Wednesday, 7 July 2010

NEP Assistant Heather Rogers reports from a recent event:

The 12th June inaugural UNA Forum was a rare opportunity to listen to a range of leading world leaders and thinkers on peace, development and human rights. It was refreshing to see a packed audience of different ages and backgrounds come together to ask questions about the strengths and the weaknesses of the UN and engage in workshops.

Mary Robinson’s impressive speech about the connection between climate change and human rights, gave accounts of the individuals she had met whose livelihoods had been destroyed by climate change. She stressed the importance of not buying into the climate sceptic’s agenda or general climate apathy, and her organisation, Realising Rights, runs a Climate Wise Women Project.

Dr Hans Blix gave an eloquent and thought provoking speech, reminding the audience that the UNA’s aim was ‘not to take us to heaven, but to prevent us from going to hell’. Other speakers included Helen Clark, Henry Bellingham MP, the FCO Minister (with responsibility for the enduring relevance of the UN and UK foreign policy) and Baroness Williams of Crosby.

Our own Policy Officer, Charlotte Gage, also spoke on a panel on Peace, Development and Human Rights - Pressing UN issues for women, about the UN CEDAW Convention and how this is relevant and can be used by women's organisations in the UK. You can see all the presentations here.

The forum was enjoyable, enlightening and enabled members to find out how they could become involved in UNA-UK at a local and national level. I very much hope that the forum will become a fixed item on the UNA’s annual calendar.