You are here: UN associations from across the globe mobilise to defend multilateralism

1 November 2018

UNA-UK took part in a meeting of its sister organisations from countries across the world (the World Federation of United Nations Associations - WFUNA), kindly hosted by our colleagues at UNA Dominican Republic

A common theme across the three days' of discussion concerned how UNAs can respond effectively to the wide-reaching threats to multilateralism presented by resurgent populist movements.

Associations united around a declaration which was adopted calling for UNAs to mobilize and take action to defend the values of international law, human rights and the United Nations:

We are a peoples’ movement and the world’s largest network devoted to supporting and strengthening the United Nations. Our positive vision of global cooperation is being challenged, despite it representing our best hope to tackle the catastrophic risks facing humanity […]

Multilateralism is under threat but WFUNA and its member associations are mobilized and ready for this challenge. We will speak loudly with one voice for cooperation over confrontation.  For participation over exclusion.  For equality, dignity and security for every human being [...]

Our movement was born for this moment.

During the discussions, practical actions in defence of multilateralism were committed to, contained in UNA-proposed ‘resolutions’.

UNA-UK introduced a resolution calling for all UNAs and WFUNA to campaign for a leaders’ summit to take place in 2020 with a remit “to serve as a catalyst for fundamental renewal, reform and strengthening of the United Nations system.”  It also calls for national advocacy in support of a 2020 summit and informed debates in national legislatures.

The resolution was adopted by consensus with a large group of cosponsors, including: UNA Australia, UNA Bulgaria, UNA Cyprus, UNA Denmark, UNA Finland, UNA Germany, UNA Norway and UNA Sweden.

UNA-UK is delighted that the worldwide community of UNAs has pledged their support for this idea and we look forward to putting the commitment into practice, working with our partners in the UN2020 campaign and also through a UNA-UK-coordinated working group for global governance reform, supported by the Global Challenges Foundation.

UNA-UK was also pleased to see a strong focus on the issue of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers throughout the assembly.  Working with UNA-DRC, UNA-UK was delighted that a co-drafted resolution containing practical ideas for UNAs to campaign to stop sexual violence in UN peacekeeping was adopted. 

Read more on UNA-UK's Mission Justice campaign to stop sexual violence by UN peacekeepers

We were also pleased to support initiatives by UNA-Germany on the creation of a UN Parliamentary Assembly, by UNA-Sweden in support of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and by UNA-Mauritius, on the resettlement of those forcibly removed from the Chagos Archipelago by the UK.

The full text of all resolutions will be available soon on the WFUNA website.

The meeting also saw the election of the former head of state of the Dominican Republic Leonel Fernández as WFUNA’s new president. As well as being a renowned Dominican politician, Mr Fernández is a lawyer, professor and writer who has played a prominent role in international affairs.

UNA-UK would like to take the opportunity to thank WFUNA’s outgoing president, Ambassador Park Soo-gil, for his tireless support and leadership over the past nine years.