September 11, 2013
Update On Syria: U.S. Considers Diplomatic Solutions
Last night, President Obama said he will work with France and the United Kingdom to put forward a resolution at the UN Security Council requiring Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to transfer control of its chemical weapons to the international community for safe storage and destruction.
Although a number of negotiations and discussions still need to take place before a deal can be reached, a diplomatic solution through the UN is back on the table. Stay tuned for more information from UNA-USA as the events continue to unfold.
UNA-USA Voices Position for Potential Action on Syria
Over the past ten days, UNA-USA leaders from across the country have led a rapid response effort to craft a member-driven policy response to the unfolding crisis in Syria and pending legislative action. The position statement developed through this process represents the collaborative efforts of UNA-USA Council of Chapters Steering Committee members, Regional Representatives, Chapter Presidents, and staff at the UNA-USA National Office to address a pressing international affairs and human rights issue. The statement was sent to all members of Congress. Read the full statement here.
In addition, read the Executive Committee of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) statement on Syria.
Leo Nevas Task Force Continues to Promote U.S.-UN Cooperation on Syria
In the more than two years since the most recent crisis in Syria began, UNA-USAâ€™s Leo Nevas Human Rights Task Force has been out in front advocating for strong U.S. leadership on the Human Rights Council and resolutions condemning violence in Syria. For an in-depth account on the Task Forceâ€™s actions related to Syria, read the following blog from the Leo Nevas Human Rights Fellow.
Learn the Latest on Post-2015
The process to inform and help shape the Post-2015 agenda to advance the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015 is well underway. The summer saw much progress; read important updates, outcomes, reports, and stories in UNA-USAâ€™s September update. For more information on the Post-2015 process, visit www.unausa.org/post2015.
Chapters/Divisions Selected for Post-2015 Consultations
Earlier this summer, UNA-USA announced it would be partnering with the UN on leading U.S. consultations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda. As part of this partnership, the following 10 Chapters/Divisions have been selected to lead official consultations in their communities: Greater Chicago Chapter, Greater Kansas City Chapter, Greater Seattle Chapter, Iowa UNA, North Carolina, Northern California Division, Southern California Division, Southern New York State Division, UNA Denver, UNA Tampa Bay. Congratulations, and thanks to all that applied!
All UNA-USA Chapters have the opportunity to conduct a post-2015 consultation. This fall, UNA-USA will release a toolkit that will give step-by-step instructions for conducting a consultation. If you need additional information, please contact the Membership Department. Visit www.unausa.org/post2015 for more information on the Post-2015 process.
Thank A Peacekeeper Today!
In partnership with the Better World Campaign, UNA-USA presents an opportunity to rally entire communities behind the work of the United Nations, while supporting the vital work of UN Peacekeepers. â€śThank a Peacekeeper Cardsâ€ť were distributed to Chapters that requested them.
The three Chapters that return the most UN Peacekeeper thank you notes to UNA-USA will be invited to New York City to present the notes to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Your cards must be received by the UNA-USA National Office by Thursday, September 19 to be considered for the contest. Please send to:
Attn: Laura Giroux
1800 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036
For more information, please visit our website.
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:
UN Secretary-General Addresses Progress and Challenges in Annual Report
The UN Secretary-General released his report to the General Assembly on the work carried out by the UN over the past year, highlighting new priorities and challenges. In his annual report on the work of the organization, Ban said that the UN is adapting to new realities, among them an unprecedented level of interconnectedness, as well as unemployment brought about by the global economic crisis, increasing inequality within and among states, and environmental degradation. He highlighted various issues that the UN has been focusing on to address new challenges, including the shaping of a post-2015 development agenda, the need to tackle climate change, democratic transitions, methods to maintain peace and security such as mediation and peacekeeping, the promotion of human rights, disarmament and drug control, among others. He concluded that the UN would continue to adapt to a changing global environment and maximize the accountability of the organization to member states while minimizing administrative and supportive costs.
UNICEF Takes Steps to Increase Education Aid in Mali
UNICEF announced it will scale up efforts to help half a million children in Mali to restart their education, which was disrupted by the conflict and nutrition crisis in the northern part of the country. Spokesperson Marixie Mercado told reporters in Geneva the agency and its partners have already delivered learning materials for more than 90,000 students, and during the coming school year, 9,000 teachers will receive training and temporary learning spaces will be set up, while schools are refurbished or repaired.
UN Agencies Across the Globe Recognize World Humanitarian Day
The UN marked the 10th anniversary of the bombing of its headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq, an attack that claimed the lives of 22 UN and aid agency staff including the Secretary-Generalâ€™s Special Representative to Iraq, SĂ©rgio Vieira de Mello. The UN Secretary-General laid a wreath at UN Headquarters and participated in a memorial service in honor of fallen staff with a special tribute to victims and survivors of the bombing. In his remarks, the Secretary-General said that this date is carved in the collective memory of the UN family and it is now rightly enshrined as World Humanitarian Day. â€śOur blue flag may be tattered at times. Already this year, more of our colleagues have been killed than in all of 2012,â€ť Ban said, adding that the most meaningful tribute to the spirit of those killed is to carry on their work. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Under-Secretary-General and ERC Valerie Amos participated in a series of events in Brazil, and gave a statement.
In Baghdad, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman participated in a memorial service that included a tree planting and a minute of silence in remembrance of â€ścherishedâ€ť colleagues and staff members. The UN and its partners held World Humanitarian Day events in more than 50 cities around the world.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Calls for Action during World Water Week
In a keynote address to the World Water Week plenary session in Stockholm, the UN Deputy Secretary-General urged that now is the time for accelerated, energized, and concerted action on water and sanitation, calling for renewed cooperation on water management and access to adequate sanitation for the more than 2.5 billion people around the world without it.