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10 January 2019
This Year and Beyond, We Must Be More Vigorous
By: Stephen F. Moseley, President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area

Dear Colleagues, members and friends of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area,

The start of a New Year is a wonderful opportunity to review and reassess how we are performing and accomplishing our association's mission to enhance U.S. engagement with the UN to improve its effectiveness and work globally. We are proud of the exciting programs we conducted through-out the year on Human Rights, Global Classrooms, international law, anti-corruption, UN day, and the work of UNICEF. We are also proud of our enhanced advocacy with citizens and policy leaders in our community and with Congressional leaders. These are just some of the efforts. 

In turn, we can be proud of the progress of the UN, in it’s partnership with other global, multilateral and bilateral international institutions to address long standing goals which have improved the lives of millions of people around the world. These goals include significant increases in life spans for most people with better heath, more nutrition, more schooling at most levels for more children, protection and championship for human rights, especially women’s rights, and progress in setting goals for improving the environment to halt climate change, and to accomplish  breakthroughs on limiting nuclear weapons. 

There are now new strategic plans in place at the UN under its new leadership to increase investment in the management of violence and conflict prevention before conflicts break into warfare, to have reviews against measurable indicators of progress by every nation on the sustainable development goals. Internally, the UN's leadership has a management team with 50% women as of 2018.

Some UN sponsored talks are finally underway to find a peace for Yemen, facing the largest humanitarian disaster in recent history with millions of starving children. For our work this year and beyond we must be more vigorous in the face of many changes and challenges around us.  There are many new faces and voices in the incoming class of congressional and state legislators, that also means for us at UNA-NCA, there are more key people that we must engage and educate about the UN issues and how they can best participate. 

More and more young people are willing and interested to participate in global affairs on issues of climate change and the environment, on human rights, on poverty alleviation and to work for violence reduction and peace building, even more so than peacekeeping in the traditional UN sense. 

UNA-NCA is now, while still the largest chapter of the UNA-USA family, part of the growing movement in over 200 chapters across the country in most states and in many communities and campuses. In the past year we are all too aware that the current U.S. Administration has pulled out of its membership in the UN Human Rights Council and recently announced it will not support or attempt to enforce the findings and work of the Human Rights Special Envoys; it has stopped any U.S. national government efforts to support the global goals on climate change and continued to say it will pull out of the Paris Climate Change accords agreed upon in 2015; it has given only scant attention to the SDG's; and  has continued to threaten the financial support by the U.S. of most of the operating agencies that receive significant support from the U.S., including the UN Development Program (UNDP), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Women  and many others. 

In the past year, the Administration doubled down to prevent any legislation that would allow the U.S. to make payment to and maintain membership in UNESCO, and has recently refused to issue the funding appropriated to the UN Relief Works and Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), on a bipartisan basis from Congress, for the health clinics and schools for innocent children in Gaza. The reduced participation by the U.S. on a collaborative basis with the other UN members, is now undermining the achievements led by the U.S. for almost 75 years which has set high standards for human rights, sound and effective humanitarian assistance in the midst of wars, and natural and man made disasters, the thoughtful management of refugee crises, and global migration trends. Most sadly, there is now the risk the U.S. policies and decreased resources could reverse the dramatic gains made by all of us together for eradicating severe poverty, stemming the growth of new wars, stopping health pandemics which can threaten everyone in both rich and poor countries, make uncertain the actual climates needed for global food production, and reduce the stability and opportunity for economic growth in all countries which depend upon a process of global cooperation among countries, which is enhanced and reinforced every day through the dialogue among member states at the UN. 

For our work ahead this year we need your support and participation, and more volunteers to join our advocacy work, our substantive program panels, our support for the 1,500 kids we serve in global classrooms in 5th through 12th grades in DC, Maryland and Virginia, and we need your ongoing contributions to support our small staff and office for this work.

Please regularly read the Thursday UN Express that we publish and circulate to some 17,000 people every week, and look at our website for updates about programs, the names of our staff, program leaders, Board of Directors and Advisory Council members who all do so much to move us forward.  Let us know if you would like to volunteer more in these programs, become regular members of the working program committees, and to be considered in our 2019 and 2020 elections for program leaders, board members and Advisory Council members. 

Stand up and join in making our work this year even more successful in fulfilling our mission to making the UN and the world it serves, a better place for all of us and for our children and grand children. 

Sincerely,

Stephen F. Moseley, President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area