Month: October 2013

Ban Ki-moon: Connected, united

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English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文
English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few short months after the conclusion of the Second World War, the United Nations was formed on 24 October, the anniversary of today.

Do anniversaries really mean anything to anyone anymore?

What about the United Nations? A colossal failure and bureaucratic mess? Or is it a critical international place of important convening?

I have had my own first hand experience working with the United Nations in many different capacities, but perhaps most significantly was as the Lead Operations and Plans Officer for the Australian Defence Force while deployed into East Timor.

Certainly, it is not a perfect organisation, but would the world be better off without it? I think not.

Far beyond an instrument of global security, the United Nations focuses across a broad range touching every aspect of the human experience.

The one area this blog focuses on is the eight Millennium Development Goals signed by all 192 Member States in 2000 to reduce  extreme poverty levels to two-thirds of the recorded levels in 1990 by 2015. It has been one area where there has been some success. It is not a perfect story: child mortality remains improved, but only reduced to half of the recorded levels of 1990, and so the aspiration to achieve a two-thirds reduction by 2015 might be unobtainable.

Work remains to be done. And it is not for us to sit back and criticise the United Nations. We must put our shoulder to the wheel also.

Ban Ki-moon’s words today in his United Nations Day Message for 2013 was fitting:

We continue to show what collective action can do. We can do even more.

In a world that is more connected, we must be more united.

This is the sentiment of the 10 City Bridge Run. To build a human bridge between ourselves to help address the problems we face. Together we can make a difference.



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Janne Ryan & Adam Spencer | TEDxSydney 2013
Adam Spencer  (Photo credit: TEDxSydney)

Celebrate with us! We are ReLaunching the initiative 10 City Bridge Run on Thursday 24 October 2013 at The Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney and want you to join us. Click here to RSVP or just come on the night.

The 10 City Bridge Run is a citizen-led initiative focused on asking how we can use our networks to help improve the delivery of child survival. This is a massive problem with more than 6.4 million children under the age of five dying this year from mostly preventable disease.

Adam Spencer has kindly agreed to emcee the ReLaunch. Most of you will know Adam already from his role as a broadcaster with the ABC. He describes himself as “Geek, Dad, Comedian.”

Thursday 24 October 2013, 6-9 pm. Free to attend.

The ReLaunch will be a relaxed evening to make connections and open a few new circles.

Thanks to everyone has been involved to date. It has been a long journey already which began in 2010. There has been a lot of learning. Come and hear about the journey to date, and our vision for the future and how you can get involved in making a difference.

Collaboration can produce powerful results. Please join us!

No One Left Behind

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Helen Clark visits a ceramic workshop that is ...
Helen Clark, Administrator UNDP

Helen Clark spoke about ‘Human Progress in a Diverse World’ last night in Sydney for The University of Sydney.

Most people will know Helen from her service as Prime Minister of New Zealand across three successive terms 1999-2008. She is now appointed as the Administrator for the United Nations Development Programme since 2009, and so has a close if not intimate role in managing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals which are due to be achieved in 2015.

Her talk was excellent. She spoke about the challenges of the past and the future, and importantly this in the context of leading a large institution that is dependant on the participation of a wide variety of stakeholders in an environment with many competing interests.

She was able to describe how Syria and sustainability are both buzz-words, but important to address within the same framework. Not a choice of either/or.

Towards the end of her talk, she turned her attention to the post-2015 agenda, the post-Millennium Development Goals agenda, and called for a transformative approach relying upon paradigm shift in how policy, ideas and innovation can be shared successfully.

It is this post-2015 agenda that the 10 City Bridge Run is seeking to contribute towards.

There are five key points framing how the United Nations will tackle this post-2015 agenda. The first of these is ‘Leave Nobody Behind’.

What this means is that for all of the progress made in lifting half of the world’s population out of extreme poverty, there will still be the other half still caught in the unenviable and almost inescapable plight of extreme poverty. This must be understood in more ways than simply trying to eat food purchased on less than $2 per day. Actually, their lot is incomprehensible to our reality. More than 6.4 million children under the age of five dying every year. It is just wrong. And so we must help if we are able.

Helping does not necessarily mean throwing more money at the problem, or finding a charity to whom to donate. Those might be good thing, and I am not suggesting that they should be stopped. But on their own, they do not solve the problems of extreme poverty.

To ensure no one is left behind, it will need all of us to work together to find the best ideas and then how to implement them. This is what the 10 City Bridge Run seeks to do. I have been leading this initiative, and not everything has been perfect, in fact far from it. But it has been a learning experience.

We are taking that learning and ReLaunching on 24 October at The Lansdowne Hotel in Sydney. I hope you can join us. Adam Spencer has kindly agreed to help us kick this off by emceeing for the night. More information here.

Collaboration can produce powerful results. Please get involved and help us build a better bridge for the future so that no one is left behind.