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August 2021

Ka nui te mihi kia koutou katoa - UNA
Dear Members and Supporters of the United Nations Association


Welcome to the August newsletter. We hope you are all keeping well during lockdown. The UN has many useful materials on COVID-19, you can read them here. The UN has also run a campaign called 'verified' to ensure people are sharing true and accurate information regarding COVID-19, you can have a look at it here. The UN also has information on how we can build back better from this crisis, the theme of our conference which we will be reflecting on in this newsletter. Most importantly the UN has a great range of materials on how to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time, you can read them here. We hope this newsletter provides you an interesting read during these trying times. Keep well and look after others.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou


 United Nations Association of New Zealand Annual Conference 2021


On 13-14 August UNA NZ hosted our annual conference. 
On Friday evening we heard from our host Vanushi Walters MP who delivered a moving key note about human rights, the United Nations and our collective future. Vanuish is seen below with our president Gaya Paranisamy.

Joy Dunsheath delivered an address reflecting on 75 years of the United Nations Association of New Zealand. She is seen below holding UNA NZ first newsletter. 

On Saturday we heard from Mere Skerrett, Dell Higgie, Hon Nanaia Mahuta, HE Ambassador Nina Obermaier and enjoyed a workshop from Bridget Williams from Bead and Proceed and a panel consisting of Megan McCoy, Chris Dunlop, Dr Karanina Sumeo, and Professor Siah Hwee Ang. See some pictures below and keep an eye on our website for a full reflection shortly.

UNA NZ gives its warmest thanks to our volunteer events team Sunniva Fredstad and Phoebe Slee for their excellent work in organising this conference.   

  The UN's call to Afghanistan 

Protecting civilians, providing humanitarian aid, upholding human rights, respecting and protecting international humanitarian law and the rights and freedoms of all persons- these are the calls from the United Nations to Afghanistan.

The Secretary-General provided a speech to the Security Council which can be read or watched here. The Security Council later released a press statement that can be read here

Read an overview of the situation and the work of different UN agencies provided by UN news here.

 Former UNA NZ President leading session at SDG Summit 2021 


Our aim is to provide an opportunity to strengthen the linkages between SDG 16 and WPS (Women Peace and Security).  He maurea kai whiria. 

We are a team of seven presenters with a wide range of specialisation and knowledge: Professor Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Caroline Herewini MNZM, Dr Darren Brunk, Dr Negar Partow, Dr Gill Greer CBE MNZM, Seraya Amirthalingam, and Joy Dunsheath JP (lead).

At the Aotearoa SDG Summit 2021 at Canterbury University there will be a session where we aim to unpack the statement that, there can be no peace without development and no development without peace. Our goal is to provide, within the short timeframe, a discussion about solutions, successes, and challenges in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific.

The UN Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security was adopted in 2000 was ground-breaking. It was followed in later years by six complimentary UNSC resolutions. New Zealand had a National Action Plan for the implementation of these Resolutions from 2015-2019. 

The session will focus on the following: promoting good governance, the Rule of Law and anti-corruption; strengthening institutions and participatory decision- making processes; sustaining peace and conflict prevention; data and SDG 16 -measurement the key to tracking progress. Also, within our focus will be pandemics and climate.

See: Aotearoa SDG Summit 2021 at Canterbury University Home / | Aotearoa New Zealand SDG Summits 

New Zealand Red Cross video series on humanitarian issues 

The New Zealand Red Cross hosts a series of informative Facebook Live videos discussing pertinent humanitarian issues in an accessible manner.

You can watch one of the videos "Discussion on Humanitarian Issues: Autonomous Weapons and Human Control" here.

To protect people in places of armed conflict, the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has historically called for legally binding rules to prohibit and regulate many forms of devastating weaponry – from chemical and biological weapons to landmines and cluster bombs.

Lethal autonomous weapon systems present one of the latest emerging developments in the methods of warfare, and it is a sad reality that an increased use of such weapon systems is seen widely in today’s armed conflicts.

With the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) calling on States to adopt new legally binding rules on autonomous weapons, it is an important time for us to talk about this topic.

In this live online discussion, we have invited two special guests who will be sharing their knowledge on this topic to give us better understanding of the immense humanitarian impacts of the use of autonomous weapons in warfare.

Our panellists for this session are:
Clementine Rendle, Regional Legal Adviser, ICRC
Mary Wareham, Arms Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch

 Meet our interns

UNA NZ regularly hosts interns who contribute greatly to our work through their research, activities and support. Last year we had to pivot our internship programme which largely facilitated research done by international postgraduate students temporarily in New Zealand. We now have 4 talented and impressive New Zealand based interns who are working on a range of fascinating topics. 

Read about their work and backgrounds here


Goal of the month

In August, the Goal of the Month editorial focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy – ahead of the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy scheduled to take place during the UN General Assembly in September 2021.


Why do we need renewable energy?

  • Today, nearly 760 million people still lack access to electricity and nearly 2.6 billion lack clean cooking fuels, causing several million deaths each year from household air pollution. 
  • The energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions and holds the key to averting the worst effects of climate change. 
  • Affordable technologies are readily available on the market today that can put the world on track by 2030 for net‐zero emissions by 2050. 
  • Renewable energy is a smart investment and an engine for job creation. Renewables provide three times more jobs than fossil fuels. 

The Dialogue will mobilize commitments and action to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050. 

Ahead of the event, Sustainable Energy for All has launched a drive to encourage action through Energy Compacts – urging stakeholders to submit voluntary commitments and concrete plans to clean and affordable energy.

Read more here.

 Secretary-General's video message on World Humanitarian Day 

On World Humanitarian Aay the Secretary-General acknowledges the work of aid workers and calls for progress on climate change, the greatest humanitarian threat of our lifetime. 

Read or watch his message here.

 Don't forget you can read our annual publication online!

Our annual publication UNA NZ NEWS has launched! Only online for now, but printed copies will become available soon, production and distribution of these has been delayed due to COVID-19. 

A great thanks is owed to our former National Administrator Chris Vogliano and our design intern CJ who spend considerable time curating the publication. We are grateful to our intelligent and experienced special officers who made valuable and informative contributions to the publication regarding their respective fields.

You can read it online here via a pdf on our website or on Issuu here


UNA NZ Education Portal Resources

Curious to know what our education portal actually is? 

The UNA NZ Education Portal is an excellent web page for UN-related resources.  

The resources on this site are designed for primary school aged children. If you are an educator please use these resources as you wish. We also encourage educators, students and parents to contribute to the portal to help it grow. Find out how you can contribute here.

Check out our about page to watch an introductory video, read updates, learn how to contribute and most importantly, how you can take advantage of these resources to make learning exciting for your students. 

Click here to learn more.

Check out our newly updated website!
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