This year's political landscape has been a challenging one, making it even more difficult to tackle the growing global issues of our time. But it's important to remember: this year wasn’t all bad.
Over the past twelve months, UNA-UK’s grassroots supporters and activists across the world have been busy campaigning for equality, cooperation and justice. 2019 will not be easy. But by looking back at the progress we have made under difficult circumstances, it's clear UNA-UK’s movement is up to the challenge.
With this in mind, our 12 'yays' of Christmas shine a positive light on 2018 by highlighting success stories from within our movement and beyond:
- Our grassroots activists campaigned hard for a solution to the conflict in Yemen. Our supporters have been busy calling for urgent UK action - the latest UN-brokered ceasefire in Hodeidah is encouraging news!
- Our Fred Carver visited UN Peacekeeping Mission MONUSCO in the Democratic Republic of Congo to look at its work to prevent Sexual Exploitation and Abuse - an issue UNA-UK has been working on, and towards the end of the year we started to see some progress.
- We launched 'International Days' teaching resources, helping more students and teachers learn and teach about the global issues that affect us all.
- Our Laurel Hart joined experts and leading practitioners in the field of atrocity prevention in Uganda to share their best practices and find ways to strengthen national and international mechanisms that prevent atrocities. And maybe our government is listening?
- Over 100 countries sent representatives to support peacekeeping at UNA-UK's annual ceremony – the largest in Europe - to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the first UN peacekeeping mission. There was an unprecedented degree of political support for peacekeeping from across the political spectrum, with parties making bold new pledges of future support.
- Our supporters campaigned to get the best High Commissioner for Human Rights. The campaign built on our work to make UN appointments merit-based, open and inclusive and we were delighted to see progress made and a strong candidate chosen.
- Over 100 activists from across the country joined forces to share their ideas and plans on how to shape a ‘Global Britain’. This fed in to our 2018 'Global Britain' Scorecard - generating a buzz in Parliament, in local communities and university freshers' fairs.
- Local UNAs across the country celebrated UN Day - our Executive Director Natalie Samarasinghe gave a key note speech at UNA Canterbury's Service for World Peace in the Nave of Canterbury Cathedral, and Dr Purna Sen, the UN Women's Executive Coordinator and Spokesperson on Sexual Harassment and Other Forms of Discrimination, received this year's Sir Brian Urquhart Award.
- We were delighted to be invited to take part in the Paris Peace Forum, where we launched the Together First campaign - get involved here! And UNAs from across the world came together to mobilise to defend multilateralism.
- Our Executive Director became a familiar face, and voice, in parliament and the media. Representing UNA-UK on the Moral Maze, before Parliamentary inquiries (where UNA-UK had a busy year!), and winning the 'New Shape Prize' for the best ideas for reforming global governance.
- We launched one of our most radical, and well received, magazines yet: “The Colour Line”, which looked at race in global affairs, and who benefits from our global system.
- We got UNA-UK’s name out there. With articles, briefs, opinion pieces and blog posts: for the Global Observatory on Peacekeeping, for Control Arms on Yemen, for GAAMAC on Atrocity Prevention and for Chatham House’s World Today on Trump.
We hope these highlights will inspire as we rise to the challenges that 2019 will bring.