2010 May | UNA Greater Seattle Chapter

United Nations Association Greater Seattle Chapter

UNA’s Iran Tour Experiences

May 24th, 2010 by UNA Seattle

At one a.m. on Monday morning April 5th, when our KLM flight carrying 18 members of the United Nations Association of America landed at Tehran’s new international airport I wondered what additional security measures I would witness at the airport. Would there be revolutionary guards or soldiers posted all over? Would the security be a lot more visible than in November 2009, when I was here last. The airport was calm with no signs of any tension. We went through customs without a suite case being opened or anyone being questioned or searched. This was the second delegation sponsored in one year by the greater Seattle chapter of UNA to Iran. The members of this delegation came from WA, CT, WI, CA, and Zurich, Switzerland.

In the previous visit a year ago our delegation had been invited to visit two universities but considering the tensions within Iran it seemed prudent to not attempt to set up such meetings. From the appearance of things to an outsider the country seemed calm and our travels felt very safe. As we talked to university students on the streets or cafes, many students seemed very disheartened that the Green Movement that had seemed so promising a year ago had not produced any changes that they had struggled for. Several students talked about leaving Iran to live overseas. One of the most interesting issues was that almost no matter who we spoke to in Iran and what their political leanings were, every single person I talked to supported Iran’s desire to develop nuclear energy without being dependent on the west. Even the foes of President Ahmadinejad in Iran are staunch supporters of a technologically independent Iran.

No matter what the agendas of our two governments are, as a group of Americans we were embraced by Iranians and received the warmest welcome as always.

For some interesting articles on Iran please visit: http://www.solhtours.com/Articles_on_Iran.html

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Big Push Underway to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals

May 17th, 2010 by UNA Seattle

In September of 2000 the heads of the world’s nations, 190 strong, gathered at the UN in New York to adopt the Millennium Development Goals. The eight goals express the world’s commitment to end extreme poverty and hunger, promote health and education, and distribute more equitably the benefits of sustainable development, all by 2015.

With just five years remaining until the deadline, much remains to be done to achieve the goals, especially in some regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. The task has been made more difficult by the global financial crisis and by growing evidence that climate change is impacting agricultural productivity, a key sector in many developing economies.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to attend a Summit in New York on 20-22 September 2010 to boost progress towards the MDGs. He has issued a call to member states to redouble efforts to achieve the MDGs, and has authored “Keeping the Promise” ( ), an action-oriented outcome report for the Summit.

Ban’s report identifies successes and gaps in achieving the MDGs, and lays out an agenda for 2010-2015. “Our world possesses the knowledge and resources to achieve the MDGs,” Mr. Ban says in the report. Falling short of the Goals “would be an unacceptable failure, moral and practical.”

The development plans of developing nations characteristically use the MDGs as the principle set of metrics for monitoring their progress. They see the goals holistically, while rich world nations and NGOs are often focused on specific programs that usually encompass one goal and a limited range of targets.

In his first address to the UN General Assembly last September, President Obama said: “We will support the Millennium Development Goals, and approach next year’s summit with a global plan to make them a reality. And we will set our sights on the eradication of extreme poverty in our time.”

This would seem to indicate that the US will play a lead role in this year’s MDGs Summit and that planning now underway in the Department of State and other agencies involved in development assistance will reflect that leadership.

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