October 10, 2013
UNA-USA Leads Post-2015 Consultations
Beginning on October 24, UNA-USA will host grassroots consultation events on the post-2015 development agenda in eleven cities around the country. The UN Development Programme (UNDP) called upon UNA-USAâ€™s network of Chapters in every corner of the country to provide grassroots input into what should replace the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015.
While the eleven Chapters selected for these events will take a particularly deep look at the post-2015 process, every Chapter has an opportunity to contribute to the discussion. Virtually every Chapter in the country will hold a public event on or near UN Day. These events offer a perfect opportunity to hold additional discussions on post-2015 priorities and have members complete the online survey on the MyWorld2015 website. UNA-USA will compile the results of its eleven Chapter consultation sessions, as well as any additional input it receives from other Chapters, into an official report that will be presented to the post-2015 Secretariat at UNDP in fulfillment of the Secretary-Generalâ€™s request. If any Chapter wants to join this conversation and ensure their members' voices are heard, contact Chanteclaire Lantos-Swett at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Itâ€™s a Big Month for the UN: Letâ€™s Remind Congress
The successful Security Council Resolution on Syriaâ€™s chemical weapons arsenal and the recent diplomatic breakthrough on Iran are two recent reminders of the enduring importance of the UN. Please use October and the activities surrounding UN Day to schedule in-district meetings with your Congressional delegation to remind them of how important the UN is to our most pressing foreign policy objectives. Given the ongoing government shutdown and acrimonious budget debate, we suggest that you focus your message on reminding your members that the UN is helping America and the world solve problems, and that you personally support the UN, rather than asking for UN funding.
World Leaders Gather for the 68th Session of the General Assembly
Last month, leaders from across the world gathered at the United Nations for the start of the 68th General Assembly. It was an important moment for the UN as it worked to tackle global problems, from the Syrian chemical weapons crisis to climate change. In case you missed any of the news out of New York, here is a look at the biggest moments from UN Week 2013.
UNA-USA Human Rights Task Force Sends Letter to President Obama
On September 27, the bipartisan, high-level UNA-USA Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force sent an urgent letter to President Obama concerning the human rights situation in Syria. The letter, signed by the Task Forceâ€™s Chair Felice Gaer on behalf the group, applauded the efforts of the Administration to respond to the apparent use of chemical weapons in the country, while also calling for the President to ensure the diplomatic weight of the United States is leveraged to address other â€śmassive human rights abusesâ€ť in the country.
Read the full letter to President Obama here.
UN Human Rights Council Puts Civil Society in Focus in Latest Session
On September 27, the UNâ€™s top human rights body, the 47-member UN Human Rights Council based in Geneva, concluded its 24th session. While the organ passed a variety of resolutions on key thematic and country-specific issues, multiple resolutions focused on the links between protection, respect for civil society, and the promotion of universal human rights.
This, for example, included a resolution sponsored by Chile, Ireland, Japan, Sierra Leone, and Tunisia on ensuring the protection of â€ścivil society space.â€ť Another resolution, passed with strong U.S. support, extended by consensus the mandate of the UN special rapporteurâ€”an independent expert which reports to the UN on key human rights issuesâ€”on the â€śFreedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Associationâ€ť for three years. The resolution further stresses that â€śrespect for the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association . . . contributes to addressing and resolving challenges and issues that are important to society, such as the environment, sustainable development, crime prevention, human trafficking, empowering women, social justice, consumer protection and the realization of all human rights.â€ť
A third resolution along the theme of civil society participation, sponsored by Hungary, concerned the disturbing issue of reprisals against human rights activists and defenders seeking to engage the UN human rights system.
What's Happening at the UN
Read the latest and most important news coming out of the United Nations, so you can tell your member of Congress about the important work of the UN. This month:
The UNA-USA Advocacy Update is structured around the UNA-USA Advocacy Agenda, which focuses UNAâ€™s work on four core issue areas: securing U.S.-UN funding; advancing human rights through the UN; encouraging U.S. ratification of international treaties; and supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Also included in the Update is a recent â€śround-upâ€ť of the monthâ€™s most important UN news. If you would like additional information on any of the items included contact the Membership Team at email@example.com.