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04 November 2017

UNA-NCA Participates in the 2017 American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo


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From November 4th to November 7th, 2017 , UNA-NCA members, Toyshebia Napper, Stephanie Asher, Lanice Williams, and Wes Rogerson, participated in the  American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta, GA. Highlighting UNA-USA, through the lens of the Global Goals, our team was able to network with thousands of attendees, receiving contact information for over 400 public health workers (which was reported to be the third largest list gathered by a booth during this year’s conference.). During the expo, UNA-NCA representatives engaged with conference-goers who had a wide breadth of experience--from students, professors, public health consultants, former UN officials, and others. Conversations ranged equally, and connections were made between the UN agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of public health, climate change, gender equality, and more. Many attendees asked how they could make the connection between the SDGs, the UN agenda, and their hometowns. UNA-NCA representatives were able to speak to their own experiences as local UNA-NCA volunteers, committee heads, and advocates. Our team related the importance of SDGs and their impact on local communities. As we know, the SDGs and related targets are just as crucial to global public health as it is to public health in the US.  Many of the attendees were eager to connect with a local chapter.  Also, several attendees expressed interest in developing chapters on various college campuses. We look forward to many more connections made from this conference and in the future between APHA and UNA-NCA. 

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UNA-NCA Receive Awards for their work in Advocacy and Global Health
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On November 5th, UNA-NCA received an award from Delmock Technologies, Inc. and the Health Informatics Information Technology (HIIT) section of the American Public Health Association. The award was given in recognition of UNA-NCA’s work and excellence in advocacy, education, and global health in Washington D.C. and beyond. The award was accepted on behalf of UNA-NCA by Lanice Williams, Chair of the Young Professionals Program. UNA-NCA is honored to receive this recognition by both Delmark Technologies, Inc. and the HIIT section. Many thanks to the HIIT section leadership and Dr. Diane Adams for their leadership on public health and innovations. We look forward to building a strong partnership with HIIT section of APHA.



01 November 2017

UNFPA Worlds Apart Report


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Mr. Arthur Erken, Director of UNFPA, Division of Communication and Strategic Partnerships, and Editor in Chief of UNFPA's new report, "Worlds Apart: Reproductive Health and Rights In An Age of Inequality,"  presented the findings and his experience in meetings with leaders and local citizens around the world, emphasizing the gains made in countries such as India, Vietnam, Indonesia Rwanda, Lesotho and Jordan. In all of the successful cases of lowering maternal and infant death, he cited and described the narrowing of the gaps in wages for women, increase in the levels of education for women and girls, and the reduction or discrimination against women in the workplace. Concurrent with these social, educational and economic changes, come the opportunities for more clinical heath support for both prenatal care and examinations during pregnancy, qualified and experienced birth attendants, and counseling and access to contraceptive planning and practices. In turn the increased adoption of family planning practices, results in fewer children, more opportunity for women to then participate in the economy with greater training and work skills, increases in household income, and then better overall family health for all members of the family. He stressed the chain and linkages between improved maternal and child health and the key sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in 2015 and building on the successes of the Millennium Development Goals accomplished from 2000 to 2105, particularly increased levels of Girls education primary and secondary schools, the increases in policies for women to access paid opportunities in the work place, and the growing recognition by countries around the world that economies grow. With the greater opportunity and participation of women in economic endeavors beyond the traditional unpaid agricultural labor, an unequal burden is often placed on women, who also have large numbers of children born out of the absence of both education and availability of reproductive heath services.  

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This new 2017 UNFPA report traces and illustrates with data the intersection of inequality in women's health and rights and economic inequality in some 173 countries over the past 10 to 15 years. It illustrates in stark contrasts by country  where income gaps widened, gender gaps increased, and women's and childrens' reproductive and sustainable health stagnated, when women were not afforded access to education, work opportunities with fair wages, and availability of modern contraceptives, and antenatal visits during pregnancies. Most basic to these needs is to enable women and their families to escape from extreme poverty, and the opportunity to in fact build healthy economies is directly related to the full and equal participation of women in those economies.


UNFPA plays an active roles in helping countries to understand these relationships, to help deliver affordable village level clinical care for reproductive health, and to foster collaboration among sectors and agencies within countries to bridge these practices with education, health, economic planning. The Worlds Apart Report sets forth 10 key actions to accomplish the global agenda for sound reproductive health and women's rights. 


Most importantyly, Mr. Erkin emphasized that all of the practices and approached advocated in the Report are within reach by many countries with determination of country leaders.
All in all, this comprehensive and substantive report is demonstrating the inter linkages of women' rights and material and reproductive health status in and among the SDG's, very clear and insightful. The dramatic continuing gaps and unfulfilled promises in the majority of countries, and the growing or stagnating -gaps in equality of economic, contraceptive access, and unchanged gaps in opportunity between genders is sad and troublesome. Only three countries in the world have more than 50% of women in managerially positions. That is less than 2% of countries. 
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The clear summary set of steps for action is very helpful, yet need high level pronouncement and commitments from world leaders to accomplish change. The influence in the report about  media and communication impact is notable and promising.  This agenda cannot be an afterthought or down the list. It needs to be at the top of the list for all agencies working on the SDG's and development. 


The effort to achieve educational, economic, legal and service access must be stepped up significantly. The SDG's won't in large part be achieved if we don't address the gender gap for economic participation, and the barriers to that from poor education, poor health, poor nutrition, poor wages, unavailable reproductve health services, and the penalties to women who do work at low wages, and with no offset from double duty care delivery  at home, and male persistence of not recognizing these rights and of women and young girls. 
We now  have this very convincing up to date data, but frankly the underlying factors and issues and findings have been well laid and codified in 1984, and restated in the CSW annual meetings for now 25 to 35 years. 


We must accelerate the removal of barriers and make faster progress.
Thank you all so much at UNFPA for this report and to Karen as well for her help that evening of the report launching. 



31 October 2017

Global Classrooms DC Model United Nations Professional Development Workshop


Educator Professional Development Workshop Provides Open Forum and Skills Development

On October 20, InterAction, an alliance organization in DC of US-based international organizations, graciously hosted the Global Classrooms DC Model United Nations Professional Development Workshop. Thanks to a generous grant from the Rotary Club Foundation of Washington, DC, the all-day session was geared towards middle and high school teachers from private, public charter, and public schools in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. Educators shared their best practices to prepare their students for the upcoming Fall Training Model UN Conference, as well as sustaining year-round Model UN and global education programs.



Model UN is a great opportunity to involve students in international affairs through teaching them about UN actions and global issues, in addition to them participating in simulations where they are assigned countries to represent and advocate for on different issues – just like in the real United Nations. The activity is also one of the most effective ways to teach students writing, negotiation, researching, and public speaking skills. As a member of the GCDC Community, the year-round program, teachers get access to a full school year of 9-unit curriculum on UN policies, procedures, and global affairs to prepare the students.
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27 October 2017

UN Day Concert at the Colombian Ambassador's Residence


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Speech given by Stephen Moseley, President of UNA-NCA on October 27th for the Embassy Series at the Embassy of Colombia:
 

I am honored and delighted to be included in this evening’s program of the Embassy Series, so ably led by Jerome Barry, coming together on the International Day of the UN, celebrating the 72nd year since the signing of the UN Charter on October 24, 1945.

I am especially honored to be able to represent the UNA-NCA this evening in the residence of the Ambassador of Colombia, and in the presence of Ambassor Reyes and his colleagues, as their work and leadership with the all of the citizens of Colombia to bring about the Colombian peace accord is a great achievement. This is so noteworthy for all of us engaged in peacebuilding and development around the world, and at home in each of our countries, including here in the US and our own communities. I believe, and that United Nations will come to see, the detailed implementation plan for the Peace in Colombia is a great model to be watched and understood for its potential application not only to insure continued and lasting peace after conflict, but also could will be a model for planning and investment by other countries to be applied for long term  prevention in advance of violent conflict and civil war within a country.

With this as a backdrop, let me share with you very briefly some background about the purpose and activities of the UN Association here in the National Capital Area. This is a part of both a nationwide association in the US with 80,000 members in some 180 chapters across the county. There is also a related World Federation of United Nations Associations represented with citizens in 100 other countries. I am honored to serve as the nearly full time volunteer President of this largest US Chapter, which has 1200 members from the greater DC area including all of Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. We are devoted to helping  our residents and citizens understand the work and mission of the United Nations and to help advocate for a strong and effective engagement with and support of the UN by our citizens and by our US government administration and the Congress. We also express our opinions about way to enhance and improve the work of the UN.

We therefore provide education  programs  for some 1500 students throughout the area at some 200  middle schools grades 5th to 8th and in high schools grades 9th to 12th. For our members and outside guests we offer monthly events with speakers, panels and discussion and work groups on the subjects of peace and security, international law, Human Rights, including programs specifically on women’s rights, and on the full range of sustainable development goals addressing poverty alleviation, education, health, equitable growth and opportunity for all, and on the actions needed locally and globally for a sustainable environment, including the necessary attention to climate change from man made emissions. 

Our members are about 35% young professionals and students from all of the universities in the area, and the other 65% of members are diplomats, active and retired, business leaders, academic leaders and specialists, and both current and former staff in the World Bank, the UN and other multilateral agencies, NGO leaders, and former staff from various government agencies, including federal, state and local leaders. I hope more of you will join us in the year ahead. A few program examples include the recent review of the first two years of the implementation of the SDG’s- so called sustainable development goals for 2015 to 2030, with a panel made up of 7 ambassadors here, and presented and hosted by UNA-NCA with Georgetown University. Last month we organized a panel on the crisis with North Korea; and next month a program jointly with USIP will examine ways to improve the effectiveness of peace keeping operations and conflict prevention; and then in December our annual awards ceremony will recognize 4 noteworthy champions of Human rights, three in the international context, and one in the local community context. One of the awardees and speakers will be the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zaid al Hussain of Jordan. I hope in the many of you will also participate in these and future programs.

Here in Washington our Association is deeply engaged this year more than ever in education and advocacy  through meetings with our  representatives in congress and the administration about the acute needs for full engagement with the UN and for the full funding support needed now more than ever to meet the international UN agency work in Peace keeping and peacebuilding, human rights, humanitarian assistance for those in famine zones, and for the 65 million people now displaced and in desperate refugee situations. The US contributes approximately 25% of the UN budget. This is not an easy time to talk about UN needs here in our political climate in Washington, but based on my own and colleagues visits to our leaders this week particularly, I am more optimistic that there has begun again to be a greater understanding of these needs and for positive engagement in peacebuilding and long term sustainable development. But yes, there is still so much more to be done to face realistically the crises of ongoing violent conflict, extreme human rights violations, and the continued suffering of more than a billion people still living in extreme poverty. In the next few weeks I remain hopeful, that much of the threatened huge US budget cuts for UN operations, will be restored to the US budget. 

I will just end my comments to commemorate this year’s UN Day, by quoting from Secretary General Guterres’s speech to a gathering in the Central African Republic last Tuesday, on UN Day, where he was with officials and with the UN peacekeeping forces there:

He said, our world faces many grave challenges, widening conflicts and inequality, extreme weather and deadly intolerance, and security threats including nuclear weapons. We have the tools and wealth to overcome these challenges. All we need is the will.

When we achieve human rights and human dignity for all people- they will build a peaceful, sustainable and just world. Referring to the UN charter signed in 1944, "We the Peoples" of the nations of the world have the responsibility together to make this vision a reality.

Check out gallery pictures and more info here.








24 October 2017

2017 UN Day Celebration Through Advocacy on Capitol Hill

On October 24th and 25th, a UNA-NCA delegation of board members, past presidents, staff, interns, and volunteers advocated on Capitol Hill in celebration of the 72nd Anniversary of the United Nations. Serving Northern Virginia, Maryland, and D.C. the UNA-NCA delegation met with Representatives, Senators, and their staffs from those districts, speaking in regards to strengthening the U.S.-UN partnerships, the UN budget, and UN reform.

Speaking with Congressman Donald Beyer’s (D-VA-8) office, they emphasized the critical impact that group advocacy has on the positive influence of the UN. As a medical doctor, Congressman Andy Harris’ (R-MD-1) office shared with UNA-NCA their focus on global health issues and the affect it has on the international community. Congressman Harris has a strong background in the medical field and serves on the Doctors Caucus.
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18 October 2017

Stand Up For U.S. Support of UNESCO

United States full engagement in UNESCO is essential for world progress in Science, Education, and Cultural Heritage.  Unfortunately, this past week President Trump, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson announced that the US will withdraw from its membership in UNESCO on December 31st, 2018.
 
Ambassador Haley stated their criticism of UNESCO's historic preservation designation and purported labeling of the City of Hebron and its historic religious monuments as being "Palestinian", and therefore an insult to Israel.  Yet "Palestine" was listed in parentheses at the end of the designation, simply as the place of the Site, not intending to indicate the monument was Palestinian. The sites in fact are fully recognized by UNESCO as being monuments of great significance throughout history to Jews, Christians and Muslim alike
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11 October 2017

UNA-NCA in the Spotlight!


UNA-NCA has recently been awarded with the following grants in recognition and support of its work:

  • The UN Federal Credit Unit awarded $1,000 for wining its Summer Membership Challenge encouraging members to take advantage of the unique benefits only available from a credit union that serves the UN community. Join UNFCU if you have not already!
  • UNA-USA awarded $750 as part of the Stand Up for Human Rights Campaign. Special appreciation to our Human Rights Committee leadership for working on the event proposal.  Learn more about the campaign here!   
  • The Rotary Foundation of Washington DC awarded UNA-NCA a $4,300 grant to enhance the professional development opportunities offered by its signature program Global Classrooms DC.


Partnerships

  • UNA-NCA’s DC for CEDAW Committee is partnering with the University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law Legislation Clinic to conduct research about the gender audit process and D.C. government operations and to implement an advocacy plan with supporting local organizations. Learn more about the Cities for CEDAW initiative
  • UNA-NCA is partnering with the Better World Campaign/UNA-USA to develop and pilot brand new curriculum for the UNA-USA Model UN app on the refugee crises in Syria and Yemen to be launched later this month. Stay tuned!   
  • UNA-NCA is partnering with the Culturfied Foundation, a Washington, DC not for profit organization dedicated to fostering cross-cultural understanding by promoting the richness, variety, and originality of every culture through arts, education, and special events. Our work together will add a cultural component to the Global Classrooms DC Model UN curriculum and build cultural competence.



04 October 2017

UN Peace & Security Secretariat Reforms: An Important Step Forward?

By Richard Ponzio
Co-Chair, UNA-NCA Peace & Security Committee

September 22, 2017

With world leaders converging on New York this past week for the annual “UNGA” jamboree – including Monday’s high-level meeting on UN reform presided over by U.S. President Trump – even seasoned practitioners and analysts within our community may have missed Secretary-General António Guterres’ public announcement of his much-anticipated reform proposals under the heading “Restructuring of the Peace and Security Pillar” (See below).  Representing potentially far-reaching improvements in how the United Nations delivers on serving the needs and aspirations of billions of people for a more peaceful and just world, it is important that peacebuilders everywhere raise awareness, debate, question, and lend their support and additional ideas to key aspects of this innovation and modernization agenda.
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