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01 March 2021

Gender Equity Advocacy Opportunities: CEDAW, Congress, and More


UNA-NCA is committed to championing gender equity globally and locally. Take action today through any of the opportunities listed below. 

Safe from the Start Act 


Encourage your Member of Congress to support the Safe from the Start Act, introduced in both the House and the Senate. For more information about each bill, review this one-pager. 
Armed conflict, natural disasters and climate change often have the greatestimpact on the poorest countries, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable, including women and girls. Global estimates indicate that nearly 70 million people are currently displaced around the world, and we areexperiencing the largest refugee crisis in recorded history. On top of this, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically impacted women and girls worldwide, putting those who are displaced at unique risk of harm. Conditions in refugee camps and other displacement settings often exposewomen and girls to greater security risks due to issues such as inadequate lighting, lack of gender-appropriate sanitation facilities, and needing to travel long distances to access firewood, water or other basic commodities. Sexual exploitation and abuse by humanitarian personnel has also become a well-recognized concern, prompting action by the international community. COVID-19 has exacerbated these GBV protection risks, particularly as already stretched humanitarian resources are spent on stemming the health crisis. An estimated 31 million additional cases of GBV could occur in six months ofthe COVID-19 lockdown and another 15 million more for each additional threemonths. Despite the acute impacts that emergencies have on women and girls, they are often excluded from leadership and decision-making roles when it comes to humanitarian response. Without their voices included in the design and implementation of humanitarian programs, the United States and others that generously provide humanitarian relief risk ignoring or exacerbating theneeds of women and girls in our response efforts. 

Safe from the Start is an existing program implemented by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) toprevent gender-based violence (GBV) in humanitarian emergencies and protectsurvivors or those at risk. This program supports necessary training, toolkits, personnel, and accountability measures to improve the ability of those whowork in emergencies to adequately prevent and respond to GBV from the onset of the crisis. These types of programs are critically needed: nearly 1 in 5 womenreport experiencing sexual violence during a humanitarian emergency and therisks of domestic/intimate partner violence, child marriage, and human trafficking all increase during crises.Despite this, only .12% of allhumanitarian funding goes to address GBV.

This bill will ensure: 
  • Humanitarian response organizations are better equipped to prevent GBV and supportsurvivors through training, guidelines, and the deployment of specialized experts to close gaps that make women and girls vulnerable to violence and abuse; 
  • Efforts are coordinated for greater efficiency and accountability of response andrecovery efforts, and that humanitarian relief activities mitigate GBV risks from the very beginning;
  • Girls and women who experience GBV during crises receive appropriate care and that survivors  and those vulnerable to GBV have access to empowerment opportunities that will help them recover from or prevent GBV; and
  • Local actors, including women's groups and others from the impacted communities, have funding, support, and skills to help provide necessary care and lead efforts within their communities to prevent and respond to GBV. 
Encourage your Member of Congress to support the Safe from the Start Act, introduced in both the House and the Senate, or thank them for their support. You can find their sponsorship status and social media handles below. 
 

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Take advantage of this digital advocacy toolkit from our partners at CARE to craft effective messages on social media to thank your Member of Congress or encourage them to support the Safe from the Start Act. 


DC for CEDAW: Gender Equity Coalition  


Tell the DC Council that it's time to champion gender equity at home. Join our mailing list to recieve updates about forthcoming sign-on letters and legislative meetings here

At a time when achieving gender equality will take an estimated 100 years at our pre-COVID rate of progress, we need local solutions that advance women’s equal rights and opportunities now more than ever. COVID-19 has further threatened the physical safety and stability of women and girls; in DC, increasing rates of domestic violence and high unemployment have forced an unprecedented number of women and children into homelessness.


DC for CEDAW is a campaign to adopt the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) into city legislation. Through legislation that requires DC government agencies to report gender analysis data and develop a citywide plan to ensure parity for women and girls in all arenas, we move one step closer to enshrining true equality. 
 
Mayors from San Francisco and Los Angeles reported that these measures “materially improved the lives of women” in their municipalities and “fostered more transparent and accountable governance.” 

For more information, view our DC for CEDAW one-pager here. To learn more about the Cities for CEDAW national campaign, click here
 
Tell the DC Council that it's time to champion gender equity at home. Join our mailing list to recieve updates about forthcoming sign-on letters and legislative meetings here


 



15 April 2021

Advocacy Workshop + Congressional Meetings


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Join UNA-NCA and refugee resettlement firm Lutheran Social Services (LSS) on Thursday, April 15th for a dynamic Advocacy Workshop. 

From 1:00-2:30pm ET, experienced advocates and storytellers will offer a hands-on guide to preparing for a virtual Congressional meeting, maximizing your impact as an advocate, and driving successful policy change at the federal or municipal level. 

This workshop is crafted for anyone interested in advancing human rights and sustainable development through partnerships with policymakers, whether or not you have any experience participating in Congressional advocacy. 

Participants will receive a brand new Advocacy Action Guide with strategies for effective advocacy as well as a briefing on the latest updates in the landscape of refugee and migrant rights. The workshop will also include simulated meetings, where participants can practice putting these tips and tricks to use in a dynamic, friendly environment. 

This is an ideal opportunity: 
  • If you have never participated in a virtual Congressional meeting and would like to join in asking legislators to support human rights and other critical pieces of legislation. 
  • If you are interested in connecting with fellow Advocates. 
  • If you are eager to deepen your understanding of the UN, the Sustainable Development Goals, and immigration policy
  • If you are seeking to build confidence and technique as an advocate. 

Register here


Ready to take it one step further? Refugee Council USA (RCUSA) will be hosting Congressional meetings following our workshop. Find more details and information on how to register below. 

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16 April 2021

GCDC Spring 2021 Model UN Conference

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The 17th annual Global Classrooms DC Model UN Conference is taking place virtually on April 16th from 3:00-6:30pm and April 17th from 10:00-1:30pm via Zoom! The conference is open to all middle and high school students.

This year's conference features all new engaging and relevant topics, including:
  • Combat Religious Discrimination - UN Human Rights Council 
  • The Impacts of Climate and Air Quality on Diverse Communities - UN Environment Programme: 
  • Occupational Safety and Health at Work - International Labour Organization
  • Migration and Mobility - International Organization for Migration
  • The UN at 75 - the Future of UN Peacekeeping - UN Security Council

We're working with our UN partners to make this virtual conference exciting and engaging and will also be offering an invitation to an exclusive roundtable with experts from UN agencies, current, and former ambassadors, and UNA-NCA leadership for best delegates in each committee.

Don't miss out on this exciting experience! Register here before April 9th.

Looking for ways to support students for the conference? Click here to Support a Delegate.



30 April 2021

Young Professionals Mentorship Program

Interested in career guidance? Want to virtually chat and network with someone in your field?

The UN Association of the National Capital Area Young Professionals (UNA-NCA YP) are hosting part two of their virtual office hours to provide career insight and mentorship in various fields.

UNA-NCA YP are looking for:

  1. Mentors who can dedicate time to answer any questions regarding their mentee's career, work with the UNA-NCA, and much more.
  2. Mentees who are interested in career guidance and networking with professionals in their field of interest. 

Deadline to apply is Friday, April 30, 2021 at 5:00 PM EDT. 

Access the mentor and mentee sign-up forms below:



04 May 2021

2021 UNA-NCA Human Rights Awards Nominations

The United Nations Association of the National Capital Area’s (UNA-NCA) annual Human Rights Awards Reception commemorates the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by presenting the Louis B. Sohn Human Rights Award, the Perdita Huston Human Rights Award, the F. Allen “Tex” Harris Diplomacy Award, and the Community Human Rights Award to individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions in the field of human rights.  This year, we are excited to announce a new Emerging Leaders Award, to be presented to persons under 40 who advocate for respect for human rights and the SDGs.

We invite you to submit your nominations for the 2021 UNA-NCA Human Rights Awards. This is an opportunity for you to honor those you know who are working to further human rights, and we are excited to see who this year’s recipients will be.
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06 May 2021

Decade of Action: Women in UN Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding


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As we celebrate the 64th anniversary of women's participation in UN peacekeeping operations, much progress has been made to promote the full, effective and meaningful participation of women at all levels in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Over the past three decades, the share of women peacekeepers has risen from only 1% to 5% of all military contingents and 11% of all uniformed police units. Women are promoted to executive roles that shape the future of peacekeeping and peacebuilding, from Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations to Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs.

Yet, more outreach is needed to educate the public and elected officials about the vital impact of women in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. Are female peacekeepers more effective at de-escalating violence than their male counterparts? Why are women still underrepresented in peacekeeping missions? And what remains to be done? Presented by the United Nations Association of the National Capital Area (UNA-NCA)’s Peace and Security Committee, this event looks to further examine the key contributions of women in UN military peacekeeping efforts and continuing challenges. 

Event Speakers:


When: Thursday, May 6, 2021
Time: 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm ET
Where: Zoom
Cost: Free

Register Here




13 May 2021

Emerging Advocates and Leaders Roundtable


Join the 2020-2021 cohort of UNA-NCA Advocacy Fellows in celebrating their exciting individual and group research projects. Advocacy Fellows play an integral role on UNA-NCA's advocacy team, as they mobilize around the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals and broader UN agenda while spearheading original research. Fellows include current undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students. 

On Thursday, May 13 from 1:00-3:00pm ET, Fellows will share highlights from their work and reflect on their experience with UNA-NCA. The three presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A. 

COVID-19 and Food Insecurity: The Impact of the Pandemic on the National Capital Area 
Presented by Ava Kargosha, Neval Mulaomerovic, and Adina Mobin

Inequity and Environmental Management Resources: Riversmart DC
Presented by Torre Ippolito and Raphael Piliero 

Mental Health, SDG 3, and Advocacy Fatigue: An Advocate's Guide 
Presented by Kayleigh Thompson, Ana Lipton, and Katie Ng Ross 

Panel Discussion
  • Cassidy Childs, "Wildfires, Climate Change, and Resilience"
  • Julie Choi, "Whitewashing and Racism in Hollywood: How it Affects Asian-Americans"
  • Ryan Oberlag, "What has the UN done for me? The Slow Progression of LGBTQ Rights at the UN"
  • Marissa Zupancic, "Immigration, Surveillance, and the Right to Privacy"
  • Nadjad Nikabou Salifou, "Social Entrepreneurship's Transformation of Agriculture in Sub-Saharan Africa" 

 

Register here.


As an Advocacy Fellow, you have the opportunity to develop and author blog posts, policy memos, issues briefs, and more. Participants pitch research ideas and work closely with the Managing Director of Advocacy and Policy Strategy to expand resources and engagement across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Fellows also have the opportunity to participate in Congressional meetings, advocacy trainings, professional development/networking sessions, and more exclusive opportunities to engage with UN leadership. You can read the latest publications from our current Advocacy Fellows here. To learn more about how you can become an Advocacy Fellow, contact shayna@unanca.org.