As we prepare to close out a busy year of programs at WFUNA and United Nations Associations around the world, the ink is still drying on a new UN General Assembly resolution that explicitly mentions our organization, commends our work and urges increased collaboration with the United Nations. This is the first such resolution on WFUNA since 1986 – a welcome accomplishment to end the year on a high note!
This year, our portfolio of programs has continued to grow, with the launch of new initiatives such as the Civil Society in Action for Human Rights program and youth programs, including preparations for the first WFUNA International Model UN taking place next year. Our previously existing programs continued to provide useful training, education, and materials to members and partners from around the world.
Our global network of UNAs around the world has continued to offer creative programs and campaigns on a wide-range of issues, including human rights, peace and security and sustainable development. Throughout the year it has maintained its momentum as the leading global network advocating resolutely for a stronger and more effective United Nations. We applaud all the hard work of UNAs, and look forward to more collaboration in the coming year.
In addition to the UNAs, we also greatly appreciate our external partners old and new, from the private and public sectors, academia and the world of philanthropy, which have made our programs richer and our outreach more effective.
This has been a year full of ups and downs for the United Nations and the world community at large. The post-2015 process took off full force in an unprecedented global effort to identify the challenges of the next decades and begin formulating a vision for a new global development agenda. The world watched in shock as the situation in Syria continued to deteriorate and the international community struggled to find an adequate response and take concerted action. With refugees flooding neighboring countries and news of more attacks, this escalating civil war is destabilizing the region and quickly becoming a global security concern. The grave situation in the Central African Republic cannot go without a mention either, as there is a very serious risk of genocide in that country. On a positive note, the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was an important step towards strengthening global security. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights celebrated 20 years of advances in human rights, while cautioning that much more work remains to be done. Finally, another devastating natural disaster, this time a typhoon in the Philippines, reminded us all of the inseparable linkages between people and the environment, and the vulnerability of society, especially in developing countries where one such incident can leave millions in despair.
WFUNA’s role is to commend the hard work and champion the successes of the United Nations, and offer constructive criticism that can help strengthen the institution. The dynamics of global governance are rapidly changing, and it is becoming more and more clear that achieving development results and finding solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges require partnerships between sectors. Consequently, we call upon the United Nations system and member states to reevaluate how they interact with civil society, and work towards a more inclusive, systematic and direct relationship. We hope that next year will be a year of bold positive steps forward in this regard, as we work together to open up new spaces for dialogue, resourcefully use creative innovation and technology to solve global challenges and continue to promote the goals of the United Nations.
I wish you all a pleasant and peaceful festive season and a productive New Year!