You are here: Our policymaking processes

Our Policymaking Processes

How is UNA-UK's policy framework developed?

UNA-UK’s policy programmes and priorities are set out in its periodic strategic plans. The organisation is currently working on implementing its 2016-19 Strategic Plan, which was developed in consultation with the UNA-UK membership.

What policy areas does the draft plan include?

The plan outlines three major policy programmes:

• Global Leadership: an active and progressive UK foreign policy
• Global Solutions: making the UN fit for hte 21st century
• Global Citizens: empowering individuals to think and act globally

How are policy priorities within these broad areas identified?

UNA-UK’s strategic plan identifies three priorities for each programme. Each year, these priorities will be distilled in a strategic manner into specific objectives within an operational plan, which is agreed and reviewed by the Board of Trustees.

Our membership plays an active role in helping us to achieve our objectives and to identify policy priorities. There are three main channels for this:

i) Policy conferences

UNA-UK holds regular policy conferences at which  members come together to debate issues of concern to the UN and to identify emerging developments. The conferences are organised by a committee elected from and by UNA-UK members, and the agenda for these meetings is constructed entirely from policy positions put forward by the membership. Those issues that are adopted are presented in a national policy document.

Click here for information on the 2013 Policy Conference

ii) Policy Advisory Group

The Policy Advisory Group advises the Board and staff on policy matters and acts as a sounding board for policy positions and suggestions from the wider membership. The Chair of the policy conference organising committee (the Procedure Committee) is a member of the Group.

Click here for information on the Policy Advisory Group

iii) Policy inbox

UNA-UK members often send suggestions for policy issues and campaign actions to the staff, either individually, or on behalf of their branches, regions and nations. In order to ensure that UNA-UK can react quickly and effectively to suggestions, we have set up a ‘policy inbox’ on our website to which suggestions can be sent.

Click here for information on the Policy Inbox

What happens after policy priorities are adopted?

Policy issues adopted by Policy Conferences serve to guide the work of the UNA-UK Board, staff and membership. Once formally endorsed at the conferences, those issues that are outlined in the strategic plan become UNA-UK’s priorities for the next four years. As a small organisation with limited staff and financial resources dealing with ever-evolving global issues, it is vital that UNA-UK prioritises its work.

Therefore, it is vital that UNA-UK members and branches support the Board and staff pro-actively in taking forward the issues they have identified as important, as the staff are unable to carry out substantial pieces of work on every issue.

As a grassroots movement, one of UNA-UK’s strengths is that its members and supporters can take forward its policy objectives. Given its resource constraints, UNA-UK relies on its members, branches, regions and nations to undertake campaigning and advocacy work at a local level, e.g by lobbying MPs, organising events and raising awareness, to promote the policies agreed by the membership.

The UNA-UK staff will report on progress via the UNA-UK website, New World magazine and regular electronic newsletters.

Members are invited to send updates on their activities, including reports on events and copies of letters sent to MPs, to UNA-UK Communications & Campaigns Officer Ben Donaldson on or by post to UNA-UK, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL.

What about issues that are not covered by UNA-UK’s existing policy?

Given the wide remit of the UN, it is inevitable that some issues of interest will not be covered by existing UNA-UK policy. Likewise, members may wish to take action in response to world events arising in between policy-making conferences.

In both cases, members are encouraged to:

1) Check the UNA-UK website (or contact Ben Donaldson on or 020 7766 3448 if you don’t have access to the internet) to find out whether UNA-UK already has a position and/or has taken action on this issue.

2) Send suggestions to UNA-UK: if you think the issue is not being addressed, please use the Policy Inbox to send the staff your suggestions.

Will membership suggestions be acted on?

Yes – the staff will endeavour to act on the suggestions they receive. If your suggestion is not acted on, it is likely to be because:

1) The issue falls outside UNA-UK’s mandate. According to UNA-UK’s constitutional documents, the organisation is concerned with issues that relate to peace, development and human rights that fall under the purview of the UN. Issues that are, for example, concerned solely with British domestic policy or with other countries’ foreign policy positions, will not be acted on.

2) The issue falls within our scope but is not a priority at present. Owing to staff and resource constraints, the Board has asked the staff to prioritise those issues set out in our strategic plans. While the staff will seek to act on as many membership suggestions as possible, it might be that they encourage members who are concerned by a particular issue to take it forward themselves. The staff will, of course, endeavour to support those members with resources and advice, wherever possible.

3) The action proposed does not take into account recent developments or is inconsistent with the UN’s formal positions.

Please refer to our explanatory note on policy processes for further information.