Participants at the event
The World Federation of UN Associations organized a workshop on the critical importance of peace as the baseline for all other post-2015 sustainable development goals. Funded by SIPRI in Sweden, the local partner for the workshop was the Indian Federation of UN Associations (IFUNA), headed by its Secretary-General, Suresh Srivastava. Taking advantage of the presence of both WFUNA and IFUNA members in New Delhi, UNIC New Delhi swung into advocacy mode and set up a series of meetings and briefings on the sidelines of this WFUNA-IFUNA workshop.
UNIC first held discussions with the World Federation of UN Associations (WFUNA) on its newly-established WFUNA-India Foundation and explored ways and means to collaborate with it in the various activities that UNIC already promotes with the State UN Associations under the umbrella of IFUNA. Beyond these activities, for the upcoming seventieth anniversary of the United Nations in 2015, UNIC also discussed possible collaboration for some of its unique ‘YoUNg@70’ project components. “We now have this new entity that is just being born,” UNIC Director Kiran Mehra-Kerpelman told WFUNA Secretary-General Bonian Golmohammadi and the Foundation’s representative in India Sandeep Bhutoria, “that is the WFUNA-India Foundation, which we hope will grow to be a new and vibrant source of support for diverse initiatives that seek to promote UN values and we very much look forward to collaborating with you”.
At the conclusion of the four-day workshop, Meghalaya Chief Minister and Chairman of IFUNA, Dr. Mukul Sangma, hosted a dinner at which he was introduced to various State UNA colleagues. He was very appreciative of the role that UNIC has played in energizing the UNAs and providing them with a strengthened framework through IFUNA cooperation. He hoped that this collaboration and cooperation would continue to produce even more impact. He talked of his vision of providing employment to youth, so that they are not just job seekers but entrepreneurs and job creators.
UNIC Director thanked Dr. Sangma for his support through the Northeast UNA network and the Resource Centre for the UN in the Northeast and commended the UNAs for their intensive efforts over the past few years in working with UNIC. “I am certain that your role will be even more significant in the post-2015 period and we at UNIC look forward to working closely and even more effectively with you all to achieve the new set of goals that are currently under consideration”.
As discussions focused on young people, the backbone of India’s population today, Ms. Mehra-Kerpelman lauded the role of civil society in helping to reach out to youth and also to use them as agents of advocacy and change. “This is where the role of civil society comes in”, she said; “Your role – your powers of persuasion, your ability to reach out to diverse audiences, to influence policymakers, the media, students and academics are absolutely crucial, and you are our partners in the field, promoting the messages of the United Nations”. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has observed, young people want “more and better job opportunities, a good education, access to affordable quality health care, responsive and honest governments, and increased efforts to tackle climate change.”