World Federation of United Nations Associations

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World Federation of United Nations Associations
Abbreviation WFUNA
Motto We work to build a better world by strengthening and improving the United Nations through the engagement of people who share a global mindset and support international cooperation–global citizens.
Formation August 2, 1946; 67 years ago (1946-08-02)
Headquarters New York, USA
Website wfuna.org

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) was created in 1946, inspired by the opening words of the United Nations Charter "We the Peoples". Today it is a global network of people linked together through United Nations Associations (UNAs) in over 100 member states of the United Nations. These networks enable people to connect with each other on critical global issues, from peace and human rights to the spread of democracy, equitable development, and international justice. WFUNA programmatic areas focus on raising support and awareness for the three pillars of the UN: peace and security, sustainable development, and human rights.

WFUNA is an independent, non-governmental organization with Category One Consultative Status at the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and consultative or liaison links with many other UN organizations and agencies.

History[edit]

WFUNA was founded in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on 2 August 1946 by 22 UNAs.[1] The Constitution they adopted proclaimed that:

"We the representatives of the United Nations Associations in our respective countries, Believing that since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed, and Believing that the peace must be founded, if it is not to fail, upon the intellectual and moral solidarity of all peoples, Have resolved to combine our efforts to form an association of the peoples...to be known as the World Federation of United Nations Associations."[citation needed]

This was one year after the UN Charter was proclaimed with the opening words "We the peoples of the United Nations". Since that declaration, WFUNA has been the only global organization with the primary mission of supporting the principles and purposes of the UN through their network of member organizations.

Over the years, UNAs have been established all over the world, as new nation states were formed and joined the UN. UNAs are national entities that enhance the relationship between the people of a member state and the United Nations by disseminating information about UN programs and activities, mobilizing public support for and popular participation in those programs, and lobbying their national government, political parties and interest groups in support of the UN.[citation needed]

Current Leadership[edit]

President

  • Park Soo Gil

Secretary-General

  • Bonian Golmohammadi

Executive Committee Members

  • Jay Jethwa - Vice-Chair - Australia
  • Kathryn White, Chair - Canada
  • Zhang Xiao'an - China
  • Cissa Wa Numbe - Dem. Rep. Congo
  • Carlos Amat Fores - Cuba
  • Christos Theodoulou - Cyprus
  • Helena Laukko - Finland
  • Ramaz Aptsiauri - Georgia
  • Suresh Srivastava - India
  • Sun Joun-yung - Rep. of Korea
  • Kari Solholm - Norway
  • Alexei Borisov, Vice-Chair - Russia
  • Kwang Boon Lee - Singapore
  • Eduard Sagarra Trias - Spain
  • Aleksander Gabelic - G.S.Chair Sweden
  • Phil Mulligan - UK
  • Patrick Madden - USA
  • Norma Rojas - Venezuela

Treasurer

  • Sundeep Bhutoria

Vice Presidents

  • Beate Wagner - Germany
  • Ervin Gombos - Hungary
  • Rena Shashua Hasson - Israel
  • Mohammad Rashad Daureeawo - Mauritius
  • Damba Bir Thapa - Nepal
  • Harold Herman - South Africa

Friends of WFUNA

  • Amb William vanden Heuvel, President
  • Mr Louis Perlmutter, Treasurer
  • Amb Robin Duke, Board Member
  • Mr John V Pierce, Board Member
  • Mr John Whitehead, Board Member
  • Mr Michael Cooper, Board Member
  • Mr Maurice Strong, Board Member
  • Lord David Hannay, Board Member
  • Mrs. Gillian Sorensen, Board Member
  • Ms. Marilyn Haft, Board Member
  • Mr. Warren Hoge, Board Member
  • Mr. Alfred Ross, Board Member

Mission & Vision[edit]

WFUNA is a global nonprofit membership organization working for a stronger and more effective United Nations. Established in 1946, we represent and coordinate a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations and their thousands of members.

WFUNA's Vision

A United Nations that is a powerful force in meeting common global challenges and opportunities.

WFUNA's Mission

WFUNA works to build a better world by strengthening and improving the United Nations through the engagement of people who share a global mindset and support international cooperation–global citizens.

What we believe

WFUNA believes that peoples’ involvement in all levels of local, national and global decision-making is essential in order to achieve the goals of the United Nations.

Past Achievements[edit]

The UN General Assembly has adopted resolutions expressing appreciation for the Federations’ efforts to promote wider public support of the UN. In 1986 resolution 41/68 concerning questions relating to information dedicated an entire section to commending the efforts of WFUNA and UNAs around the world for their "mobilization of popular support for the programs and work of the United Nations".

Eleanor Roosevelt was an active participant in WFUNA. Since the adoption in 1948 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which she chaired, WFUNA considered human rights advocacy as a central part of its programs. A number of international seminars in different regions of the world have been organized by WFUNA on the teaching of human rights. The proposal for creating the position of a High Commissioner for Human Rights was on WFUNA’s agenda for many years.

In practical terms, WFUNA played a crucial role by helping people in those countries where human rights were violated, such as Franco’s Spain, some of the former communist countries in Eastern Europe and in the Middle East. WFUNA brought together people of divided countries – such as East and West Germany and Cyprus, and the opponents in conflicts, for example between Israel and Egypt in the late 1960s.

WFUNA helped promote "Security and Co-operation in Europe" (CSCE) by holding in 1967 the first conference on this topic. Other NGOs followed WFUNA’s campaign which continued until 1975 when the Final Act was signed at Helsinki by 35 governments, including USA and Canada, establishing the CSCE process. Further campaigning led in 1994 to the CSCE process that consisted of a Biennial Review Conference being raised to a Permanent Organization (OSCE).

WFUNA, including its African UNA members, made significant contributions to the NGO campaign for the abolition of Apartheid. The 32nd General Assembly of the UN, in 1977, received a resolution from the 117th WFUNA Executive Committee meeting, which requested:

"The Security Council of the UN to give urgent consideration to the taking of immediate steps to ensure that no State, multinational or other body or person be allowed to provide South Africa or Rhodesia with any equipment, technology or production of nuclear weapons of any kind".

WFUNA facilitated high-level informal consultations on disarmament issues between key experts of the USA and USSR during the Cold War. It organized a number of NGO Seminars on disarmament in cooperation with the UN, UNESCO and other NGOs.

During its history, WFUNA has served as a forum for global dialogues on development. Several suggestions, like the establishment of an Economic Commission for Africa, were first adopted at the WFUNA Plenary Assemblies and then endorsed by governments.

WFUNA has actively supported reform of the UN and its capacity to meet new tasks and challenges. WFUNA has continually received recognition from the highest ranks of the UN. The sentiments in this statement by UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammerskjöld, to WFUNA's 12th Plenary Assembly were shared by his successors: "I wish... to express my appreciation of your most essential service. At the same time, I wish to urge you to fresh endeavors. Over the years you have accomplished much and have acted with an ever increasing sense of your great responsibilities."

For many years WFUNA conducted a fund raising program based on the sale of first day covers of UN stamps and lithographs produced by artists and celebrities, such as Picasso, Lou Zheng Jang, Miró, Salvador Dalí, Ruben Leyva, Al Hirschfeld and Andy Warhol to promote the ideals of the UN. This highly successful program ran for several decades during the 20th century.

Now in the 21st century, WFUNA sees a need for the UN to rise to the challenges of globalization. True to the vision of its founding members, WFUNA is searching for ways of giving voice to the peoples of the world. Many member UNAs and WFUNA itself have been actively engaged in the various processes for reforming the UN with the aim of, in UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's words, "Making the UN a more effective instrument in the hands of the world's people."[citation needed]

Current Projects[edit]

WFUNA’s mission is to offer insights into what the UN is and how it works, as well as serve as a channel through which global citizens can join with others to become engaged in the critical global issues affecting us all.

WFUNA pursues this mission through our[who?] Strategic Directions which relate to the UN’s three main pillars:

  • Peace and security
  • Human rights
  • Sustainable development

These Directions are approached through three interrelated sets of strategies:

  • Education and awareness raising
  • Policy development and advocacy
  • Multilateral cooperation and development projects

WFUNA's main objectives are to educate about the goals of the UN Charter, and to encourage support for strong, effective UN.

At UN headquarters in NY and at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, WFUNA organizes UNA study tours for those wishing to develop their knowledge of the UN System. In the past few years, Model United Nations meetings have become an increasingly effective and popular means of educating students about the United Nations and global issues, which WFUNA supports and helps coordinate.

During this time of interconnected global crises, when the United Nations is more indispensable than ever, WFUNA has launched its Global Citizen Campaign to increase its capacity, resources, and programming in support of the UN. Taking place from 2009–2012, the Global Citizen Campaign includes targeted programs and activities that underscore the interconnectedness of global issues; promote cooperative and democratic problem solving; and educate and engage the youth of today to be leaders and global citizens.

WFUNA started new project called 'WFUNA Supporters' in Korea which recruiting Korean university students who can help WFUNA's work especially in Korea.[2]

Global Citizen Campaign Programs[edit]

Peace and Security

WFUNA is launching in 2010 The Responsibility to Protect: Mobilizing Public and Political Will, which addresses the need to prevent and react to large-scale loss of life including genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and will work towards its development, strengthening and proper application. Member UNAs will gain the knowledge, skills, and power to become effective R2P advocates in their countries.

WFUNA is implementing the Zero World program in the field of disarmament, which is a priority issue for the United Nations, and will have much international focus this year with the 2010 Review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. WFUNA's aim is to find sustainable solutions to conflicts by guaranteeing that disarmament, including the elimination of nuclear weapons, is a political priority for governments, and that relevant UN treaties, protocols, resolutions, and decisions are implemented and adhered to.

Human Rights

The Civil Society in Action on Human Rights Program aims at strengthening the capacity of UNAs to interact with international human rights mechanisms and to carry out human rights education and human rights advocacy at their national levels. This program will strengthen the understanding of UNAs of how to work towards the achievement of human rights standards in their countries by providing the necessary tools to interact effectively with the UN human rights system. WFUNA will provide ongoing technical support to UNAs in their work throughout the project.[citation needed]

Sustainable Development

WFUNA’s YOUth Impact Africa project will address the prediction that no African country will achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals in time. The project begins with a Model UN experience and, through WFUNA’s training and resources, grows into youth-led MDG community-service initiatives that impact hundreds of African citizens. Working with African UNAs, the aim is to provide skills, training, networks and guidance to young people to take action on the MDGs.

Go Beyond, WFUNA’s new climate change project will be launched in 2010. The project aims to educate about the interconnectedness of the climate problem as it relates to consumption and global issues. It will challenge consumers to go beyond viewing consumption as merely an individual act, and urge businesses to go beyond the bottom line. Go Beyond will promote innovative social solutions for combating climate change in the context of the relationship between developed and developing countries.[citation needed]

Youth Activities[edit]

The WFUNA Youth Network consists of United Nations Youth Associations (UNYAs) or youth activities and programs that are a part of their national United Nations Association. The youth network aims to increase youth participation in UN issues, and connects via online tools.

WFUNA itself is committed to engaging people of all ages, from all walks of life with the United Nations. In particular, WFUNA has regularly emphasized the importance of encouraging, inspiring and involving young people in this work. As a priority, all of WFUNA’s programs include a youth element, with some initiatives such as Model UN, being entirely dedicated to young people.

WFUNA will be holding a series of Youth activities and seminars, which will take place during the International Year of Youth, August 2010-August 2011. The first Youth Seminar was hosted in Oslo by UNA-Norway from 1–3 October 2010. The second Youth Seminar was hosted in Buenos Aires by UNA-Argentina from 29 June-1 July 2011.

The aim of the Youth Seminar Series is to develop the capacity of WFUNA’s youth network; to determine the youth priorities of UNAs and youth members; to share successful youth programs and communication ideas; to promote the strengthening and expansion of WFUNA’s youth network; to provide skill training to youth members; and to encourage collaboration with the WFUNA Secretariat and amongst UNAs and UNYAs.

WFUNA held Youth Forum recently in Korea twice; July 29-August 10, 2013 at Kyunghee University and January 1–18, 2014 at Seoul National University.[3]

Membership[edit]

There are currently over 100 UNAs represented in all of the world's regions - connecting hundreds of thousands of people to the United Nations. UNAs have a unique role to play at the national level in:

  • Disseminating information and educational materials about the UN
  • Lobbying the government, political parties and interest groups in support of the UN
  • Conducting Model UN conferences
  • Stimulating the media to provide frequent and accurate coverage of the UN and its programs
  • Collaborating with other voluntary organizations on projects related to the work of the UN[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Constitution of WFUNA (pdf format)". World Federation of United Nations Associations. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  2. ^ "WFUNA Supporters". 
  3. ^ "WFUNA Youth Forum". 

External links[edit]