The following summarises the work of the United Nations Association UK in 2022. UNA Coventry is a branch of this organisation.
1. Marking UN Day 2022
On 27 October UNA-UK held its first in-person event since the Covid-19 pandemic began, marking UN Day 2022 in partnership with the Austrian Embassy in London. We were delighted to present the Sir Brian Urquhart Award to Rt Hon. Clare Short, Former Secretary of State for International Development of the UK. Honouring her dedicated work championing Official Development Assistance and energising the Millennium Development Goals, this year’s Award was marked with a donation to the Eden Reforestation Projects.
2. Supporting Ukraine
Along with UNAs across the world, UNA-UK stands in solidarity with Ukraine. We urged the UK to do more to support refugees – and called for a robust response from the international community on Ukraine. We are proud to have contributed timely analysis and advocacy relating to options states at the UN could take to address the issue – read our briefings on the UN Emergency Special Session on Ukraine and on the outcomes of the Human Rights Council Urgent Debate.
3. The incredible work of our network of members and UNA Groups
Across the UK, our passionate network of members and UNA Groups continue to advocate and organise on the big challenges facing the world – amplifying our voices and broadening our reach. Read about action taken by one of our most active UNA Groups, UNA Climate & Oceans, in 2022.
4. UN Reform Work in 2022
This year UNA-UK continued to build the work of our 1 for 7 Billion and Together First campaigns. In June we called on the UN Secretary General to carry out an open and transparent process to find the UN’s new human rights chief. We joined over 60 civil society organisations in writing to António Guterres, tracked updates on the process and measured its transparency via our transparency checklist. We were delighted to have secured funding from Open Society Foundations to continue our advocacy for improving appointment and election processes at the UN in 2023.
5. Facilitating All‐Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations events
In partnership with All‐Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations (UN-APPG) Officers, UNA-UK facilitated an excellent series of APPG sessions, including vital conversations with UK Permanent Representative to the UN Dame Barbara Woodward, with former Deputy Assistant to the President of the United States Fiona Hill and on the issue of protecting Ukraine’s cultural heritage. These events brought international perspectives to UK parliamentarians, giving them deeper insights into global issues and helping them hold the Government to account.
6. Launching our new Mission, Vision & Values and living by them
In 2022, UNA-UK refreshed its mission, vision and values in order to communicate our purpose, direction and ethos. Click here to find out more.
We also took steps to walk the talk – after a successful six month trial starting in January 2022, UNA-UK took the decision to move to a four-day working week. This was just one of a number of measures the organisation has taken to maintain a flexible work environment that fosters wellbeing for its staff.
7. Killer Robots Work in 2022
UNA-UK has campaigned on this issue since 2013 and is a proud member of the global Campaign to Stop Killer Robots while helping coordinate the UK coalition working on this issue. This year we were thrilled to help launch the Stop Killer Robots in UK Universities report, presenting the findings of a UK Campaign to Stop Killer Robots investigation into the role of UK university research in aiding the development of AWS. We look forward to continuing to advance this campaign in 2023, including through the newly launched special enquiry committee on the use of artificial intelligence in weapons systems proposed by one of our Parliamentary Champions.
8. Marking UN Peacekeepers Day with our annual conference and memorial ceremony
This year we marked UN Peacekeepers Day together with RUSI and UNA-Westminster. Embassy and High Commission representatives gathered at the Cenotaph for the Memorial Ceremony, joined by senior UK Government officials and prominent figures in peacekeeping, to lay a wreath in honour of fallen peacekeepers.
We were delighted to host a distinguished group of speakers, including UN Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix, for our associated annual conference. Read about the vital discussion on UN effectiveness in addressing the challenges of Peacekeeping here.
9. Highlighting opportunities to address harm caused by the UK’s nuclear weapons tests in Kiribati
With work under the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) bringing a new focus to responding to nuclear legacies, UNA-UK and Article 36 – together with leading academics working on this issue – launched a briefing on the harm caused by the UK’s tests in Kiribati in the context of new opportunities for recognition and remediation. Read the report which draws on the lived experience of Kiribati islanders and suggests tangible ways forward to address the harm caused.
10. Calling for more inclusive climate decision-making
In 2022 UNA-UK has continued to highlight the vital role that civil society can play in finding and implementing the solutions to the climate crisis. Together with the Igarapé Institute, UNA-UK spoke to young activists and members of civil society at the recent COP27 about their experiences at the conference in Sharm el Sheikh and the barriers that still limit their participation in climate governance.
11. Leadership in 2022
We were delighted to announce Marissa Conway as our new CEO this year – read her statement on joining UNA-UK. We were also thrilled to be joined by our first female Chair, Baroness Anelay of St Johns.