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This is the UNA Coventry Branch Chair’s Report for the year 2019 delivered by Shagufta Hamid-Khan at the AGM on 23 January 2020.
We are pleased to have been able to recruit Mohammed Aaqib as the Branch Treasurer and a valued new member of the Executive Committee.
Coventry Schools War, Peace and Reconciliation Conference
Delivered at the University of Warwick in March, school students explored how the United Nations is involved in War, Peace and Reconciliation.
In March we called a meeting in Coventry Council House so that students who were on strike for climate could meet Coventry Councillors. About 40 strikers showed up and 1 councillor. We organised a meeting with the leader of the council George Duggins and put the student’s demands to him, particularly the request that the council form a committee to coordinate the activities of school eco-teams. He said he was not able to do that, nor did he take any action on the other demands.
So in April the Coventry Branch revived Coventry Climate Action Network and created the website CovCAN.uk. This has since attracted a membership of climate activists, but has not been able to offer much support to schools.
Low Carbon Cookery Book
Around 30% of human greenhouse gas emissions come from the production of their food. We have therefore started to create a cookery book featuring low-carbon-emission recipes.
In July we had a table at the FarGo Positive Images fair and conducted a survey on the public attitude to climate change. We attended the Coventry Council Scrutiny Coordination Committee’s discussion of climate change and made contact with key members of staff. We had a stall in Broadgate at the Climate Action Week in September. We attended the Making Coventry’s Clean Green Future in October and a workshop organised by Coventry City Council on a bid for National Lottery Climate funding.
Human Rights in Action
In August we sent a Salome Kiknadze from Warwick University to Geneva (generously paid for by Coventry City of Culture) to study human rights and project management. She then returned and embarked upon a project to create animated videos about UK people’s rights and how to claim them.
We had around 200 visits from students from the 2 universities at the volunteer fairs, around 10% of whom got engaged with our activities. For example they acted as stewards at Coventry Young People’s Conference on Peace and Reconciliation in November, attended UNA Committee meetings and wrote articles for the CovCAN website.
We also supported the Warwick University UN Society in promoting public engagement and their own Model United Nations.
Restorative Justice Conference
In November we ran an RJ Conference intended to attract community representatives but the attendance was disappointing.
We have attended a national meeting planning for the implementation of the UN’s UN75 programme during 2020. As a result we created the UN75.uk website to support this group and facilitate the UK debate on the issues facing the world and how the UN should respond.
For 2020, we plan to continue our promotion of climate change reduction. This will include working with a group of researchers from the University of Warwick on an eco-citizenship climate project aimed at school children. As part of this we plan to create a website and a committee of school eco-teams in reducing school and community greenhouse gas emissions.
To support UN75 we will host conversations both online and face to face. We will conduct surveys to gather people’s thoughts.
We will continue to maintain our website UNACov.uk and produce monthly newsletters, as well as maintaining the CovCAN.uk and other websites we create. We will also continue to work on the cookery book.