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October 2021

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


Welcome to the October newsletter. 

The 24th of October is celebrated internationally as United Nations Day. Various events throughout New Zealand were held with the UN flag flying on many sites. In Wellington there was a crowded UNA NZ reception with Sir Kenneth Keith as guest speaker.

The UN Day celebrations are a reminder to us about the urgency for all countries to come together, to fulfil the promise of the nations united.

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou

Joy Dunsheath
Past President, Honorary Life Member and WFUNA Executive Committee Member

 Marking UN Day 2021 


Sunday 24th October marked UN Day, the day was celebrated across the globe and used as an opportunity to reflect on and re-commit to the UN and its ideals. Below we have collated some of the main events, speeches and campaigns that were observed as part of the day.

UN Day in New Zealand
We were pleased to run a 'fly the UN flag' campaign getting local bodies to fly the UN flag and promote the day.

The flag was also flown at Parliament.

We marked the day with our reception at Shed 5 with an address from Sir Ken Keith a former International Court of Justice Judge. The event was well attended, photos will be posted on our social media soon. 

Secretary General's message
The Secretary General delivered his annual UN Day message. 
You can read or watch the Secretary General's message here.

UN Day Annual Concert

This year's UN Day Concert followed a hybrid format with part live and part pre-recorded performances, with a small audience following physical distancing protocols.

Held on Thursday, 21 October 2021, under the theme “Building Back Together for Peace and Prosperity”, the concert was sponsored by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations.

Renowned violinists Angela and Jennifer Chun along with soprano Youngok Shin provided in-person performances in the General Assembly Hall, at the UN Headquarters in New York. Pre-recorded videos have been screened during the event, featuring acclaimed soprano Youngmi Kim, the Goyang Philharmonic Orchestra, pianist Yungwook Yoo and all-female K-POP band aespa.

You can watch the concert here.

UN Day at Expo 2020 Dubai

On 24 October 2021, Expo will celebrate United Nations Day as an Honor Day with a variety of official events. This will include an official ceremony at the Al Wasl Dome and an exciting cultural performance by the Emirates Youth Symphony Orchestra (EYSO), a unique group of young musicians in the UAE and the Arab world at large, devoted to cultivating the musical talent of young people, by creating a cultural and artistic environment for young talents for audiences of all ages. The ceremony will take place on the Stage of Nations in Al Wasl Dome starting 10:15 am GST, with the presence of high-level government officials from the United Arab Emirates. UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed will join the ceremony in person and give opening remarks to commemorate the global efforts and impact of the United Nations work to serve people and planet for 76 years. Audiences from all over the world can virtually join the Honor Day ceremony, which will be livestreamed across the UN YouTube channel and UN Web TV.

The UN will open a selected group of photos from the exhibit #TheWorldWeWant—curated from more than 50,000 images from over 130 countries submitted to a global photo contest hosted and organized by mobile app Agora in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. The physical exhibit will be on display at the Opportunity Pavilion plaza, just across from the #UNHub, starting Sunday, 24 October 2021. To visit the exhibit in person, please find more information about accessing the Expo site here.


UN Day in Australia
IOM joins the rest of the UN family in celebrating UN Day. As the UN migration agency, IOM works alongside UN partners around the world to support migration for the benefit of all. On this UN day, as the world builds back from COVID-19, let’s ensure that people on the move are included in our recovery.

Climate change webinar- recording now available

After the IPCC release of the Assessment Report in August, and with the upcoming COP26 in November, the United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) National branch hosted a webinar panel on the evening of Thursday 23rd September.

The Working Group I gave their contribution to the 6th IPCC Assessment Report (coming out in 2022) on August 9th. The group examined the physical science underpinning past, present, and future climate change. A key takeaway from the report is that human influence is a key driver of the climate crisis, and that the window for mitigating and adapting is closing rapidly. As the world leaders are preparing to meet in Glasgow to discuss the ongoing environmental crisis and the Working Group I report, UNA NZ hosted a panel of experts from various sectors via Zoom, who discussed the key takeaways from the report, and how the report should be utilised for an effective COP26 in November.

You can watch the recording of the webinar here.

A focus on COP26

On 31 October world leaders met for 26th session of the Conference of the Parties in Glasgow. COP is the world leading climate change conference. The need to move quickly and decisively to address climate change has been recognised by most world leaders and echoed by the Secretary-General. In this months newsletter we have compiled a range of editorials and commentary on the conference. Click on any of headlines below to read the articles.


Shaw says COP26 conference most important since Paris Agreement

Rich nations "must consign coal power to history" – UK COP26 president

Editorial: COP26 in Glasgow needs to deliver real action 

The climate summit that could save our future

Pacific Forum prepares for COP26

Event: Youth Perspectives on Carbon Neutrality

The United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) is proud to host a Climate Change event alongside the NZ Union of Students Associations (NZUSA), focused on providing a platform for young people to discuss the goal of carbon neutrality in Aotearoa with industry, academic, and policy leaders. 


The goal of the event is to open a dialogue between young and engaged stakeholders of climate reform and a panel of notable speakers from academia, policy, and industry. UNA NZ appreciates that young people will inherit the burden of climate change, and consider it the defining issue of their generation. We are eager to provide them with a platform to begin a dialogue with key stakeholders in climate reform.

For access please enter the building on the top floor of the student union building located on the north end of the campus and descend onto the bottom floor (there is an elevator at the end of the hallway on the left side). Once in the bottom floor proceed forward onto the Bubble (common room) and to the left you will find the rooms.


This event can be attended via zoom. A zoom link will be sent to all those who register.

Date and time

Thu 25th Nov 2021, 6:00 pm - 7:45 pm NZDT
Add to calendar


Student Union Building (room SU217/218
Student Union Building, Kelburn, Wellington 6012, New Zealand

Secure your free ticket here
 Reflecting on the UN General Assembly 

UN chief's message to world leaders: ‘Wake up, change course, unite’ 
In a wide-ranging interview with UN News, Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on world leaders to ‘wake up’, make an immediate course correction at home and abroad, and unite. 

Read more about the various interviews, statements and messages the Secretary-General delivered during the general assembly here.

The future of international cooperation: Time to think big, urges Guterres

Mr. Guterres launched the report at a meeting of the General Assembly on Friday, prefacing his remarks with a scathing overview of the parlous state of a world he described as being under enormous stress, and warning that the world risks a future of “serious instability and climate chaos”.

Read more here.

You can read more news coverage of the 76th general assembly here.

Local charity progressing the SDGs through food app

The Oke Gardening App was developed to help kids learn what happens each week via a digital veggie garden, while their seedlings grow in real time.

  • Help kids learn what is happening in their real garden
  • STEM & cultural weekly challenges
  • Weekend gardening activities for the whole family

This app was designed to use alongside a garden of your own, giving you an idea on what the growing looks like below ground as well as above.

The Oke App is brought to you by the Oke Charity, who build school gardens in the real world! Oke will help you to grow your digital garden and you can show Oke how your school/home garden is growing!

Learn more and download the app here.


Goal of the month - SDG 16

Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable​ development, provide access to justice for all and build​ effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels​

Read more about SDG 16 here.

 UN Says 'unacceptable' deals and delays hampering lifesaving COVAX deliveries 


While 80 per cent of citizens in high and upper-middle income nations have had a dose of COVID-19 vaccine, that figure stands at just 20 per cent for those living below the top tiers, according to a joint statement issued by UN and partner agencies, responsible for the multilateral COVAX initiative to provide equal access for all.  

Keep reading

Climate Commission Report

Our Special Officer for UN Renewal Dr Kennedy Graham has authored a new report titled "The Climate Commission’s Report and the 2019 Act: Implications for Governance and Policy-making"  

The abstract for the paper says: Climate change has been described by the NZ Government as ‘the greatest challenge of our time’. Thirty years after the UN IPCC’s 1st Assessment Report, there is increasing concern that the global action is insufficient to achieve the ‘ultimate objective’ of climate stabilisation, and that the remaining time to reverse this is now short. The UNFCCC Paris Agreement (2015) established a universal plan for emissions to meet the temperature goal of ‘well below 2°C’, with a global effort to stay under 1.5°C. The IPCC’s Special 1.5°C Report (2018) has provided global scenarios and pathways for countries to determine their national contributions to that end. In New Zealand, domestic legislation (2019) set a 2050 Emissions Reduction Target for this country to make its contribution to the ‘1.5°C global effort’. It also established a Climate Commission to provide the Government with independent and expert advice on budgets, implementation plans, measurement rules and target reviews. The Commission has recently released its first Advisory Report, for government decisions by the end of 2021. This Working Paper assesses the Report and the 2019 legislation in the context of New Zealand’s ‘contribution’ to the 1.5°C global effort and, more broadly, the implications for national governance and policy on the ‘existential threat’ that is climate change.

You can read the full paper here.

Climate change ‘the defining challenge of our generation’ says New Zealand Ambassador

Ambassador Craig Hawke delivered his speech in person, inside the General Assembly Hall in New York, noting that to defeat the coronavirus, “we will need to be our collective best”, back the World Health Organization and work together to distribute an effective vaccine, “on an equitable basis”.

New Zealand has been lauded for its COVID-19 response with one of the lowest infection rates in the world, but Mr. Hawke said nobody would be truly safe, until vulnerable regions like the Pacific, receive the vaccines they need.

The threat from climate change “is more real in the Pacific than any other region”, he added, saying many islands were paying the price for “collective inaction and their fate is in our hands.

It is essential for the Paris Agreement to be fully implemented, along with a global reset towards a greener global economic system. Calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies, he was it was time to “re-think how our societies can simultaneously focus on the well-being of our people, and of our environment.”

Ambassador Hawke said that New Zealand has championed the United Nations since its inception, and the wider international system.

“Today, we recommit to playing our part in ensuring the multilateral system collectively responds to shared, urgent global challenges. New Zealand urges all other Member States to do the same”, he added.

Speaking in Maori, he concluded with an old saying: “With your food basket, and my food basket, the people will thrive.”


   New insights from Transparency International


The Pandora Papers reveal how New Zealand-based trusts have been used to shelter assets of the corrupt and powerful.

This week the New Zealand Herald, as part of its Pandora Papers collaboration released the first of its data on people that have used New Zealand’s trust structure to build and hide their wealth. It includes business people and politicians from Russia, Romania, China and Brazil, some of whom are facing serious corruption and money laundering charges in their home jurisdictions. They have  hidden vast sums of money using New Zealand foreign owned trusts as a safe front.

Read the full analysis from Julie Haggie, Chief Executive, Transparency International New Zealand here.



The long title is “Convention on access to information, public participation indecision-making and access to justice in environmental matters”.  

It originated as a UN Convention amongst states in Europe. It has long been disregarded by New Zealand as either inapplicable in geographic scope (only applying to Europe but it is actually open to all states) or redundant because of our Official Information Act.

At the core of the Aarhaus Convention is

  • Public access to environmental information
  • Public participation in environmental decision making
  • Access to environmental justice including protection of environmental defenders.

This paper addresses under each of these headings, whether New Zealand should accede to the Convention.

Read the full analysis from Cath Wallace, Co-Chairperson, Environment and Conservation Organisations of Aotearoa New Zealand 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!
Want to Join the United Nations Association?

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