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Welcome to the September / October 2021 edition of UNAA News!

UN Day
A Message from their
Excellencies
The Governor General and Mrs. Hurley

 
UN Day message from our Patron
Our Patron, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) with Mrs Hurley recorded a special message in celebration of UN Day 2021.
 
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.
 
There is no other global organization with the legitimacy, convening power and normative impact of the United Nations. Today, the urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfil the promise of the nations united, has rarely been greater.
 
24 October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948. In 1971, the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the day be observed by Member States as a public holiday.


At General Assembly 76 Antonio Guterres raised a call to arms for the nations of the world to work together to build peace, address climate change, reduce inequality between rich and poor within countries and between countries, ensure equality for women, eliminate the digital divide and bring young people into a seat at the table.

'Our Common Agenda', in the UN response to global consultations during its 75th anniversary, "seeks to ensure that the UN is fit for a new era, by strengthening global governance, focusing on the future and renewing the social contract."
 
Watch the full video here.

Giant eco-friendly artwork created to inspire 

Swiss artist Saype designed a 11,000 square metre ‘ephemeral fresco’ to set the stage at UN Headquarters in New York welcoming world leaders for the General Assembly 76. It shows two children building the world of the future using origami, highlighting the role that children have in the participation of designing our world. More here

Mr. Guterres said he was hopeful that world leaders will take inspiration from Saype’s art to consider how “we can look beyond our immediate surroundings, while respecting nature and our planet."
 
October SDG of the Month

Each month the United Nations focus on a major Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). October's SDGs are 1: No Poverty, and 2: Zero Hunger. 

Globally, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36 per cent in 1990 to 10 per cent in 2015. But more than 700 million people, or 10 per cent of the world population, still live in extreme poverty today, struggling to fulfil the most basic needs. Read more here.

Australia is on track to achieve just two out of the 17 SDGs by 2030 – No Poverty, and Good Health and Wellbeing, where Australia is currently ranking 38th and 2nd globally. Read more here

UNAA Board Updates

Our Annual Report for 2020-21 is now published on our website, see hereIt was a challenging year for our organisation, members and partners. We appreciate everyone who continued to support our programs through governing roles, volunteering, speaking, hosting and joining. We are surprised and pleased with how much we achieved together, and enthusiastic about our future work together.

We would like to thank Erin Dickson for her work leading our Communications over the last six months. Unfortunately, Erin’s workload on the frontline of the pandemic has called her away at this time, and we wish her all the very best for her future endeavours.
 
At our Annual General Meeting on 11 October we bid farewell and thank you to our outgoing Treasurer Liesel Meinecke. Liesel provided confident leadership of our finances over two and a half years, and has strengthened our arrangements and processes in that time, and we thank her.

The National President followed up our successful UN & Australia Partnerships Forum with correspondence to all Members and Senators in the Australian Parliament sharing the Forum Communique and Report. He subsequently met with policy staff in the offices of Senator the Hon Zed Seselja, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator Penny Wong, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Christina Keneally, Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and directly with Zali Stegall MP for Warringah, Senator Janet Rice, Greens spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Whip, and Senator Mehreen Faruqi Greens spokesperson for Education, Housing, Industry, Anti-racism, Animal Welfare, International Aid and Development, and Employment and Workplace Relations and UNAA member Terri Butler, Shadow Minister for Environment and Water  to explore the value of the SDGs as a blueprint for recovery internationally and in Australia.

The Public Policy Committee have finalised a research paper prepared by intern, Senuri Perera, through the Australian National Internships Program. The UN’s Importance to Australia and the World in an Era of COVID-19 and Beyond (check our social media channels for the report's release soon) provides and excellent overview of the UN and our role within it, a reflection on the drivers that align our national interests with working multilaterally, and recommendations for the future. Themes from the paper will be incorporated in the Committee’s review, on behalf of the National Board, of our policy position statements in preparation for the next Federal election. We hope the position statements provide a platform for members to engage with their local candidates on the value they place on Australia’s participation in the United Nations.

Our Climate Change Collaboration Program is defining three projects that will enable companies, communities and governments to work together to achieve our net zero targets, and is contributing to an update of our Climate Change Position Statement.

UN Day
UNAA ACT
25 October, 6:15pm

 

Australia’s work in the UN, with Guest Speaker Mr. Gary Quinlan

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us in the most powerful way that we are closely interconnected, and only by working together and in solidarity can we build resilience against future pandemics and other global challenges.

We invite you to join the UNAA ACT on Monday night 25 October, 18:15 to hear from Mr Gary Quinlan AO and explore the role of the UN, its reform and the importance of Australia’s position in fostering its objectives. Mr Quinlan was the Australian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York from 2009 until January 2015, and Australian Representative on the United Nations Security Council 2013-2014.

 
See information and tickets here.

UN Day Gala Evening 
UNAA WA
22 October 

The evening will celebrate 76 Years of the United Nations, highlighting over seven decades of global collaboration to promote peace, security, human rights, development and our joint efforts to conquer some of the most pressing challenges facing our world.

We will be joined by eminent international guests, as well as distinguished state government officials, UN Day award winners, event partners, UNAA WA members, and members of the general public in our event held at Museum of Culture in Northbridge.

Recognising the local achievements of the community that work hard to create a safer, more just, and sustainable world for all, individuals, organisations and schools from across the state nominations for the UN Day Awards in the following categories:

  • Human Rights
  • Education
  • Environment
  • Gender Equality

See information and tickets here

UN Day Event 
UNAA NT

UNAANT UN Day will be holding an event, hosted by the Territory Administrator. Keep an eye out on our social media channels (see footnotes) for more information to come in early in November!

Launch of the New SDGs Handbook

UNAA VIC
9 November, 11:30am-1pm

We are thrilled to announce that it is almost time to launch our practical handbook to help organisations align to the SDGs. This guide has been written with our partners, Spark Strategy, as a flow on from our Sustainable Partnership Forum in April.

More than 20 businesses, government authorities, universities and community sector organisations have been interviewed, with all providing tips and advice to help organisations wanting to get started and those looking to build on what they have done so far. 

We'll be launching the paper through an expert panel event, with speakers to be announced very soon.

Save the date for the Webinar/ Panel Discussion - November 9, 11:30am - 1pm AEST. 

Register here.

International Day of Peace 
UNAA QLD


International Day of Peace (IDP), 21 September, is always an important day for the UNNAQ. This year, there was a special 'joy,’ as we celebrated the extraordinary performance of two of our members, Teresa and Augnes Joy, who set an official world record by singing the world’s 195 National Anthems in 100 languages over several hours in St John's Cathedral.

This was a family contribution, as their parents had worked with them to coordinate and plan the event with special support from our past President, Clem Campbell. Teresa and Augnes dedicated their talent and strength in their Salute the Nations contribution, to acknowledge the need for peace and the role of the United Nations. There was significant media interest locally and from India and we are sure this a record which will not be broken!

St John’s Cathedral also welcomed the IDP lecture that evening, a special event involving our Peace and Security team. This year retired Admiral Chris Barrie concentrated on the two major threats facing Australia today; the threats of nuclear war, and the threat of climate catastrophe. He encouraged the activism and involvement of young people and the need for them challenge the leadership of the past.

Retired Australian Army Major, Cameron Leckie, introduced the speaker by discussing his personal 24 years of military service and his reflection on the government decisions on deployment. 

Each year, The Rotary Peace Centre at University of Queensland presents Local Agents of Peace Awards at the lecture. Our Vice President, Annette Brownlee, a key member of the organising committee of IDP, and involved across the sector for many years, was one of the awardees this year, alongside Maggie Pistorius. 

Our thanks to the wonderful St Johns Community, with Dean Peter Catt, the Union Choir, and the Soroptimists (celebrating their centenary) for their catering all day.

UNAAQ is concluding an MOU with Hurtfulness, which practises yoga, meditation and well being. Thank you Dr. Patricia Jenkins from NSW who introduced us to a similar relationship in UNAA NSW. Our first shared event was International Day of Peace in Toowoomba in early October, alongside the wonderful Pure Land Buddhist Learning College, we celebrated peace in beautiful Laurel Bank Park....dancers, music laughter, and UN flags in the glorious gardens reinforced the real message of peace.
 

International Day of Peace at Windaroo Peace Park 
UNAA QLD

Another QLD celebration for International Day of Peace was at Windaroo Peace Park where UNAAQ and local Soroptimists gathered at the Peacekeepers Memorial. Our Past President, and Soroptimist, Donnell Davis welcomed local councillors, families and friends as a beautiful peace sculpture by artist George Virine was presented to Logan Council by his daughter Galila Arthur.

This event focused on the messages in the Secretary General’s 2021 message which called for the world to unite and recognise the only future relies on genuine peace. The retired peacekeeper, Bob Wiley, dedicated many years to develop this park and care for it watched from his home, as we sang the Peace Anthem.

Raising Peace Festival
UNAA NSW

The Raising Peace Festival was held online from 16-26 September 2021 as part of International Day of Peace on September 21.
 
37 events were held by over 30 organisations working for peace in Australia. Raising Peace explored the significance peace has to First Nations people, women, youth, refugees and the environment. It looked at the different ways we define and understand peace, from the absence of war to peacekeeping, peace-building and peacemaking


UN Peace Action Webinar
UNAA NSW

The webinar was presented by UNAA NSW Vice President (Ops), Major General (Retired) Tim Ford AO, who was previously a UN Head of Mission and Military Advisor in UN Peacekeeping. It covered a range of topics, including the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Political and Peace-building Affairs.
 
We also held a post-webinar activity on youth and peace – the purpose of which was to interact with the online platform Padlet and answer the question “How can young people contribute to the UN and its role ‘to maintain international peace and security’?”. Discussions in the breakout rooms involved a diverse input of opinions and experiences.
 
If you have any further ideas on this topic, please contact fergus.ewington@unaa.org.au

Securing WA's Food Future: Are We Ready for 2030?
UNAA WA

 


Guest speakers and panellists at the Independent Summit Dialogue for the 2021 UN Food System Summit in Perth, Western Australia.

The UNAA WA, together with Sustain: The Australian Food Network, held WA's only Independent Summit Dialogue for the 2021 UN Food System Summit, at Murdoch CBD Space in Perth.

Josh McGuire delivered a powerful Welcome to Country, treating the audience to beautiful song as well as highlighting the role of Traditional Knowledge in healing Country and securing our food future. President of UNAA WA, Dr Sandy Chong, followed with a motivating address highlighting the interconnectedness of all 17 SDGs, and how food systems are inextricably linked to each and every SDG.

Alan Beattie, CEO of Noongar Land Enterprise Group, delivered an insightful keynote on the state of Australia’s native produce industry. The report was commissioned by Food Innovation Australia, this event marked the first public preview of the findings. Alan spoke to the growing bush food market, “valued at $20-50 million per annum”, and the need to grow First Nations representation – which currently sits at only “1-2% participation rate by value”. Greater protections are required to safeguard Traditional Knowledge and avoid further exploitation and appropriation occurring in the food system sectors.

Themes from the keynote trickled into the panel discussion, with speakers discussing how elevating First Nations voices, different agricultural methods, and educating our young people can help transform our food system by 2030.
 
The panel discussion was led by Chair of UNAA WA SDG Forum Lily Jovic and the speakers included: Professor Stephen van Leeuwen (Indigenous Chair of Biodiversity and Environmental Science at Curtin University), Marissa Verma (Managing Director of Bindi Bindi Dreaming), Meena Srinivasan (Year 8 student at Perth Modern School) and Jeff Pow (Regenerative Farmer at Southampton Homestead).
 
Four breakout discussion groups were gathered around the four pillars of food security – availability, accessibility, utilisation, stability. The multi-stakeholder groups were made up of 10 people from all corners of the local food system.

A full report will be released in the coming weeks, detailing they key outcomes from these facilitated discussions.

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.
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