UNA-NCA's Sustainable Development Committee Holds Monthly Meeting and Discusses Environmental Law

On July 28, 2015, the Sustainable Development Committee of UNA-NCA met at the UNA-NCA office.

Jay Pendergrass, Senior Attorney and Vice President for Research and Education at the Environmental Law Insitute (ELI), attended the meeting as a guest speaker and discussed ELI's environmental, economic, and social work with the committee.

Mr. Pendergrass' discussion fit well with the Sustainable Development Committee's goals of organizing events, sharing information, and building awareness related to environmental protection, economic growth, and social development. The committee aims to build knowledge of sustainable development issues and the United Nations' role in responding to them. The committee anticipates a number of exciting events for the coming months, in recognition of the United Nation's 70th anniversary and the upcoming adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Stay tuned for more information!

The next meeting of the Sustainable Development Committee will be held on August 24, at the UNA-NCA office in Washington, DC. If you are interested in attending this meeting or getting involved with the committee, please contact Gautam Sharma or Kenneth Lemberg.
Farewell and Thank You to UNA-NCA’s Summer Program Assistants

UNA-NCA wishes to express much appreciation to its program assistants who worked in the office this summer!                                   

group             UNA-NCA team from left to right: Megan Penn (Director of Global Education), Alana Floyd (Program Assistant), Esther Kim (Program Assistant), Kristen Hecht (Director of Membership and Programs), Paula Boland (Executive Director), Camille Pasquinelli (Program Assistant), Nicole Graham (Program Assistant)

This summer's group of program assistants provided assistance in the areas of event planning and outreach, social media, communications, membership management, and research and development. Over the past months, program assistants worked on a variety of projects, including: creating the organization’s annual report, hosting UNA-NCA’s Annual Membership Meeting, participating in Advocacy Day on capitol hill, preparing materials for a Board of Directors orientation, hosting a peacebuilding program with students visiting from Cyprus, planning for the fall season of events and programs, and attending various committee meetings.

The group was also given professional development and networking opportunities through weekly seminars hosted by the United Nations Information Center, participation in professional skill building webinars, and registration to events that related to their areas of interest.

“Not only did this summer’s program assistants bring technical skills to the organization. On a daily basis, each one brought enthusiasm to their work, exercised patience as needed, and demonstrated determination to accomplish whatever task was at hand. Alana, Nicole, Esther, and Camille were an inspiration to me each and every day. I wish each one nothing but the best in their future endeavors.”
Kristen Hecht, Director of Membership and Programs
When asked to reflect upon their summer internship at UNA-NCA, here’s what the group had to say about their experience:

Alana "Being a program assistant at UNA-NCA was a truly rewarding summer experience.  The opportunities to participate in UN related events and get first hand experience working with an incredible non-profit staff and board.  The passion at UNA-NCA combined with the thriving city of DC made this summer an unforgettable one." -Alana Floyd, 2015 summer program assistant
nicole_headshot “I passed up a paid internship to work at UNA-NCA and couldn't be happier that I did. Throughout the summer no two days were the same, and as a team we covered all corners of DC to participate in events, meetings, panels, and volunteer opportunities. Kristen and Paula were amazing to work with, helping me hone my career goals and work on projects that were specific to my interests and helped me improve my skills. I am forever grateful to them for this experience.” –Nicole Graham, 2015 summer program assistant
esther        “Interning at UNA-NCA was one of the most eye-opening experiences of my life. I have learned so much through the countless opportunities that the organization provides, along with the mentorship and encouragement within the office. From United Nations officers to former ambassadors, I have met incredibly accomplished people, who have provided immense insight into a future career in international affairs.” –Esther Kim, 2015 summer program assistant
"I want to thank UNA-NCA for giving me the opportunity to learn more about the work of the United Nations, the impact that UNA-NCA can make in the community, and what it truly means to work in a fast-paced non-profit environment. Without a doubt, the internship exceeded my expectations and I will always be thankful to those who helped me along the way. The staff at UNA-NCA taught me what it means to love what you do and the importance of doing my work to the best of my abilities. UNA-NCA reminded me just how impactful an organization can be in a community and why I want to dedicate my career to the non-profit sector.” –Camille Pasquinelli, 2015 summer program assistant
New Reports Released by the UN

MDG Report 2015 Summary & Blurb

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Report 2015 has been released by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on MDG Indicators, led by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat. The findings show the final results of the MDG initiative, and springboard into the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted this year. The MDGs have annually assessed eight outlined objectives: to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; to achieve universal primary education; to promote gender equality and empower women; to reduce child mortality; to improve maternal health; to combat HIV/AIDS; malaria and other diseases; to ensure environmental stability; and to create a global partnership for development. Data is compiled by 28 UN and international agencies, and the report was produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. As a result of the MDGs, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by more than half, there has been a dramatic improvement in gender equality, and gender parity in primary schools has been achieved most countries. The rate of children dying before their fifth birthday has declined by more than half, maternal mortality has declined 45% worldwide, and combating targeted diseases have seen unprecedented results. While this report shows amazing improvements, progress has been uneven across regions and countries. World leaders have therefore called for the SDGs, to improve upon the MDGs’ impressive progress. These new goals will target inequality, economic growth, jobs, cities and human settlements, industrialization, energy, climate change, sustainable consumption and production, peace and justice.  
To learn more, view the entire Millennium Development Goals Report 2015, or see The Guardian’s summary of the report’s findings of what the MDGs have achieved.

On June 16, 2015, the Report of the High-Level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations was presented to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  The panel was appointed in October 2014 to assess the state of UN peace operations. The report indicates that after many consultations, thematic workshops, and literature reviews, the trajectory of UN peace operations must be altered and strengthened in a number of ways.  
While UN peace operations have become significantly more professional and capable over the past decade, the world still faces chronic challenges that must be addressed.   The panel identified four vital shifts that will help UN peace operations reach its full potential: increased political drive and design, more flexible and contextual responses, stronger global and regional partnerships, and further focus by UN Headquarters on field missions and protection of people.  
The panel provided a variety of suggestions to help meet these goals and reestablish a global culture of conflict prevention.  Recommendations included the creation of a victim assistance programme, provision of sufficient resources for timely recruitment and deployment of human rights officers, and establishment of a position for an additional Deputy Secretary-General, responsible for peace and security.  A list of the recommendations and the full report may be found online.  

UNA-NCA partners with UNA-USA on Communications Strategy

On July 23, 2015, UNA-NCA’s Communications Committee invited its members and interested individuals to an informational meeting about communication strategies and social media tools at the United Nations Foundation.

Amy Auguston, Communications and UN Relations Officer at UNA-USA, was the guest speaker at the meeting. Drawing from her extensive experience at the national organization, Ms. Auguston gave presentations regarding best social media practices and advanced digital strategy. Some highlighted key points were the importance of digital toolkits, social media analytics, and Facebook and Twitter etiquette.

FullSizeRenderSpecial thanks to the United Nations Foundation for providing our committee with the meeting space and technical support!

If you are interested in getting involved with this committee, have questions about the Communications Committee, or would like to be included in future meeting and event invitations, please contact Sandra Coburn, VP of Communications. 

The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2014: What’s New, What’s Old, and What to Expect in the Year Ahead

A dialog and discussion on the UN Human Rights Council

On February 19, 2014, UNA-NCA and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) facilitated an informative and insightful panel discussion about the United Nations Human Rights Council titled: “The UN Human Rights Council: What’s New, What’s Old, and What to Expect in The Year Ahead.” The panel featured speakers Wesley Reisser of the United States Department of State and Ed Elmendorf, former United States- United Nations Human Rights Officer and a decades-long leader of the United Nations Association in various capacities. Billed as an ‘insider’s dialogue’, the two panelists discussed some of the challenges facing the Human Rights Council and the current state of US engagement on the Council.
Watch the Discussion!

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