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Welcome to the July/August 2022 edition of UNAA News

Welcome to the third edition of UNAA news for 2022. 

Focus on Sustainable Development Goals during the Federal Election

Across April and May the UNAA focused attention on the Sustainable Development Goals. We supported our members to promote the goals as a Blueprint for domestic and international policy. We highlighted the SDGs in our social media channels, built a toolkit with a webinar for members, and profiled the leading research of Professor Robert Hales of Griffith University. See the opinion piece prepared by Chair of our Public Policy Committee Andrew Hewett here and and detailed analysis of party policies in our webinar. We are continuing to promote the goals and provide information and support to elected members and senators.

SDG in Focus: Life Below Water

Our SDG14 reading list: Life Below Water explains the importance of the ocean and the critical role the ocean plays in our lives, from protecting our planet to providing jobs. The books will take you on underwater journeys and introduce you to many unique sea creatures while helping you to understand what problems affect our ocean’s health and what we can all do to help protect the ocean.  

More books are available on UN ilibrary: 

UNAA joins Climate Ready Australia as a foundation member 

UNAA has joined Climate Ready Australia (CRI) as a foundation member.  CRI  is a social impact initiative of Griffith University that will bring together partners from across society to develop a shared agenda for climate action that can be translated into real action. The initiative is engaging peak bodies across Australian business and civil society to set an agenda, empower partnerships, progress transformative actions and champion the capability we need to secure a prosperous and just future.

Leaders on the CRI Board include Chair Rosemary Addis AM, John Hewson AM, Professor Brendan Mackey, Ann Sherry AO, Sophia Hamblin Wang, Tony Mcavoy SC, and Sam Mackay.

At the first meeting UNAA Climate Change Collaboration Network Co-convenors Warwick Peel and Emma Lucia engaged to promote the value of the SDGs as an integrated blueprint, the importance of inclusion particularly in respect our Indigenous peoples as custodians of this great land for 65,000+ years, particularly of our most vulnerable communities, and the power of working across Australia’s burgeoning climate change ecosystem.

The group will meet again in August and October to deliver a shared agenda.

President meets Ambassador the Hon Mitch Fifield

Mario D’Elia met with Australia’s Ambassador to the UN in New York the Hon Mitchell Fifield in early June. The Ambassador is positive about our role in helping him and the UN to promote the UN’s policies. He specifically asked if we could do more to explain to our members and audiences all the different roles that Australia plays in the UN. He will send us regular updates to include in future newsletters. The Ambassador also agreed to present at functions and Board meetings to share information and his role and aspirations including his work with colleagues from Pacific Island nations.

Promoting the UN and UNAA to new members of Parliament
The Board will follow up our recent election activity with letters of welcome to new and ongoing Members and Senators. UNAA Directors, Brian Gleeson and Claire Moore are working together to support the reviving of the Friends of the UN Parliamentary Group in the 47th Parliament and we will continue to provide information and support to Members and Senators in their areas of policy focus with support from our Alumni and Academic Networks and Members.
National Forum

The National Forum Steering Group and Working Party are building a business case for our next National Forum which we hope to hold in person in early 2023. The proposal is to focus the event on Our Common Agenda. The UN Secretary General's report prepared following consultations during the 75th Anniversary looks ahead to the next 25 years and presents his vision on the future of global cooperation and reinvigorating inclusive, networked, and effective multilateralism.

The Secretary-General tasked a High-Level Advisory Board with reflecting the substantive research into effective multilateralism and global public goods and will develop independent, concrete recommendations for the Secretary-General and Member States. These will be considered at the 2023 Summit of the Future timed to coincide with the General Assembly's high level week in September next year.

We are working with members, partners and stakeholders to prepare a program of activity to raise awareness of this initiative.

There are four ways you might become involved:

  • Read the original Report by the UN Secretary General here

  • Read about the implications of Our Common Agenda as assessed by Erika Feller, AO, UNAA Goodwill Ambassador, and John Langmore AO here

  • Keep up to date with the UN's Our Common Agenda implementation program here

  • Complete our short survey capturing member and stakeholders perspectives to inform our business case here

Express your interest in joining the volunteer team to prepare for and run the event by dropping us a line at Let us know why you are interested, what you bring, and what you would like to achieve.

Welcome to Damian Cardona Onses, Director UN Information Centre

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres appointed Damian Cardona Onses of Spain as Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Canberra, Australia.  Mr. Cardona has more than 26 years of experience in strategic communications, crisis communications, outreach and campaigns within the United Nations system. UNIC is the principle UN agency within Australia and provides services to Australia and our Pacific neighbours, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Damian joined the UNAA Board meeting in May in the early days of his appointment, to introduce himself and meet our leaders. Damian is a champion of the role of United Nations Associations across the world. During our discussion, he shared his insights, inspirational experiences, and ideas. He is keen to listen and learn as he meets leaders across Australia and the Pacific.

We agreed to work together on three priorities:

  • the UNAA National Forum focused on Our Common Agenda

  • a community of practice to support the development and sharing between UNAs in Australia and the Pacific

  • a celebration program to recognise UNIC’s 75th anniversary in Australia leading up to November 2023.

We welcome Damian and look forward to a warm and productive relationship. You can read more here.        

Blue Talks of the Pacific

The Blue Talks of the Pacific were organized by UNIC Canberra and co-hosted by the Embassy of Portugal and the Kenya High Commission with partners, the UN Resident Coordinators Offices in the Pacific, located in Micronesia, Samoa, and Fiji in June.

Leaders emphasised a sustainable blue economy transformation can only be achieved with multilateralism and strong partnerships with small island states. The transformation must address the challenges of land based marine pollution, plastics and fossil fuels and take practical steps to reduce carbon emissions, build resilience and adaptation and enable island nations to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. 

These messages, coming straight from the Pacific, were communicated to the UN Lisbon Ocean Conference cohosted by Portugal and Kenya over 27 June to 1 July 2022. The Conference, in the second year of the UN Decade of Ocean Science we need for Sustainable Development, focused on Scaling up the ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions.

VIMEO   Blue Talks of the Pacific (

Media release Lisbon Declaration launches new chapter for ocean action


An Update from Government House

On 23rd July, the Governor-General and Mrs Hurley reflected on their recently completed third year in Office, the people they’ve met, the kindness in the community they’ve witnessed and the organisations they are privileged to be part of. The message is available through the Governor-General’s Facebook page

In addition, Government House Open Day is scheduled for Saturday 8 October 2022. This will be the first Open Day since 2019, and we encourage people to consider joining on the day.

Read about the programs from our Divisions and Networks

Australian Capital Territory
Address from Australia's Ambassador for the Environment, Jamie Isbister

Members and guests of the UNAA ACT Division had the pleasure of hearing from Australia's Ambassador for the Environment, Jamie Isbister, who spoke about the new Government's environmental diplomacy plans and priorities. 

The event was organised on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the UN Conference on the Environment, which took place earlier this year in Sweden. The inaugural 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment made the environment a pressing global issue for the first time, and led to the creation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). To watch the recording click here.

For more information visit UNAA ACT

Northern Territory

International Day of Parliamentarism

On 30 June 2022, Ms Kate Heelan UNAA NT President, Dr Howard Smith Vice President and Mr Jakkree Vanachai UNAA NT Charles Darwin University Intern had the honour of meeting with Mr Mark Monaghan the recently appointed Speaker of the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly to discuss International Day of parliamentarism.  It was a pleasure to note the Speaker's support of the UNAA NT division and his understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals.  With six of the eight Northern Territory Cabinet Minister positions held by women including that of the Chief Minister, the NT is a shining example of SDG 5 which promotes gender equality and power for women.

International Day of Friendship
The Darwin Community came out to celebrate and participate in a combined International Day of Friendship and International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (which had been scheduled for April but had been postponed) at Arafura Stadium in Darwin on 17th July 2022.  The afternoon showcased a range of unique sporting activities including Tai Chi, Zumba, Bocce, Air Badminton, Chinese Jianzi, Nepalese Traditional Dance, Sepak Takraw, 60 and 100 metre races.

It was wonderful to see the Karen, Nepalese and Thai communities dressed in traditional clothing, and the Timorese, Chinese and Indonesian Community leaders attend the event.  Special thanks to Mr Ronaldo Do Rosario the Consul General Timor-Leste,  Mr Suadji Raja Consul- Community Engagement, Indonesian Consulate.

Ms Stella Zhang and her son Bob from the Chinese Community of Northern Australia (CCNA) showcased Jianzi which became a really popular activity for all and special thanks to Mr Ashish, President of the Nepalese Association -NT and the Nepalese dancer that performed a traditional Nepalese dance.

The event was a shining example of sport bringing people and community together in friendship, peace, tolerance, respect and erasing cultural barriers.

For more information visit UNAA NT 

New South Wales

NAIDOC Week 2022

To celebrate NAIDOC Week, UNAA NSW hosted a special screening of a new feature documentary called Ablaze on 30 June at Western Sydney University, Parramatta. The film is about Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta Wiradjuri man from Victoria, a truly heroic cultural and political figure who revived his people’s culture in the 1940s and ignited a civil rights movement that would, against enormous odds, change the course of history. We also celebrated the work of Ken Zulumovski, Director, Gamarada Universal Indigenous Resources, and Wes Trist, President, Mob Sydney Aboriginal Motorcycle Club. Attendees included a wide range of people from government, NGOs and private sector all networking over food and drinks afterwards.

Global Citizenship Gathering 2022

This year UNAA NSW hosted its second Annual Global Citizenship Gathering to celebrate our volunteers during National Volunteer Week, and also the International Day of Living Together in Peace. We screened the critically acclaimed film Scattered People about the healing power of music to bring people, cultures and countries together. Special thank you to our guest speaker Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia for sharing his experience supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and for inspiring us with his own story of starting as a volunteer. The event raised funds for the Sydney Asylum Seekers Centre to help support their incredible work supporting refugees and asylum seekers.

Farewell luncheon for Consul General of Timor Leste

A memorable farewell luncheon for Consul General of Timor Leste in Sydney Luciano Valentim da Conceicao was recently enjoyed at Restaurant 21 Double Bay with Dr Patricia Jenkings, President UNAA (NSW), Dr Michael Warczak OAM, Geoffrey Little Life Member UNAA (NSW), Heinz Gerstl and Emeritus Professor Hashim Duranni AO. 

For more information visit  UNAA NSW

Western Australia

Education Committee: Yolanda Frank Art Awards 

On Wednesday 4 May 2022, the United Nations Association of WA (UNAA WA), in partnership with the WA Museum Boola Bardip, held an awards ceremony to celebrate student artwork on human rights submitted for the Yolande Frank Art Awards 2021. The event was attended by more than 60 staff, students, families, members of the jury, sponsors, and friends from Ukraine. All artworks will be displayed in the foyer at the Museum throughout the month of May 2022 until mid-June. 

(Education Convener, Zaina Debouch (L), and Deputy Convener of Human Rights Committee (R) Cosmas Onaneye and school teaches and winners of the Yolanda Frank Art Awards (Middle)

UNAA WA SDG Forum Series: “Never waste a crisis: rebirth of the sustainability agenda” 

The UNAA WA held a panel discussion at Ernst & Young (EY) on the 2nd of June 2022. “Never Waste a Crisis: Rebirth of the Sustainability Agenda” addressed the current world crisis and invited the panelists to share important measures that could help people and communities affected by it. Speakers include Geoff Baker, a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for South Perth, Tim Shanahan, Future Battery Industries Cooperative Research Centre, Fiona Argyle, Mayor of the City of Nedlands, and Adam Carrel, a partner at EY. The panelists urged businesses to make a change by adapting effective and sustainable practices. Nations need to move in the right direction and continued regulations surrounding pollution and greenwashing will go far in the promotion and development of the SDGs. The event was well-attended by 90 guests including UNAA WA members and community partners, and it concluded with light snacks and drinks.                    

(President of UNAAWA, Dr Sandy Chong, President UNAA WA with panelists - Adam Carrel, Fiona Argyle, and Tim Shanahan, SDG forum attendees and members interacting at the event)

For more information visit UNAA WA


For more information visit UNAA QLD

South Australia 

For more information visit UNAA SA


For more information visit UNAA VIC

Young Professionals Network

For more information visit UNAA Young Professionals

National Office

We welcome Frederick Guanzon who has joined us as Program Management Office Lead and Rachel White who has joined us as Head of Communications. Frederick is working with Portfolio Directors and national office volunteers to manage our work plan. Rachel is working with Melissa King, Independent Director and Communications Working Group to shape our communications strategy and plan moving forward. 

We thank Bree Wellington, who worked alongside Justin Howden, Independent Director to support our Academic Network, and Wilson Zhang who worked in our Governance and Policy team.

If you would like to join our team, we are currently seeking people for the following roles:

  • Governance and Policy – work alongside Esra Akcamci on board agendas and minutes, and policy formulation and review

  • Operations and Membership – work alongside James Puckridge and Visna Hemachandra on operations and projects

  • Volunteer Coordinator – work with Portfolio directors to recruit and support our volunteer team.

  • Partnership Coordinator – works alongside our President to coordinate relationships with our Patrons and key partners.

If you are interested in any of these roles please contact outlining why you are interested, what you bring, and what you would like to achieve.

The UNAA is a Not-for-profit charity and relies on donations to support our events and continued efforts. All donations over $2 made under the auspices of the Australian Institute for International Affairs are tax deductible and much appreciated.
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