Category Archives: UNIC Canberra Events

UN OCHA Responding to Humanitarian Crises in the Region

On the 7 November an Asia Pacific delegation from UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian  Affairs (OCHA) addressed a diplomatic briefing hosted by UNIC Canberra at our office.

Ms Anne Colquhoun, UN OCHA Head of Office for the Pacific Islands gave a comprehensive briefing on work in the Pacific region some of which is emergency response preparedness.

Part of this work she said included sector partnerships and coordination – working on packages that included emergency response architecture legislation and national management systems.

Although working throughout the Pacific particular emphasis she said was working within the south pacific region because of the area’s high disaster prone characteristics.

She also highlighted OCHA’s work with Pacific partners to ensure that vulnerable people of the  region are included in all disaster management plans; people with disabilities, women and children, the aged and people with different sexual or gender identities.

She also noted other current priorities which included preparing for the cyclone season in the coming months.

United Nations Day Celebrated in Canberra

UNIC Canberra celebrated UN Day at the Museum of Australian Democracy in partnership with the Museum, UNHCR, IOM and the UN Association of Australia.

The event which included a ceremonial flag raising by the Australia Defence Force and Australian Federal Police was themed on Human Rights in recognizing the Declaration’s 70th anniversary. Central to this was the opening of an exhibition of quilts by the Museum, where contributors from all over the world had stitched the words of each article of the Declaration into uniquely illustrated panels.

In speaking, the originator and co-creator of the project, the youth craftivist and artist, Tal Fitzpatrick described the enthusiasm with which quilters took up the call to promote the Declaration through their art. The importance of the Declaration and acknowledgement of the UN’s vital role in the world were also echoed in speeches by federal and local government officials.

     

Stories of Migrant Women by Migrant Women in Bega, Australia

UNIC Canberra travelled to Bega, New South Wales to meet with women at the Funhouse Studio to hear about the women’s lives and journeys to Australia.

As part of the day we all participated in a story telling project  part of which the women interviewed each other and recorded their stories and made this video as part of the UN’s Global “Together, Respect, Safety and Dignity for All” Global Campaign.

Thanks to Yvi at the Cooma Multicultural Centre for her continued partnership with us and of course to the women whose dignity and courage never ceases to amaze.

Human Rights Goes Bush

As part of the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, students from Gooloogong Public School located in rural New South Wales in Australia, learnt about human rights and then put together this video on what they learned and why they thought human rights are important.  The project is part of our overall campaign to talk about human rights in rural Australia. More student videos and audio interviews to come.

For more about the 70th Anniversary Campaign and about the Declaration please click here 

International Day of Peace in Canberra

The International Day of Peace was celebrated on the shores of Lake Burly Griffin in Canberra with the ringing of the Peace Bell.

The public ceremony included the UNIC Director talking about the Day and reading the Secretary-General’s message as well as the awarding of the ACT Chief Minister’s Rotary Peace Prize to the NGO, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF).

Mr. Robert Tickner, AO, Ambassador for ICAN in his keynote address spoke about the need to rid the world of nuclear weapons and urged for the ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.  In addition to the glorious spring sunshine, the audience were treated to the music of the Junior Concert Band from the ACT Instrumental Music Programme and A Chorus of Women.

Photo: Director of UNIC Canberra Ringing Peace Bell

Markets for Change – UN Women Project in the Pacific

Participating in economic activities allows women to effect positive changes in their own lives and their communities, with positive ripple effects for the whole nation explained UNWomen Pacific Technical Specialist Sandra Bernklau who spoke to us this week about the UN Women’s Market for Change Project.

 

The Project now in its eight-year, is a multi-country initiative that aims to ensure marketplaces in rural and urban areas of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are safe, inclusive and non-discriminatory, promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Short Interview:

 

Presentation to Canberra Grammar School

The UNIC Director met with year twelve students studying economics and politics to talk about development and the United Nations’s role in international affairs.

The interactive session covered an overview of the UN and its wider system and how the various parts work to resolve many of the world’s development issues.

Central to the discussion were the Sustainable Development Goals and how these were providing guidance to countries in meeting their development challenges.

The session went way beyond the allotted lunch hour as students posed a wide range of questions ranging from the work of different UN entities to how countries interact with the Organization.

Radford Student Visit

Fourteen senior year students from Radford College visited UNIC to have a round table discussion with the Director on the United Nations and the 2030 Agenda.

The session included a presentation on the origins, structure and work of the United Nations, as well as a more focused discussion on the Sustainable Development Goals.

The aim was to prepare students for a school debate focusing on international affairs and this resulted in many of the questions revolving around the roles of countries at the UN and how UN resolutions have an impact.  At least one issue was fully understood as every cake and biscuit was eaten, such that when the Director asked for one he was reminded that he had just told the students that they should all play their part in eliminating food waste.  They were obviously quick learners.

World Environment Day

Merici College invited UNIC Canberra to come to talk about the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals.

As the visit was a day before World Environment Day, it provided a great opportunity to talk about one of the key issues impacting the world, and attainment of the Goals, plastic pollution.

Many of the 130 year ten girls that packed the library looked shocked when they heard some of the statistics as to how much pollution there is and especially the thought that there will be more plastic in our oceans by 2050 than fish.

While the students were interested to learn about the United Nations and the 2030 Agenda, it was the problem of plastics that most grabbed their attention, leading to all the students at the end of the presentation showing their support for taking action to stop plastics and create a better world for all.