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13 February 2017

UNA-NCA's Cities for CEDAW Initiative

The UNA-NCA Board voted on February 10th, 2015 to form an ad hoc committee for the purpose of supporting citywide legislation, which embraces the principles of the UN Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women. (CEDAW). On March 3rd 2015, Councilmember David Grosso introduced the legislation. Unfortunately, there was not a hearing and a vote before the 2015/2016 legislative session ended. We are working to have it introduced again and will continue educating and advocating for a hearing before the DC Council Judiciary Committee and a vote this session.

Several organizations have joined UNA-NCA as Supporting Organizations and UNA-NCA is continuing to recruit additional partners to encourage the DC Council to support the legislation and help bring gender equality to the Nation’s Capital. If you are a member of an organization that would like to support this effort, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

If you would like to promote CEDAW in DC, please use our current flyer. For social media, please use the hashtag #DC4CEDAW. 

Thank you to all the organizations who have already signed up to support the legislation:

·         Baha'is of Washington, D.C
·         
DC National Organization of Women (NOW)
·         
International Center for Research on Women (ICRW)

·         League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia
·         Luz Maria Foundation
·         Mothers Outreach Network
·         National Advocacy Center Of The Sisters Of The Good Shepherd
·         National Women's Law Center
·        
Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington, DC
·         The Federal City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc.
·         The Zonta Club of Washington D.C.
·        
US National Committee for UN Women
·        
Women's Information Network
·        
Women Enabled International
·        
YWCA-NCA


We would also like to thank the DC Council members who sponsored the legislation in 2015. DC Council  Chairman MendelsonCouncilmembeDavid GrossoCouncilmember Charles AllenCouncilmember Vincent OrangeCouncilmember Mary ChehCouncilmember AnitaBondsCouncilmemberMcDuffie, Councilmember Yvette AlexanderCouncilmember Elissa SilvermanCouncilmember Brianne Nadeau, and Councilmember Jack Evans.





WHY CEDAW IN DC?


The United Nations approved CEDAW in 1979 and it was signed by President Carter in 1980, but it has not yet been ratified by the US Senate. By supporting a Human Rights bill we can help implement a citywide action plan to ensure equality for women and girls in the economic, political, social and cultural arenas.
In 2014, municipalities across the nation began signing onto the Cities for CEDAW initiative, pledging to step up where the federal government has failed and to implement the principles of CEDAW at the local level. DC has the potential to join the ranks of cities that have passed binding legislation, cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami Dade County if the bill is passed. Many other communities have passed resolutions supporting the concept of gender equality. 

The key provisions in the bill introduced in 2015 and potentially to be introduced in 2017 are:

·         District Government agencies will be required to conduct gender analysis reporting according to the guidelines developed by the Office of Human Rights (OHR)

·         The gender analysis will include the collection of disaggregated data and an evaluation of gender equity in the District Government agencies operations

·         Each agency will designate a management or executive level employee to serve as a liaison to the OHR to coordinate the completion of the gender analysis

·         OHR will develop timelines for completion of the gender analysis

·         Annually, OHR will develop a citywide action plan to address any deficiencies identified in the gender analysis reporting

·         OHR will present the annual action plan to the Mayor and monitor the implementation of the citywide action plan

·         OHR will make available to all District Government agencies training in human rights with a gender perspective

While we continue to urge the U.S. Senate to ratify CEDAW, we believe it is important to build support locally and begin to implement its provisions by passing CEDAW ordinances in as many cities as possible and securing the endorsement of mayors for this approach.  This effort will help to raise awareness of women’s issues covered by CEDAW as well as build a constituency of the public and local elected officials.  If you are a member of an organization that would like to support this effort, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




09 February 2017

2017 Call for Nominations for UNA-NCA Board Officers and At-Large Director Positions

According to Article IX of UNA-NCA’s bylaws, the Governance Committee of the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA) will constitute itself in a Nominating Committee from time to time. The Nominating Committee chaired by past president Karen Mulhauser, wishes to invite UNA-NCA members to submit names of candidates, including themselves, for vacant officer and at-large positions on the UNA-NCA Board of Directors.

According to UNA-NCA's bylaws, each member who has been in good standing for the preceding year should be given the opportunity to submit the name of any member in good standing for nomination for any vacant office or for membership on the Board of Directors. We invite your suggestions for nominees for the positions listed below. Names and a brief statement of the nominee's qualifications should be submitted by March 10th, 2017 via email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or via fax at 202-223-6096.  

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08 February 2017

Statement by UNA-NCA President on How International Treaties Strengthen US National Security


 The challenges of the 21st century are mostly global in nature—terrorism, climate change, pandemics, an interconnected global economy, among many others. International treaties are an efficient and essential means of addressing these challenges. Treaties such as the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Treaty, the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, the Convention Against Torture, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and some 12 Treaties on International Terrorism, to cite but a few examples, are critical tools in keeping our citizens and future generations safe from the ravages of war, environmental degradation, global instability, and authoritarian aggression. Moreover, they universalize values embedded in our Constitutional Republic and free society.

According to press reports, a draft executive order has been circulating in the Administration that would initiate a review of multilateral treaties to ascertain which negotiations or treaties we should leave. Hopefully it is on the back burner for the present. Entitled "Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties," the review would not involve treaties directly related to national security, extradition and international trade. Treaties that have been ratified by a two-thirds Senate majority presumably advance our national security. After all, the Senate has hardly rushed to ratify international treaties. There are more than 40 pending before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, some for many years. A constructive review would undoubtedly demonstrate the value of ratifying several treaties that strongly advance US interests. For example, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea would strengthen our hand in the turbulent South China Sea and Persian Gulf and protect our marine environment. The Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities would universalize US law on disabilities and even the competitive playing field globally. The Conventions on (1) The Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and (2) The Rights of the Child would enshrine US values in the fight against the subjection of women and abuse of children in other cultures. We should be embarrassed that the US is the only country that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. We have more company in failing to ratify CEDAW: Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

In a meeting this week, UNA-NCA's International Law Committee discussed the possibility of doing a series on how international treaties serve US national security interests. If you are interested in working on such a program, please contact UNA-NCA Membership and Program Director, Hanna Hayden ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

-Ambassador Donald T. Bliss (retired)
President, United Nations Association of the National Capital Area



07 February 2017

“The UN Association – USA: A Little Known History of Advocacy and Action” by James Wurst (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2016) Reviewed by Robert J. Berg

Robert J. Berg is the Chairman of the Alliance for Peacebuilding and former senior adviser, UNICEF, UNDP, UNESCO, UN Economic Commission for Africa and World Federation of United Nations Associations.

"I recommend the history of UNA-USA by James Wurst, but maybe for different reasons than other reviewers.

First, the good points..and they are many. The history of UNA-USA and its predecessor, the American Association for the United Nations, is one that is amazing. We are all well versed with how leading Americans in the mid and late 1940s backed the UN...Eleanor Roosevelt, et. al. In addition, I learned, there were a Who's Who of corporate, labor, media and national political figures who worked for and supported the AAUN and UNA-USA. And I learned that Eleanor Roosevelt didn't just support the AAUN, she started in late 1952 as a very active volunteer in it and later chaired its board for many terms.
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31 January 2017

Statement from UNA-NCA President on US-UN relationship

As Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation" went to war to save the world from Nazi/Fascism, a small group of quiet thinkers met secretly in the State Department to plan the postwar peace. Spurred by the visionary leadership of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Truman, the United States developed a new world architecture designed to sustain the peace. Cognizant of the failure of the League of Nations to prevent the second world war after it was abandoned by the United States, American leadership in San Francisco and in Congress (in quickly ratifying the UN Charter) established the institutions that are dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflict, the promotion of universal human rights, and the global uplifting of standards of living. The anchor, the United Nations, has not worked exactly as envisioned, but it has done extraordinary work in resolving many conflicts, advancing universal values and norms, improving the lives of the poorest members of the global community, providing essential humanitarian assistance to victims of natural and man-made disasters, and facilitating global cooperation in many sectors such as aviation, telecommunications, agriculture, trade, and disease prevention. Most importantly, for more than 70 years there has been no major war among the great powers. Presidents from both political parties have supported this new world order, and the United Nations has been most successful where there has been strong and effective US leadership, such as the support provided by and for President George H. W. Bush during the first Gulf War.
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26 January 2017

SAVE THE UN! Tell President Trump to Give Ambassador Haley a Chance.


We are expecting President Trump to sign Executive Orders tomorrow to drastically cut funding to the United Nations. These orders could also prevent the U.S. from supporting international treaties that affect several important American priorities, not the least of which is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). We must take urgent action!


Reports indicate that the first of two draft orders calls for at least a 40% decrease in U.S. funding toward international organizations. These cuts would severely cripple UN agencies like the UN Refugee Agency, UNICEF, and the World Food Program. In addition, the order calls for switching how we contribute to the UN, which would lead to radical funding reductions and our withdrawal from the body we helped found. A separate draft Executive Order appears to preclude the U.S. from supporting international treaties designed to prevent discrimination of women worldwide at the very moment when there is a rising tide of support in America for gender equality.

If signed, these Executive Orders would directly contradict what U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said last week during her confirmation hearing: "You can never win with slash and burn techniques. That doesn't work."

Please urge President Trump to follow Nikki Haley's advice and not "slash and burn" UN funding! We cannot advance U.S. interests and push for reform at the UN without funding the organization.

UNA-USA encourages members to contact President Trump in four ways:

Now and always, we are thankful for your critical advocacy on behalf of the UN. Stay tuned for more advocacy updates.

-Chris Whatley,
Executive Director, UNA-USA



23 January 2017

Join the Human Rights Committee

UNA-NCA’s Human Rights Committee offers human rights activists and others committed to the fight for human rights locally and globally opportunities for engagement, advocacy, and learning.  Aside from membership in the United Nations Association, no special expertise is required of members – only the willingness to engage, to learn, and make a difference. The Committee organizes panel discussions and events, including the annual Human Rights Day program on Capitol Hill to celebrate the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN General Assembly in 1948.  If you are passionate about human rights and are eager to help, we would love to have you join our committee. The next committee meeting is on February 6th at 6 p.m. For more details please contact co-chairs Christina Hansen ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Heather Hill ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

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23 January 2017

Support a Strong US-UN Partnership

In response to proposed legislation to cut U.S. funding for the UN, Better World Campaign President Peter Yeo advises, "Withholding funding from the UN will significantly jeopardize America’s influence and ability to steer the international agenda." Despite the many benefits of the UN, "U.S. funding for the UN amounts to only 0.1 percent of the total federal budget. Working with our allies through the UN means that the U.S. can share the burden of solving global challenges – and doesn’t need to go it alone." Read Peter Yeo's full statement here

A bipartisan poll confirmed that more than 88 percent of Americans support active engagement at the UN. Furthermore, more than 67 percent of Americans agreed that the U.S. should pay our dues to the UN on time and in full.

Let’s make sure the Senate hears us loud and clear: Active engagement at the UN is in our national security interests. Sign this letter and Tell Your Senators to Fully Fund the United Nations. Learn more about Why Congress Must Oppose Efforts to Withholding Funding to the United Nations.

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