“The UN at 70: A Year for Bold Action”
7th Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference and UNA-USA Members Day at the United Nations – February 20, 2015
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a warm and personal welcoming address to the participants, speaking particularly to the many students and young professionals in the audience. He highlighted his own humble beginnings as a child during the Korean War and his path to his current position, encouraging youth that they too could achieve and become involved globally. The S-G covered areas of terrorism and peacekeeping and encouraged faith leaders to work together, emphasizing the need to pursue human dignity and human rights. He went on to address issues of poverty and the pressing issue of climate change. http://tinyurl.com/m9hqgh3
UNA-USA selected the theme of the conference—A Year for Bold Action—to honor the many milestones that occur in 2015. These include celebration of the 70th anniversary of the United Nations, starting with the signing of the Charter in San Francisco on June 26th and its ratification declared on October 24th, 1945. Work on the Millennium Development Goals will come to an end and decisions will be made on the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. In March the 59th Commission on the Status of Women focused on Beijing+20 — what has happened since the Beijing Conference on Women in 1995 and where we want to go.
We heard excellent panels on climate change, global health, human rights and the situation in the Middle East, notably in relation to the rise of ISIL. Throughout the day participants met with Joan Levy, UNA-SNY board member, who staffed a resource table for UNA-USA and the UN Foundation.
The afternoon session began introductory remarks by UNA-USA Executive Director Chris Whatley. He welcomed Dr. David Nabarro, UN Special Envoy on Ebola. Dr. Nabarro, in his keynote address, recounted the history of the occurrence and spread of Ebola in West Africa and the efforts of the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. He paid tribute to the dedication of the national health professionals and others in the countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.
The day was a huge success and enjoyed by all.
Jeanne Betsock Stillman, President
President, UNA Southern New York State Division