WFUNA holds European UNAs Meeting in Brussels, Belgium

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) is a global nonprofit organization representing and coordinating a membership of over 100 national United Nations Associations.
13 UNAs participated in the WFUNA European UNAs Meeting, held at the UN House in Brussels, Belgium
13 UNAs participated in the WFUNA European UNAs Meeting, held at the UN House in Brussels, Belgium
Friday, April 27, 2012

On 23-24 April 2012, WFUNA held its bi-annual European UNAs meeting in Brussels, Belgium. Thirteen UNAs were represented at the meeting: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Participating UNAs received briefings and engaged in discussions with UN and EU officials.  The meeting was opened by WFUNA SG Bonian Golmohammadi and UNRIC Desk Officer for the EU and Benelux, Jean-Luc Onckelinx, on behalf of UNRIC’s Director Afsané Bassir-Pour. A briefing with Antonio Vigilante, Director of UNDP EU Office and representative of the Secretary-General at the EU followed, in which he shared his views on the importance of a stronger role for UNAs in reaching out to citizens of UN member States and building consensus from the bottom up on the significance of the United Nations.

Subsequent briefings focused on European institutions and their engagement in multilateral issues: Alexandre Stutzmann, Diplomatic Advisor to the President of the European Parliament, Michael Swann from the Human Rights Desk of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Cristina Gallach, Spokesperson at the Council of the European Union, and Kristin de Peyron, Head of Division, Multilateral Relations at EEAS. Exchanges touched on the crisis of the European Union, the necessity to strengthen its institutions - in particular the mandate of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Catherine Ashton - and current foreign policy priorities of the European Union, for example the strengthening of the United Nations, human rights, gender and democratization, and the situation of countries such as Syria.

UNA representatives met with Leo Williams, responsible for the Beyond 2015 campaign in Brussels, to look at ways in which the UNAs can engage with this worldwide civil society led initiative aimed at contributing to the follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals; and with Lubomir Georgiev, President of the International Documentary Millenium Film Festival.

During the meeting, UNAs had the opportunity to participate in parliamentary exchange of views with NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmusen, and the EU Special Representative to Afghanistan, Vygaudas Usackas; and a conference on the proliferation of nuclear weapons by Pierre Goldschmidt, Former Deputy Director of the IAEA, organised by UNRIC and UNA-Belgium.

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