On Thursday 28th September, the United Nation Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) held its national conference to review New Zealand’s progress on the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The UNA NZ is a national community organisation that aims to educate Kiwis on the United Nations (UN) and advocate for the ideals that the UN embodies.
2023 marks the midpoint of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With the last years being marked by climate change, conflicts and the COVID crisis, the conference explored what actions were necessary and urgent to achieve the goals set up by the UN. It had an ambitious programme, with six panels, each lead by a key speaker and followed by a panel discussion focusing on a theme.
Suzanne Manning, president of NCWNZ, was invited as a panellist to speak on the theme of "Ensuring Human Rights and Democracy." Other panel discussion speakers included Member of Parliament Ibrahim Omer; Ambassador Carolyn Schwalger, New Zealand's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York; Mary Wareham, Advocacy Director of the Arms Division of Human Rights Watch. Also, three other NCWNZ members participated in the panels - Vanessa Dhiru, Past NCWNZ President and Communication and Information Commissioner UNESCO; Eva Hartshorn Sanders, Convenor of the International Action Hub and Director of Hartsheba, and Joy Dunsheath, WFUNA Executive Committee and Graduate Women NZ member. They addressed issues on disinformation and building trust in institutions, reforming the UN, ensuring human rights, building international peace and security, climate change, and the role of the UN for New Zealand.
While the conference was unable to be offered in person due to safety concerns, the full programme was delivered online.
What was important to recall from this conference is that persistent challenges, such as climate change, extreme poverty, discrimination, and environmental degradation still exist. These challenges require continued action and strategic thinking. The discussions also focused on the importance of accountability of governments and actors involved in achieving the 2030 sustainable development goals.
In conclusion, the conference organised by the United Nations Association of New Zealand provided an opportunity to reflect on the progress and challenges involved in achieving the SDGs by 2030. It highlighted the importance of international cooperation and continued commitment in addressing pressing global issues. It is essential that we redouble our efforts to achieve these crucial goals and create a sustainable future for all.