The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations (UNAs) and their thousands of constituents. Guided by our vision of a United Nations that is a powerful force in meeting common global challenges and opportunities, WFUNA works to strengthen and improve the United Nations. We achieve this through the engagement of people who share a global mindset and support international cooperation – global citizens.
Our Work: Global Citizens for a Stronger UN
WFUNA was founded on the premise that all people are interconnected through the UN’s core values. It was essentially a 21st-century organization formed in the post-war era of sovereign nation states. WFUNA advocates the principle that global peace, justice and prosperity depend on multilateral cooperation, for which the UN is the key facilitating organization, and fully support the initiative of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for such multilateralism to underpin international cooperation.
Today’s complex problems require solutions that reflect partnerships among all sectors – specifically civil society. Civil society provides a connection between the grassroots, a dynamism inspired by a people-focused orientation, and expert knowledge on relevant issues. It has the ability to influence government decisions through advocacy activities, and the power to achieve change through collective action. WFUNA believes that the involvement of civil society is essential to the solution of global challenges and will work to increase its role and presence in the United Nations system.
WFUNA’s leadership is therefore embarking on a global campaign to take WFUNA to the next level of institutional governance, which will call for increased activity and support for its constituencies. Driven by this conviction, we have created the WFUNA Global Citizens for a Stronger UN Campaign, whose goal is to identify support both for WFUNA’s institutional growth and for its programs and activities that will:
- Underscore the interconnectedness of global issues and therefore of all peoples
- Promote the cooperative and democratic problem-solving of global issues
- Educate and engage the youth of today to be leaders and world citizens – mainly through the use of digital media – so that they may understand and embrace global interdependence
WFUNA is working in three general policy areas, and is now generating new programs in these key points of entry for support. They are:
- Working for Peace and Security, with a special focus on the role of Security Council, peacebuilding, conflict prevention, and nuclear non-proliferation
- Promoting Sustainable Development, with a special focus on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.
- Securing Human Rights, with a special focus on the Human Rights Council, human rights education, and implementing human rights standards at all levels
WFUNA will work to rally member UNAs to participate in the programs within these three areas, thereby creating a ripple effect throughout the globe.
WFUNA has over 100 member United Nations Associations (UNAs). UNAs are national civil society organizations that provide a link between the citizens of the world and the United Nations by seeking to ensure that the UN is relevant to the lives of the peoples it exists to serve. UNAs have different programs and a variety of constituencies, such as individual members, member organizations, and partner schools and universities
UNAs have a unique role to play at the national level in:
- Disseminating information and educational materials about the UN
- Lobbying the government, political parties and interest groups in support of the UN
- Conducting research and academic initiatives such as Model UN conferences and seminars
- Motivating the media to provide frequent and accurate coverage of the UN and its programs
- Collaborating with other civil society organizations, local UN offices, private sector and other partners on projects related to the work of the UN
- Commemorating UN Days through public events
Internationally, UNAs often collaborate with each other through bilateral and multilateral projects in various issue areas, as well as participating in global programs run by the WFUNA Secretariat.
…and these are just a few general examples! UNAs have a wide variety and diversity of activities depending on the needs of their communities and the UNAs specific interest areas and expertise relating to the United Nations.
WFUNA’s Secretariat is based at One UN Plaza in New York City and at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. We also have offices in Seoul, Korea and Brussels, Belgium.
WFUNA is an independent, non-governmental organization with Category One Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Associate Status with the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI) and United Nations Organization for Education Science and Culture (UNESCO); Special List with the UN International Labor Organization (ILO); General Status with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); Status with UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Atomic and Energy Agency (IAEA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN World Metereological Association and consultative or liaison links with many other UN organizations and agencies.
Examples of Work of Members
UNA-Democratic Republic of Congo distributes bed nets to vulnerable populations across the country to prevent malaria transmission and conducts seminars in local communities on tolerance and reconciliation. www.unadrcongo.org
The UNAs of Tanzania and Uganda have an Exchange Program with UNA-Norway, with the aim of sharing competency, learning from each other and facilitating better understanding and cooperation among the UNAs. www.unatz.org and www.unauganda.org
UNA-India organizes public celebrations for UN Days such as Internationals Women’s Day. In addition they are running a youth cell phone video competition on the Millennium Development Goals. ifuna.org
UNA-Republic of Korea hosted the 39th Plenary Assembly of WFUNA in 2009. UNA-ROK translates UN publications into Korean, organizes seminars on UN topics, and is working to establish a youth and young professionals program. www.unarok.org
UNA-Georgia works in coordination with relevant international agencies to advance understanding of both voluntary migration and forced displacement, helping to develop response tools of governmental and non-governmental organizations in Georgia. It has been an implementing partner of UNHCR since 1998. www.una.ge
UNA-Sweden runs the School Feeding Program in cooperation with the World Food Programme. The Program offers poor children free lunch at school, something which has positive effects for the children and their families, communities and countries. The Swedish school feeding campaign cooperates with well-known Swedish restaurants and the coffee shop Barista Fair Trade Coffee. www.fn.se
UNA- Mexico implements a project created by UNA-Canada called Sport-in-a-Box – a step-by-Step Resource Guide created to inspire youth to get actively involved in sport and physical activity through workshops that introduce a global theme through various fun and physical activities. www.amnu.org.mx
UNA-USA runs Global Classrooms, a program established to help prepare students in underserved communities by teaching them to be global citizens by developing literacy skills including the ability to read critically and communicate effectively in writing. www.unausa.org
UNA-Suriname runs a Model UN program together with Service Clubs in Suriname, organizes student competitions on topics such as human rights, and has an online newsletter with information about UN activities.
UNA-Venezuela offers online certificate courses on the United Nations to the general public. This project is in collaboration with UNESCO’s Centre for training in Human Rights, Citizenship and a Culture World Peace. www.anuv.net