Reflections from WFUNA Plenary – Tbilisi, Georgia

15 December 2023

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Reflections from Joy Dunsheath MNZM, Head of UNA NZ Delegation, Officer of WFUNA: Vice-Chairperson of the WFUNA Executive Committee

The World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) 43rd Plenary Assembly was held in Tbilisi, Georgia from 7 to 10 November 2023.

Georgia is a small country situated on the edge of Europe. It is on the cross-roads of Europe and Asia and holds a strategic connection between east and west and north and south. It is an old country of thousands of years, but it was annexed by Russia several hundreds of years ago. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 it finally gained its independence, though 20 percent of its territory has since 2008 been occupied by Russia. It is a brave, independent country with a free and inclusive society and a competitive and vibrant economy. What better place than Tbilisi, the capital, to hold our WFUNA Plenary? 

Congratulations to the strong and hospitable UNA Georgia led by Ramaz Aptsiari, Teona Lebanidze, and Otar Kantaria. Please view this film about the Plenary.

A month earlier Mr Aziel Phillipos Goulandris was selected to be the Secretary-General of the WFUNA. Aziel has had many years of engagement with WFUNA as well as successfully leading the Federation through the last crucial months following the resignation of the previous Secretary -General. WFUNA Officers & Leadership and Secretariat Staff can be viewed here.

The United Nations Associations Activity Report provides not only a comprehensive overview of our international activities but also it is a testimony of our unwavering commitment to promoting the principles and values of the UN on a global stage in times when they are needed. You can read it online here.

There was much interest in Georgia about WFUNA and it was included in the TV News each evening.

UNA Georgia and WFUNA co-hosted the Partnerships for Impact Conference: From Blueprints to Breakthroughs.  The thematic focus of these sessions was about the powerful role that public and private partnerships and effective private sector engagement can play in driving sustainable change nationally and globally.  This involved speakers from diverse professional backgrounds and insightful discussions with policy leaders and practice innovators from round the world.

Conference resources can be viewed here. I draw your attention to the Tbilisi Declaration and the Resolutions.

UNA NZ submitted two Resolutions which resulted in much negotiation and comment. They are:

8/B2 Resolving international conflicts through Law not War: Towards universal jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice

8/B3 Protecting the climate for current and future generations: The International Court of Justice Advisory Opinion on Responsibilities of States with regard to the Climate

UNA NZ was represented by Alyn Ware, UNA NZ Special Officer for Peace and Security and Joy Dunsheath. I thank Alyn Ware most sincerely for his knowledge, his expertise, and his pleasant, collegial manner. He networked tirelessly and successfully. 

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