Saturday 27 April saw over 150 UNA-UK members from across the country meet at Friends House, Euston, to debate matters of concern to the UN, and to identify policy positions to feed into the Association’s programme of work.
This was the first Policy Conference to be entirely organised by the 'Procedure Committee' elected by UNA-UK members. In response to previous feedback, this day-long event took on a new format with members submitting topics in advance, the most popular of which were debated and voted on throughout the day.
Natalie Samarasinghe, UNA-UK's Acting Executive Director, said "I was delighted with the breadth of policy issues discussed today. From the arms trade to international development to human rights abuses in Malaysia, it is clear that UNA-UK members care passionately about global challenges and have innovative ideas on how to tackle them. I look forward to working over the coming months on translating our debates into action."
The Procedure Committee will now produce a ‘Policy Conference Statement’ which will be available to all members on the UNA-UK website shortly. This document will also be presented to UNA-UK's Board of Trustees for discussion.
This biennial conference is one of three ways in which members can influence UNA-UK’s policy priorities. Members can also make policy suggestions through the Policy Inbox and the Policy Advisory Group (of which the Chair of the Procedure Committee is a member).
During the event, the following UNA-UK members were elected to the Procedure Committee: Tim Jarman (Chair); Andrew Boakes (Vice Chair), and regular members Janet Blackman, Trevor Evans and Elizabeth Richards. This committee will be responsible for organising the 2015 conference.
The event also featured the presentation of UNA-UK's 'Sir Brian Urquhart Award for Distinguished Service to the UN' to its 2012 recipient, Sir Richard Jolly. Sir Richard has had a profound impact on the United Nations' development achievements. Having served the UN for over 20 years, including as Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF and principal coordinator of the UN's seminal Human Development Reports, Sir Richard continues to work on UN issues at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex, and as co-director of the UN Intellectual History Project.
Since the award was originally presented on UN Day 2012 with Sir Richard in absentia, we were delighted that Policy Conference 2013 provided us with a fitting opportunity to confer the award in person.