United Nations Association – UK

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United Nations Association – UK
United Nations Association – UK
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
UNA-UK logo.jpg
Abbreviation UNA-UK
Formation 1945
Headquarters London,
 United Kingdom
Stewart Wood, Baron Wood of Anfield
Parent organization
World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA)
Website www.una.org.uk

The United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK) is the leading independent policy authority on the United Nations in the UK, and a UK-wide grassroots membership organisation.

Programme of work[edit]

UNA-UK’s policy work can be split into three main areas:

  • A Safer World: UNA-UK’s peace and security programme focuses on three issues crucial to building a safer world: nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation; preventing and resolving conflict; and emerging security challenges.
  • A Fairer World: UNA-UK’s human rights and humanitarian programme focuses on three issues crucial to building a fairer world: protecting civilian lives; upholding international law; and securing rights for everyone.
  • A Sustainable World: UNA-UK’s international development and environment programme focuses on three issues crucial to building a more sustainable world: building food security, growing responsibly and tackling poverty.

Alongside these broad policy areas, UNA-UK’s work includes cross-cutting themes such as gender and UN reform.

All-Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations[edit]

UNA-UK acts as the secretariat for The All‐Party Parliamentary Group on the United Nations (UN APPG), a cross‐party group supporting the aims and ideals of the United Nations. The UN APPG’s primary objective is to raise awareness among MPs and Peers – about the UN; about its myriad contributions across the areas of peace and security, development and human rights; about the scope of international law and its relevance to the UK; and about the applicability of the UN to the people who make up the British electorate.

In partnership with UN APPG Officers, UNA-UK sets out the strategic plan for the Group for each parliamentary session and reports back on the activity of the Group to its members.

The UN APPG meets six to eight times a year to provide a platform for high‐level international speakers.

The Sir Brian Urquhart Award[edit]

Each year, UNA-UK presents the Sir Brian Urquhart Award for Distinguished Service to the UN. The award celebrates Sir Brian’s unparalleled contribution to the UN, and is presented to individuals whose work reflects Sir Brian’s own dedication and endeavour. During his four decades of service to the UN, Sir Brian was instrumental in creating the organisation’s administrative framework. He is now a member of UNA-UK’s expert advisory panel.

Past recipients of the award include:

‘In Larger Freedom in the UK’[edit]

In early 2005 UNA-UK was tasked by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to conduct a public and expert engagement process on UN reform in the lead up to the UN Millennium Review Summit in September 2005.

A series of national and regional public debates were undertaken to examine the recommendations made in the UN Secretary-General’s Report, In Larger Freedom. The purpose of the debates was to ensure the widest possible public input into the development of the UK government’s priorities for the 2005 World Summit.

The events proved very popular, attracting a cross-section of society, including youth, trade unions, parliamentarians, NGOs, the armed services and academia. Common themes emerged: a clear and widespread support for a strengthened United Nations, and a reaffirmation of the UN’s unique importance as both a forum for negotiating viable solutions to collective threats, and an instrument for taking collective action to meet diverse threats, from climate change to terrorism.

UNA-UK compiled a report based on the feedback received and supplemented this with expert input.

On 28 November at Portcullis House Foreign Office Minister Lord Triesman and UNA-UK Executive Director Sam Daws launched ‘In Larger Freedom in the UK’. The launch took place following a talk by Edward Mortimer, Director of Communications and Chief Speechwriter in the UN Secretary-General’s Office, at the inaugural meeting of the United Nations All-Party Parliamentary Group. The audience included parliamentarians, UNA-UK members, staff from the UN family in London, civil servants and NGO representatives.


New World Magazine

New World is UNA-UK’s flagship magazine, providing news, analysis and commentary on a broad spectrum of UN issues. The magazine has a specialist readership of approximately 20,000 individuals and organisations in 100 countries: readers include academic institutions, some 10,000 students and young professionals, NGOs and think tanks.[1]

The association has been publishing news on the UN since it was founded, and has been producing New World in its current form since the 1970s. It is currently published four times a year, in print and online. Past issues of New World are available on UNA-UK’s website.

New World Double Issue - Autumn/Winter 2013

To coincide with UN Day 2013, UNA-UK released a special double issue of New World. The Autumn issue seeks to scope out the future trends and challenges set to feature on the UN’s agenda in the coming years, and role the organization may play in shaping them.

The special issue entitled ‘Urgent: Diplomacy Needed’, asks whether global solutions are still possible and examines why the year 2015 could prove a turning point for the world. The issue features an article by International Development Secretary Justine Greening, on the post-2015 development agenda, as well as contributions from former-MEP Stanley Johnson and Paul Ingram, the Executive Director of the British American Security Information Council.

After the Spring: Prospects for the Arab World in 2013

In Dec 2012, UNA-UK launched a major publication in collaboration with Witan Media, entitled After the Spring: Prospects for the Arab World in 2013. Aimed at scholars, practitioners and interested observers, the publication explores the effects and implications of the political uprisings that have swept the Middle East and North Africa since late 2010. It features contributions by over 50 experts from within and outside the region.

It covers the stories of change in Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen, and brings together an array of expertise on conflict resolution, reconstruction, development economics and national reconciliation. The volume seeks to bring us closer to an understanding of how the changes in the region have occurred and to offer insights into what may lie ahead.[2]

Global Development Goals: Leaving No One Behind

In October 2013, UNA-UK published Global Development Goals: Leaving No One Behind, produced in collaboration with Witan Media. The publication provided analysis and recommendations for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as well as the insights into the development of the post-2015 development agenda.

Contributors included UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, UNDP Administrator Helen Clark, UK Secretary of State for International Development Justine Greening, alongside a host of other leading experts and commentators.[3]

Key events[edit]

Kofi Annan speaks before the UNA-UK, January 31, 2006

In an historic speech in January 2006 at Central Hall Westminster, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan delivered a wide-ranging address under UNA-UK auspices to an audience of UNA-UK members, diplomats and civil society. Speaking of statesmanship and confidence-rebuilding, the Secretary-General outlined his vision of a UN capable of dealing with today's crises.[4]

Ban Ki-moon speaks before the UNA-UK, June 13, 2008

On June 13, 2008, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a speech under UNA-UK’s auspices in his first major public appearance in the UK.[5] In the speech, entitled ‘Securing the Common Good: The United Nations and the Expanding Global Agenda’, Ban praised UNA-UK’s role in cultivating constructive UK government engagement with the UN and in 'explaining the UN to the UK while helping to convey the concerns of British citizens to the UN'.[6]

UN Forum 2010

UN Forum was a major UNA-UK event held on 12 June 2010 in London, based around the theme: ‘A more effective UN for a more secure and just world’. Over 1,400 people participated in the event, at which H.E. Helen Clark, head of the UN Development Programme; H.E. Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; and Dr Hans Blix, former Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency delivered keynote speeches.[7] A host of panel discussions took place, as well as films & workshops on peace, development & human rights.

UN Forum 2012

On Saturday 14 July 2012, two weeks before the London Olympic Games, the UNA-UK hosted UN Forum 2012. Topics of discussion included nuclear disarmament, population and human rights, among others. Speakers included former UN Deputy Secretary-General Lord Malloch-Brown, Sir Malcolm Rifkind, H.E. Karen Pierce CMG and H.E. Kamalesh Sharma. In a surprise appearance, UNA-UK Patron Sir Patrick Stewart also addressed attendees on the vital importance of the UN.[8] With an attendance of over 1,000, the event was believed to be the largest civil society events on the UN to be held in the UK during 2012.[9]

UNA Youth Conference 2013 ‘Nuclear Realities’, 23 February 2013

New Nuclear Realities, UNA Youth’s 2013 conference, took place on Saturday 23 February in North London. Participants enjoyed lectures and panel debates with high-profile nuclear professionals, as well as UN careers guidance and networking opportunities.[10] Speakers included John Ducan, former UK Ambassador for Multilateral Arms Control and Disarmament, and representatives of BASIC, IISS, ACRONYM and Chatham House. Lord Hannay of Chiswick, former UK ambassador to the UN, delivered the day’s keynote speech.[11]


Growing out of the League of Nations Union, UNA-UK held its first meeting in 1945 – before the UN Charter had been finalised. In 2006, UNA-UK published a comprehensive history of the organisation, written by former UNA-UK Director Frank Field.[12]

A catalogued collection of the organisation’s publications, correspondence and other materials from 1945-2011 can be found in the archives of the London School of Economics.[13]

UNA members[edit]

The UNA-UK, as a grassroots membership organisation, has a large network of volunteer-run branches which give individuals across the United Kingdom a chance to partake in UN activities. These range from speaker and fundraising events to film screenings and coffee mornings, these activities raise awareness and interest in the work of the United Nations at a local level across the country.


UNA Aberdeen UNA Bath UNA Bexhill & Hastings
UNA Bexley UNA Birmingham UNA Blackheath & Greenwich
UNA Brighton, Hove & District UNA Calderdale Canterbury
UNA Chalfonts UNA Chichester & District UNA Cleveland
UNA Dartford & District UNA Deal UNA Dorking
UNA Dundee UNA Eastbourne UNA Edinburgh
UNA Enfield & The Barnets UNA Essex UNA Exeter UNA Finchley
UNA Glasgow UNA Gloucestershire County UNA Hampstead
UNA Harpenden UNA Highgate & Muswell Hill UNA Hull
UNA Ipswich & District UNA Lewisham UNA Liverpool Central
UNA Luton UNA Lymington UNA Merton
UNA Mid-Cornwall UNA Milton Keynes UNA Newbury
UNA Northumbria UNA Norwich & District UNA Nottingham
UNA Oxford UNA Poole UNA Putney & Roehampton
UNA Reading UNA Saffron Walden UNA Scarborough
UNA Sheffield UNA Shipley & Baildon UNA Shropshire (Church Stretton)
UNA South East Berks UNA Southampton UNA Stirling
UNA Stockport UNA Streatham & Clapham UNA Sudbury & District
UNA Sunderland UNA Sutton and Croydon UNA Tunbridge Wells
UNA Twickenham & Richmond UNA Warwick & District UNA Wealden
UNA West London UNA West Oxfordshire UNA Westminster
UNA Wirral

UNA Youth[edit]

UNA-UK has a very active youth and student programme. The UNA Youth, formerly known as United Nations Youth & Student Association (UNYSA), is a network of almost 50 university and college groups as well as individual members across the UK who exchange ideas and organise events to promote the work of the UN among young people. Branches coordinate most of UNA Youth's activities organising events such as workshops, panel discussions, conferences and Model United Nations that give attendees and participants a real insight into the work of the United Nations.

The UNA Youth Council[edit]

The activities of the UNA Youth branches are overseen by an elected council which is formed during the AGM. They serve as the link between the younger members of the UNA-UK and the organisation at large.

The 2013/14 council consists of:

President: Adam Badwari

Vice President: Kevin Harris

University branches[edit]

UNA Youth Aberdeen UNA Youth Aberystwyth UNA Youth Aston UNA Youth Bangor
UNA Youth Birmingham UNA Youth Bristol MUN UNA Youth Cambridge UNA Youth Durham
UNA Youth Edinburgh UNA Youth Greenwich UNA Youth Hull UNA Youth Imperial College London MUN
UNA Youth Kingston UNA Youth King's College London UNA Youth Lancaster UNA Youth Leeds UNA Youth Leicester
UNA Youth Liverpool UNA Youth London Metropolitan University UNA Youth LSE UNA Youth Manchester
UNA Youth Nottingham UNA Youth Oxford UNA Youth Plymouth UNA Youth Queen's University Belfast
UNA Youth Reading UNA Youth Sheffield UNA Youth SOAS UNA Youth St Andrews
UNA Youth Sussex Youth UWIC UNA Youth York London International Model United Nations

School & college branches[edit]

UNA Youth Warwick School UNA Youth Thomas Deacon Academy UNA Youth Pestalozzi - Sussex Coast College
UNA Youth Methodist College Belfast UNA Youth City of London School UNA Youth Bellerbys College Cambridge
UNA Youth Bishop's Stortford High School UNA Youth Ashby School

Young Professionals Network[edit]

UNA-UK’s Young Professionals Network (YPN) brings together a diverse mix of young professionals in their 20s and 30s who support a strong role for the UN in international affairs. The Network provides opportunities for like-minded individuals to meet each other and to engage with politicians and influential members of the business community.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Advertising in New World". United Nations Association – UK. 
  2. ^ "UNA-UK launches major 'Arab Spring' publication". United Nations Association – UK. 
  3. ^ "Leaving no one behind - UNA-UK releases major development publication". United Nations Association – UK. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ "UN Forum highlights - what progress six months on?". United Nations Association – UK. 
  8. ^ "Lord Malloch-Brown and Sir Patrick Stewart address sold-out UN Forum". United Nations Association – UK. 
  9. ^ "UN Forum 2012 - Bringing the UN to the UK - UNA-UK". United Nations Association – UK. 
  10. ^ [4]
  11. ^ [5]
  12. ^ "frank field pamphlet.qxd" (PDF). Una.org.uk. Retrieved 2017-04-06. 
  13. ^ [6][permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]