On Wednesday 7 October UNAS/UNAE were represented at a seminar on the UN at 70. Following presentations by May East of Cifal and Johanna Keating for the Scottish Government (International Development), Dr Gari Donn (UNAS/UNAE) gave a brief account of the UN over the past 70 years. Speaking on the Peace and Security Pillar of the work of the UN, she drew attention to the profound importance of civil society in the implementation of UN resolutions.
Over the past years, UN Associations for Scotland and the branches have hosted seminars and conferences at the Scottish Parliament on nuclear non proliferation, Global Zero, sustainable peace and security, and a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in the Middle East (WMDFZME). The latter event brought together diplomatic, political and civil society representatives to discuss this key concern of the 2010 NPT Review and, as it turned out, was the only conference on this subject – States Parties being unable to agree to hold a WMDFZME conference. (Reports of these events are on the websites.)
As Gari said, ‘implementation of any UN resolution and, in particular, the new SDGs, requires informed and thoughtful inclusion from every country’s populations. But for the output of UN debates to be meaningful to societies at large, grassroots and civil society opinion must also be included in high level States Parties deliberations. It is a two way street – top down, yes; but also bottom up – and one the UNAS and branches pledge to sincerely support.’