14 November 2013

UN General Assembly’s Fourth Committee discusses role of UNAI

The Special Political and Decolonization Committee of the UN General Assembly, also known as the Fourth Committee, at its 2013 annual session held from 16 – 18 October, reviewed a report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Department of Public Information, which included a section on the activities of UNAI.  In his report, the Secretary-General noted that more than 1,000 colleges and universities from over 120 countries were now members of UNAI, providing a mechanism for academic institutions to commit themselves to and undertake activities in support of the fundamental precepts driving the United Nations mandate.

Taking part in the Committee’s general debate, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, noted that the Department was forming new alliances and partnerships to attract newer and younger audiences, with a particular focus on students and the global academic community.  In this context, UNAI represented a global movement of minds committed to the exercise of intellectual social responsibility – and of supporting United Nations goals.
Several members of the Committee made specific references to UNAI in their statements.

Among these:

  • Gabon said that UNAI had enhanced youth involvement on global issues, including development, in institutions of higher learning.

  • India lauded UNAI and said that the academic community could play a crucial role in promoting the United Nations agenda.

A draft resolution, unanimously adopted by the Committee, encourages UNAI “to take effective steps to facilitate exchanges between the United Nations and institutions of higher education in all regions to support the common principles and goals of the United Nations.”

The resolution is expected to be adopted by the General Assembly in December 2013.