The United Nations Association of Russia is an international public organization created with the aim of "assisting in every possible way the achievement of the goals and principles proclaimed by the UN Charter", as well as active participation "in the matter of strengthening confidence and friendship between states and peoples".
With its unique opportunities for the implementation of "people's diplomacy" - the participation of Russian civil society in the international civil movement - the United Nations Association has been successfully implementing a number of programs and projects both at the domestic and international levels for 65 years.
Goals and principles
Since its establishment in 1956, the United Nations Association of Russia (UNA-Russia) has proclaimed its mission to support the United Nations, which, as defined in its Charter, is primarily the maintenance of peace and security, the development of friendly relations between nations based on respect for the principle of equality and self-government of peoples, the implementation of international cooperation in solving international economic, social, cultural and humanitarian problem, the promotion and development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction of race, sex, language and religion.
UNA-Russia organizes its daily activities on the basis of the firm conviction that reliable and widespread adherence to the requirements of modern international law, which determines the main direction of international relations, is one of the most important tasks of modern world politics. For, no matter how different the views of States may be on the world order, present and future,it is quite obvious that any structure of international relations can be strong only if it is based on an appropriate international legal framework. The backbone of international law is the UN Charter, and the United Nations itself is the bulwark of the rule of law in the world.
Another guideline for the UNA-Russia activities is the understanding that in our time, adherence to international legal principles and norms includes respect for, and steadfast observance of, human rights. The issue of human rights is no longer seen as a purely internal affair of states and is now increasingly becoming the subject of international debate, and the principle of non-intervention in internal affairs is linked to the transparency of states' human rights policies and their cooperation with international bodies.
Already in 1956, at the time of its creation, the Association became a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). Today, more than a hundred national associations are members of the only international public organization whose activities are entirely devoted to the UN itself.
We significantly expanded the scope of our activities during the years of perestroika. Particular attention was paid to the involvement of young people in the work of the organization, the range of issues, on which specialized commissions of the Association were created, was expanded. Branch offices of the UNA-Russia were opened in many regions of the country.
The Association actively participated in large-scale international events and projects. In 1991-1992, in preparation for the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, twelve major interethnic conferences-hearings were held on environmental issues, sustainable development and ways to address them in a particular region. One of them was organized by the UNA-Russia and held in Moscow. And at the Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, we presented a project on the sustainable development of the Baikal region, which is being implemented by the UNA-Russia with the Government of the Republic of Buryatia with the participation of UN specialized agencies.
The Association did not refuse to discuss pressing issues caused by the changing times. In 1992, Irkutsk hosted an international conference on the problems of interethnic relations, prepared by the UNA-Russia
The strong creative structure of the UNA-Russia is a guarantee of the organization's achievements in international and domestic affairs. For example, several years ago, the Association, together with the Russian Patriarchate, initiated a humanitarian action to rescue Russian pilots accused in India of smuggling weapons. Our fellow citizens were facing life imprisonment. We provided them with legal assistance, visited them in prison in Calcutta, gave them food, supported their faith in the future. And as a result of difficult negotiations and the work of representatives of the Association in cooperation with the Russian Foreign Ministry, the pilots were handed over to the Russian side. They were saved.
Structure and people
The Association has active commissions on international law, implementation of the Millennium Declaration, health, human rights, ecology and sustainable development, legal issues, preservation of cultural values and national issues, and a youth commission. Each has an important area of activity, each employing high-level experts.
Many prominent public figures and scientists were involved in the activities of the Association: A.M. Pankratova, S.M. Romanovsky, F.V. Konstantinov, V.A. Kirillin, G.I. Morozov, G.A. Arbatov, D.M. Gvishiani, V.V. Zhurkin, I.D. Ivanov, V.P. Lukin, V.F. Petrovsky, E.M. Primakov, A.O. Chubaryan, A.N. Yakovlev, O.A. Troyanovsky, Yu.M. Vorontsov and many others.
Of course, among the members of the Association there are also quite a few experts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, many veterans of this esteemed department actively participate in the programs of the UNA-Russia. Joint meetings of Association and Ministry of Foreign Affairs experts, so-called "round tables", are held, where topical international problems are discussed.
Not least, in 1998 this influenced the assignment of the highest consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (the so-called General Status) to the UNA-Russia, one of the few public organizations in the world. This entitles the representatives of the Association to attend all UN meetings, distribute documents, and make proposals for resolutions. In other words, it provides an instrument of real influence on the formation of international policy priorities.
Current areas of activity
The Association brought to Russia the idea of holding the UN Youth Models. During these events, Russian and foreign students are given the opportunity to take part in the work of simulated major UN bodies: the Security Council, the General Assembly, etc. The main Russian model is the Moscow International Model UN, which is held annually in April in MGIMO. During the period of the models, more than tens of thousands of Russian students and schoolchildren have taken part in them.
Youth contests have become traditional. During the contests students (under 18 years old) write reports on topical issues that are at the center of attention of the UN: such as security, development, combating illicit drug trafficking, human rights, etc. Many of the winners of the competition entered at MGIMO out of competition - a right that the university academic council gave them, taking into account the high level of preparation and motivation of the students.
The United Nations Association of Russia gives a special place and pays considerable attention to the program "Regions of Russia and the Sustainable Development Goals". The program already has a number of brilliant results and 16 participating regions: Irkutsk Region, Sakha (Yakutia), Yugra, Karachay-Cherkess Republic, Astrakhan Region, Kamchatka Territory, Perm Territory, Tambov Region, Krasnodar Territory, Krasnoyarsk Territory, Moscow Region, Kursk region, Omsk region, Sverdlovsk region, Moscow and the Republic of Tatarstan.
The educational and publishing activities of the UNA-Russia are widely known. The Association has published popular books on the UN activities, as well as unique collections of documents. One of such interesting publications is the “Collection of speeches of the heads of delegations of the USSR / Russian Federation at the sessions of the UN General Assembly” prepared by the UNA-Russia with the Russian Foreign Ministry and MGIMO.
Anatoly Vasilievich TORKUNOV
Chairman of the UNA-Russia , Rector of MGIMO of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia,
Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.