Friends of the United Nations founds Australian chapter

Friends of the United Nations (International) today announces the official launch of its Australian Chapter: Friends of the United Nations (Australia).

Friends of the United Nations is a non-governmental organization affiliated with the UN and accredited to the United Nations Department of Public Information. Friends of the United Nations Limited is incorporated in Australia as a Non-Profit Company.

FOUN Directors are New York based Dr Noel Brown, former Director United Nations Environment Program, Lance Innes, humanitarian, environmentalist and media producer (production credits include the Australian animated environmental themed feature film ‘FernGully … The Last Rainforest’ and the marine conservation film ‘The Last Whale’, and Mick McIntyre, former CEO International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Director of whale conservation organization Whales Alive. Patron is former High Court Justice, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG.

Founded in 1985, Friends of the United Nations is an independent, non-partisan, organization dedicated to promoting the principles and values of the United Nations Charter and increasing awareness of its activities.

Our mission is to encourage individuals and organizations to learn about UN’s efforts and be inspired to help the UN achieve its goals.

Friends of the UN works with educational institutions, corporations, the entertainment industry, media, governments and non-governmental organizations to inform and educate people about United Nations efforts on behalf of peace, human rights and human health, children, the environment and sustainable development.

The United Nations is a vitally important organization in today’s global society. It can only achieve its objectives if citizens worldwide are aware of and support its activities. As it enters its seventh decade, the United Nations finds itself facing challenges of unprecedented scope and intensity in a radically altered geopolitical and social landscape from that of its founding years. It is thus obliged to continuously adapt as it moves through multiple transitions .

Amid the swirling pressures that daily buffet the organization at least one constant will be kept in view: that the purposes and principles on which it was founded remain more valid than ever and that “we the people” in the name of whom it was founded have a responsibility to remain well informed and to work with the UN to enhance those values on which a secure human future rests.

Friends of the UN’s current focus is on the Millennium Development Goals through a global campaign. ‘The Big Push 2010-2015’, which seeks to bring focus to the goals from this mid-point for the next 5 years to 2015.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the most broadly supported, comprehensive and specific development goals the world has ever agreed upon. These eight time-bound goals provide concrete, numerical benchmarks for tackling extreme poverty in its many dimensions. They include goals and targets on income poverty, hunger, maternal and child mortality, disease, inadequate shelter, gender inequality, environmental degradation and the Global Partnership for Development.

Adopted by world leaders in the year 2000 and set to be achieved by 2015, the MDGs are both global and local, tailored by each country to suit specific development needs. They provide a framework for the entire international community to work together towards a common end – making sure that human development reaches everyone, everywhere. If these goals are achieved, world poverty will be cut by half, tens of millions of lives will be saved, and billions more people will have the opportunity to benefit from the global economy.

At the midpoint in MDG timeline, great progress has already been made. Reducing absolute poverty by half is within reach for the world as a whole. With the exception of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, primary school enrollment is at least 90 percent. Malaria prevention is expanding, with widespread increases in insecticide-treated bednet use among children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. In 16 out of 20 countries, use has at least tripled since around 2000. 1.6 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water since 1990.

Alongside the successes are an array of goals and targets that are likely to be missed unless more action is taken urgently: about one quarter of all children in developing countries are considered to be underweight and are at risk of long-term effects of undernourishment; more than 500,000 prospective mothers in developing countries die annually in childbirth or of complications from pregnancy; in Sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion of people living on just over a dollar a day is unlikely to be cut in half. Additionally, in middle income countries like Mexico, Brazil, Romania, Macedonia, and Indonesia, inequality has also led to ‘pockets of poverty’ – socially-excluded groups that will need specific attention if their countries are to reach the MDGs.

The global economic crisis also threatens to destabilize progress, as a better future for the world’s most vulnerable people could fall victim to contraction of trade,remittances, capital flows and donor support. At a time when investing in development is more vital than ever to ensure social stability, security and prosperity, the international community is called upon to renew its commitment to reaching the MDGs.

“The Millennium Development Goals are the framework for a renewed collective global responsibility and a legacy we can proudly hand to the Millennium Generation as they enter uncertain times” says Lance Innes.

For further information contact: Lance Innes CEO Friends of the United Nations; Mobile 0439350856, or email Further information may be found at

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This post was written by niall who has written 85 posts on Making Health Global.