.
For now, please save the date and the details below:
Friday, 11 March 2022
Adelaide Convention Centre
$55 ($20 for virtual ticket)
Tickets go on sale at 10am on Wednesday, 9 February 2022 via Humanitix
What's been? 

UNAA Western Australia's Annual General Meeting 2021

The UNAAWA's Annual General Meeting (AGM) was held on 1 October at the Claisebrook Lotteries House Association. The AGM was attended by members of the UNAAWA.

President of UNAAWA Dr. Sandy Chong chaired the meeting, outlining the challenges that were faced by the UNAAWA during the past year and the steps which were taken to overcome them. The previous structures of engagement with members, members retention and fundraising had to change to accommodate shifts as a result of COVID-19. Face-to-face meetings have been replaced by online platforms and extra care has been exercised to check in with volunteers who are most vulnerable, lost access to employment, and subjected to discrimination.

Despite its initial challenges, the UNAAWA has taken advantage of opportunities presented by inviting guest speakers from other states and countries to address pressing issues relating to health and wellbeing, employment, indigenous affairs, domestic violence against women and children.

Membership and funding have bounced back to pre-COVID numbers as a result of overwhelming support from local communities and the state government. The rise in awareness for sustainability and compassion for the disadvantaged has also seen an increase of volunteerism and donations. Prominent partnerships have also been formed the past 12 months with key stakeholders such as West Coast Eagles, Ernst and Young, Rotary Club of Perth, Special Olympics Australia, Noongar Chamber of Commerce and the French Chamber of Commerce in WA.

Nominees of the Executive Committee were declared elected unopposed, and the proceedings ended with light refreshments and networking sessions for UNAAWA members.

Members and Elected Executive Committee Members at the UNAAWA AGM 2021.

Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!

The UNAA ACT was proud to host Honorary Associate Professor Sally Moyle at a virtual event to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Sally spoke to the need to build more positive relations of power if we are to eliminate violence, and the role of intersectional gender equality in that endeavour.
The event was virtually attended by representatives of Canberra's diplomatic community, as well as members of UNAA ACT and other community organisations. The presentation was a powerful reminder of the incidence of violence against women, the role of men as perpetrators, the need for a stronger focus on accurate and timely reporting, support in the avoidance of retaliation, and the importance of strong policies and a regulatory framework.
Sally concluded her remarks by emphasising the need to press firmly and consistently for changes in the way we govern, engage, work together, live together. We need to engage differently with power adding that it actually starts with each of us. As nations and as individuals, it starts with interrogating those feelings of defensiveness. Make a decision too choose kindness. Choose to trust.

This year’s theme for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women was “Orange the World: End Violence Against Women Now!”. The colour orange represents a brighter future, free from violence against women and girls, as a unifying theme running through all the global activities of the UNiTE Campaign.

The SDGs Champions Awards and Dr Doug Everingham Lecture

UNAA Queensland

UNAA Queensland celebrated UN Day with a joint event: the annual SDG Champions Awards and a Lecture on Doug Everingham.

The SDG Champions Awards recognise the work and commitment to the SDG agenda by local people and organisations. Each year, the division honours nominees from the five key pillars of the SDG Agenda; People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Justice and Partnerships. Over the years, the extraordinary contributions to the wellbeing of local community and understanding of the values of the 2030 agenda continue to inspire and reinforce the strength of the message to ‘leave no one behind'.

The SDG 2021 Champions:
  • People: Dean Parkin, a Quandamooka man from Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island)for his ongoing work around the development of the Uluṟu Statement From the Heart
  • Planet: Lyndon Schneiders, former National Director of the Wilderness Society and campaigner for environmental justice
  • Prosperity: Professor Susan Harris Rimmer, Director of the Griffith University Policy Innovation Hub
  • Peace and Justice: Louise Erbacher, teacher and peace activist, and Valerie Joy, long time Womens' International League for Peace and Freedom activist
  • Partnerships: Chris Knight, Soroptimist and community advocate.
Read more about the SDG Champions here
The second part of the event was the Lecture on Dr Doug Everingham. Everingham was a Whitlam Government Minister and long term MP In Central Queensland, as well as a member of UNAA. This year’s Oration presenter, Leanne Smith describes him as a pioneer, man of compassion, intellectual and internationalist. As the Director of the Whitlam Institute, she used archived correspondence to illustrate the warm relationship between Whitlam and Everingham, as she described their shared commitment to developing Australia’s place in the world. Leanne focused on the recent Secretary General’s Report to the UN General Assembly, Our Common Agenda, and the challenges to our world identified in the Call to Action, "stop making excuses, start making changes". She referred to the Whitlam Institute research on Australia’s response to the SDG’s and the need for a strong understanding that we can and must do better. 
To access the lecture, visit here

UN Day 
UNAA Western Australia

On the 24 October 2021, UNAA WA celebrated their 76th anniversary at the Boola Bardip, WA Museum of Culture, Perth. The evening also celebrated the winners and finalists of annual UN Day Awards.

Over 250 distinguished guests attended with the highest number of guests in the history of UNAA WA. Leaders of WA’s business, cultural communities, public and education sectors, and volunteers from at least 50 cultural backgrounds attended the celebration. Consuls General representing Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Italy, India, Malaysia, USA, and Vietnam were there to give their warm support. State Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Former Minister of Environment and Heritage, Members of Parliament and former UN Staffs also attended to demonstrate solidarity in the support for multilateralism and global cooperation.

President of UNAA WA, Dr Sandy Chong, gave opening remarks for the evening where she congratulated the UN across the world for successfully entering its 76th year, emphasising the need to progress human rights, gender equality, environment and social impact.
“It is not good enough that poverty still exists in our abundant world where children are starving, and the young are not receiving an education in different parts of the world. We need to ensure that people of all ages are safe and that everyone receives equal access to education and economic empowerment in the post-pandemic world.” - Dr Sandy Chong

A virtual address was given by Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) from Geneva – highlighting the continuing quest for a kinder and more generous world to eradicate hunger, inequality and safety for the young. He concluded by thanking the UNAAWA for their continuing support and active participation.
This was followed by a keynote address from Sandy Anghie, Deputy Lord Mayor for City of Perth who shared her own personal experiences and professional joy in building a sustainable city for the community. She emphasised that multiculturalism, integrity, peace and harmony were integral values for a better world. The speech given by Parris Laurie, West Coast Eagles AFLW Best Club Person 2021 highlighted the importance of community collaboration and support to reduce inequality and achieve gender parity by 2030.

The formal proceedings ended with sumptuous canapés and engaging exchange between guests and dignitaries about the importance of international peace, multiculturalism, and community solidarity for a strong recovery ahead. We look forward to celebrating this significant milestone in 2022.

Guests and Organising Committee Members at the 76th United Nations Day Celebration, WA Museum of Culture.

Watch the UN Day address by Gary Quinlan AO

The UNAA ACT division was privileged to have Gary Quinlan AO give the annual UN Day address, on the theme of Australia's Work in the United Nations, to a large audience of members. The speech was extremely well received, presented some frank assessments on Australia's role, the impact of UN effectiveness and stressed the critical role it played in humanitarian issues. A telling statistic shared by Gary was that the UN feeds 90 million people a day in 90 countries. Click here to view the event recording.

Gary Quinlan, AO most recently served as the Australian Ambassador to Indonesia from 2018 to 2021. He has previously served as High Commissioner to Singapore and as the Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations, including two terms as President of the United Nations Security Council.

UNAA Young Professionals' 2021 Wrap-Up

The UNAA Young Professionals (UNAA YP) is a national network of young volunteers across Australia, working to inform, inspire, and engage the next generation of Australia’s leaders supporting the work and values of the UNAA and UN. In 2021, the UNAA YP are celebrating their 10th anniversary, having launched in Sydney on UN Day, 24 October 2011.
In 2021 the QLD Young Professionals hosted a total of 16 in-person events. Notably, Yoga for Peace raised over $1,000 for the work of the Romero Centre supporting refugees. They hosted networking and expert panel discussions on topics including innovation for sustainable development, the refugee crisis, designing sustainable communities, media and information literacy, climate action and human rights. They also worked closely with the UNAA QLD in the Human Rights Day event, profiled earlier in this newsletter.

These events were made possible through partnerships including the State Library of Queensland, Griffith University, the University of Queensland, St John's Cathedral, Advance Queensland, the Urban Design Alliance and King & Wood Mallesons.

UNAAYP Queensland's 'Innovation for Sustainable Development' event.
In November, the NSW Young Professionals hosted a national online event discussing the impact of COVID-19 on women and girls, with a focus on discrimination and violence. They partnered with Maha Abdo OAM, CEO of Muslim Women Australia, Michael Perusco, CEO of Berry Street, and Simone Clarke, CEO of UN Women Australia to discuss the impact of the pandemic on women and girls and understand what we can all do to help. 

In December, Neesha Seth, President of the WA Young Professionals provided the opening plenary for AISEC Australia's first Youth Speak Forum in WA. The theme was SDG 10; reducing inequality, and they discussed the impact of COVID-19 on mental health, refugee issues and gender equality. Over 60 participants across Australia and globally joined and a number of organisations, including Red Cross Australia and Man Up, were partners for the event. This forum gave young people a platform to voice their opinion on what matters to them and learn how to better take action to contribute to a better world.

AIESEC was founded in 1948 on the principal of being run by youth for youth. They are a global network, and it is exciting for the UNAA Young Professionals to continue to engage in work we are so aligned with. Importantly, run by young leaders for young leaders.
The World In Faces 
Aboriginal man
Pormpuraaw, Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York, Australia

The World In Faces exhibits portraits of Indigenous people from around the world. It aims to honour their diverse cultures, traditions, environments and identities and "the right to self determination, determination by determining their own policies and strategies with respect to their cultural heritage and traditional systems", as enshrined in many of the articles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). 

We encourage you to check out the beautiful images from around the world here
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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