Convener’s Report to UNA Scotland AGM 1/10/11

UNA Scotland 2011


Convenor’s Report


Since our last AGM in Glasgow on 2 October 2010, the UNA Scotland Committee has held 3 meetings at which the following issues have been discussed.


1.             Finance and fundraising

2.             Development of Branches, Membership and UNA Activity in Scotland

3.             A UN Centre


Additionally, as Convenor of UNA Scotland I participated in a Festival of Politics event on the UN which was held in the Scottish Parliament in August 2011.  I have also attended the initial meeting of a Peace Initiative launched by Edinburgh’s Lord Provost.



1.             I will leave issues about Finance and Fundraising to our Treasurer’s Report.

2.             Regarding the development of Branches, Membership and UNA activity:

One positive development this past year has been a steady increase in membership.  This is welcome news and something we wish to build upon.  As you know, each member is a member of UNA-UK and then is allocated a Branch based on postcode.   For new members living outside Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, it is important that Branches are formed to they can play an active role in organising events and holding UN-themed meetings.


At our own Committee Meetings we have confirmed the importance of UN-related activity as a means of raising the profile of UNA Branches in Scotland.   One thought is to hold an event on one of the many UN Dates – for example, Edinburgh holds a conference at the City Chambers on the 15 of each September – International Democracy Day; and both Glasgow and Edinburgh hold events each 24 October – UN Day.


3.During the last year our focus of attention has been on establishing a UN Centre in Scotland.  Negotiations are on-going, but we hope that a Centre may be opened soon.  It would provide a home for all of Scotland’s UN Agencies and civil society organisations (UNICEF, UNESCO, UNITAR, UN WOMEN) as well as to UNA Branches.  Although it would be a separate entity to UNA Scotland, it is through Scotland that these initial discussions have been conducted.


As I mentioned, I have also participated in the August Festival of Politics session at the Scottish Parliament.  Also on the platform were speakers from UNITAR, UNICEF and UNESCO.   The event was well attended with subsequent discussions and follow-up.


These and other events will be uploaded onto a new UNA Scotland website.  We are extremely grateful to a number of universities who have allowed Ken Stewart to speak to PG students in website design, events management, media, communications, film and journalism courses.  Some of these students have become interns to UNA Scotland and will be helping not only with events but with establishing and maintaining the website.



Generally, therefore, this year has been one of moving forward.  Although we wish to increase membership, and extend the number of Branches, we recognise that activity may be the way to do this.   Having UN-led events, speakers and a Centre from which projects and planning can take place may make the next year a very exciting one.


Dr Gari Donn

Convenor UNA Scotland

07803176299 (mobile)





Scotland Representative to the UNA-UK Board of Directors

Report for Scotland AGM, Saturday 1 October 2011.

Dr Gari Donn (


As Board Member for Scotland, this past year I have attended four Board Meetings.  Additionally because of holiday commitments, I was unable to attend a Board Meeting on Saturday 2 July.  Martin Verity (Secretary of UNA Edinburgh) attended in my place.

Policy Conference

The July Meeting followed the Cardiff Policy Conference which generated much discussion about the nature of this organisation we are all members of.  Notably, the Conference – and the subsequent Board Meetings, have focused upon the arena in which policy decisions are made.  For Conference, the Conference has been the policy making forum – and many wish that to continue. Finally agreed, that does mean the cost of Conference will have to be organised through the hosting Branch/Region.

Charitable Status

However, with the creation of charity status, through the merger of the UNA Trust and UNA-UK Board of Directors, there is the possibility of re-structuring not just the staffing and Board membership, but also the way in which policy is made and translated into practice.

Strategic Plan

As Members, you will be aware of the Strategic Plan, which we have all been invited to comment upon.  That has now been passed by the Board and will be presented to Members at the AGM on Thursday 24 November at 3-5pm.  A venue has still to be communicated.

Head Office Activity

The Board heard from Phil Mulligan, Executive Secretary, about the on-going work of Management.  He has widened the work of the six members of staff by taking on a number of highly qualified interns. 


In terms of a Safer World, work continues on the NPT Report Towards Zero; there will be a delayed Youth visit to the FCO with a Minister attending; and a Roundtable event on Peace and Security.  James Kearney (the Peace and Security Officer) attended the Labour Party Conference organising an Event at which Margaret Beckett, Des Brown and Sir Jeremy Greenstock spoke.


In terms of a Fairer World, work continues  on R2P (Responsibility to Protect) in collaboration with Oxford University; there is work ongoing with the ‘No Women No Peace Campaign’ and a Pack is being produced for children on Gaps in a Fairer World.


In terms of a Sustainable World, UNA-UK is sending a delegate to the UN NGO Conference in Bonn; there has been a YPN meeting at Chatham House; resources are being produced for Rio+20, and a couple of weeks ago, there was an Opinion piece on the UN in the Guardian.


Post-Conference: The office staff, and Natalie the Communications Officer in particular, have been responding to each Branch about their motions to Conference and the progress made since Conference.


Income Generation: The main focus for the Executive Secretary has been Income Generation.  There are many new initiatives:

MUN tournament for schools at the time of the Olympics.  It is being called an Olympic Truce.  Costing £90 to register, each team of 2 school children and a teacher, each team competes in debate and discussions, negotiation and diplomacy to win the prize – a trip to the UN in New York.  Part of the funding for this (£10,000)  comes from an award from the Big Lottery.


The MUN approach is also being introduced as a Business Tool and an application has been made for substantial funding (£250,000) to the City Bridges Fund for start-up funding.  Phil has created a draft leaflet on MUN-for-Business, called, Globe: this will be sent to all business contacts and through the companies of the 3,000 YP in the YPN.


On 19/11/11 there will be a national MUN practitioners’ Conference.  Venue to be announced.  It is for experts and for each to learn from the others.  I just hope our own MUN experts, Rob Crawford, Frances Mildmay and Martin Verity will be attending.


UN Day Reception: At the Australian High Commission on 24 October at which there will be a Fundraising Auction (and a prize of Best UN Citizen presented to Dame Margaret Ansty).

Also: New web design and IT, office sub-letting, new projects and discussions with new funders

Back to UNA Scotland