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Welcome to the December edition of UNAA News!

Wrapping Up 2020

The 75th year of the United Nations brought us unprecedented circumstances. More than ever did we see a need for solidarity, connectivity and unison, and the UNAA strived to uphold this throughout. Although 2020 didn’t turn out as planned, as a community we worked together to continue sharing the UN’s values of dignity, peace and justice for all. So as 2020 comes to an end, we look back in reflection; we acknowledge the struggles and the hardships, and also the strength with which we have worked together to support one another as Australians, and global citizens. 

“They see the United Nations as a vehicle to make the world a better place. And they count on us to meet today’s tests. That responsibility lies above all with Member States."

Reception in Recognition of UN Day, Government House

On the 27th October, Government House hosted a reception in honour of UN Day and the 75th Anniversary of its founding. UNAA members; Louise Aubin (UNHCR Regional Representative and A/g Direction UN representatives in Australia), Dr Patricia Jenkings (UNAA Vice President) and Brian Gleeson (UNAA ACT President) contributed to this important event - discussing the role we must all play to create a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. Read more, here. 

As stated by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in his UN Day speech: 

'At its birth, the United Nations was a symbol of global unity. Today it is the epicentre. Our mission is more important than ever.’

Thank you to each State & Division

Each year, the UNAA delivers over 150 events across Australia to inform, inspire and engage Australians regarding the work, goals and values of the UN to create a fairer, safer and more just world. This year looked little different, with a few more webinars and online panels that usual.  Below are some of the key highlights from each State. 

Northern Territory 
International Women's Day
8th March 2020

New South Whales
Rotary Signing
Official signing of the Sydney Cove Rotary funding agreement for the UNAA NSW Sustainability Scholarship

South Australia 
Annual South Australia, Australia Day Parade. 

26th Jan 2020

Western Australia 
SDG Forum Series
Business Transformation in Achieving the SDGs at Ernst & Young, Perth.

International Day of Peace
Rotary announced two worthy Peace Award recipients. UNAAQ Global Citizenship school students participated while a UNAAQ Youth Voices for Peace representative presented slam poetry from our workshop on Peace and Climate Change.

Natasha Stott Despoja Appointed UN Committee Member to Elimination of Discrimination against Women

The former South Australian senator was elected to the UN's Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in November 2020. Ms Stott Despoja will be the first Australian member for 28 years. We are very proud to have her at the table contributing to the UN's efforts to eliminate discrimination against women. 

"It builds on Australia's global leadership in advancing women's rights and demonstrates Australia's commitment to eliminating discrimination against women and girls in Australia and globally."
Sustainable Development Program 2020

The UN SDGs are an ambitious shared framework of development priorities to reach by 2030. They aim to bring an end to extreme poverty, hunger, and inequality; act on climate change and environmental sustainability; improve access to quality health and education; promote prosperity and well-being for all people; whilst also encouraging good governance, peace, and security.

The UNAA is committed to the education, inspiration, and engagement of Australians around the SDGs and applies an SDGs focus to its over 150 events each year through our passionate teams and volunteers all across Australia. This year the UNAA promoted the SDGs at several major events. Highlights included keynote addresses at the National Community Engagement for Infrastructure Forum, the Canberra Urban Regional Futures Annual Forum; SDG panel discussions at Local Communities Services Association Annual Conference in Wollongong and the CQ University Festival of Change SDGs Panel Discussion in Rockhampton; and with a booth at the World Engineers Convention held in Melbourne.

Operations Update

As 2020 comes to a close, we would like extend our thanks, and provide an update on operations and personnel within our community.  

Since November 2020, the UNAA is now a solely volunteer based operational structure. Our volunteers will be located nationally and collaborating together with the Board to implement the requirements in a virtual manner. We are currently recruiting volunteers within the National Office within a range of roles and will be seeking to fill all identified positions in the new year. 

We will advise further updates in future newsletters in 2021, however please don’t hesitate to should you have any queries on the recruitment process.

We advise of the following Board member changes, both incoming and outgoing

Outgoing Members 
We would like to extend our deepest thanks to our outgoing members for their tireless efforts towards to the UNAA goals and objectives. 

  • Katring Fong Lim (Previous NT Executive Committee Member)
  • Danielle Santos (UN Youth Australia)
  • Donnell Davis (UNAA QLD)
  • Michael Henry (UNAA VIC)
  • Louisa Minnery (National Secretary)
  • Laura John (Young Professionals President)
Lachlan Hunter 
A special thank you to Lachlan. For over 5.5 years, Lachlan has been one of the driving forces within the UNAA National Office and has made a great contribution to the organisation. As National Executive Director (past 2.5 years), Lachlan has aided the organisation to deliver elements of the strategic plan. Prior to that, Lachlan was a leader within the ACT UNAA in both the Young Professional and state programmes. The UNAA is incredibly thankful to Lachlan. We wish him well on his future endeavours, in which we are certain he will be successful and impactful.

Incoming Members

We would also like to welcome our incoming members to the UNAA, although some have been with us for some time now! We look forward to welcoming them into our community, and introducing them to you all. 

  • Susan McHattie (National Secretary) 
  • Andrew Hewett (Director) 
  • Claire Moore (QLD President)
  • Kate Heelen (NT President)
  • Cassady Swinbourne (UN Youth Australia President)
  • Joel Lindsay (QLD President - Young Professionals) 

Please find out more about our new Board members here. 

National Partnerships Conference April, 2021



Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNAA had arranged a two-day Forum to bring together civil society, governments, business and UN leaders under the theme of building sustainable partnerships to progress the SDGs. Unfortunately, this significant event had to be postponed because of restrictions on large gatherings.  

With the ongoing support of all our partners, the event has now been redesigned to take place over three days in April and May next year. 

On 20 and 21 April 2021, the fully digital UN & Australia Sustainable Partnerships Forum will enable UNAA to bring global speakers and audiences together with current and future Australian SDG leaders. Plenary sessions, interactive breakout discussions and networking opportunities will promote dialogue, connections and ongoing collaboration.

On 4 May, we will build on the digital Forum by bringing prospective partners together in small group facilitated workshops designed to assess aligned interests and build the foundation for partnerships to promote Australia’s contribution to progressing the SDGs.

To be added to the mailing list, keep up to date with Forum details and for your chance to be part of these small group activation workshops, please contact UNAA members will access discounted registrations.  

UNAA acknowledges the valued support of our partners in delivering the 2021 UN & Australia Sustainable Partnerships Forum: Monash University, PwC Australia, University of Melbourne, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Melbourne Water, RMIT, Yarra Valley Water, SDGx, Wendy Brooks and Partners, Comacon and ISCA. 

For more information on our National Partnerships Forums, 
click here.

Looking Forward to 2021

Again, a huge thank you to everyone in the community that worked together to make this year a success, despite the circumstances. We wish you all a good, well deserved break over Christmas and the New Year, and looking forward to updating you on 2021.

Stay safe and enjoy!

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