A strong, credible and effective United Nations (UN) is essential for a safer, fairer and more sustainable world. The United Nations Association, of which UNA Eastbourne is a local branch, is devoted to building support for the UN among policy makers, opinion formers and the public. UNA-UK is the country’s foremost advocate for UK action at the UN.
Since the formation of the United Nations over 70 years ago, there has been improvement on every objective of the UN apart from its environmental objectives. In 2010 the UNA Eastbourne made its own commitment to meet the challenge of man-made climate change, through a tree-planting programme in Uganda. For every members annual subscription two trees will be planted offsetting their carbon emissions for one year.
The UNA Eastbourne has been involved in development work in Eastern Uganda for 15 years now and has recently launched an exciting new project aimed at combating malnutrition in the communities there. We also offer a programme of events in the town that give a chance for the public to hear experts talk on a wide range of topics pertinent to the work of the United Nations.
The UNA Eastbourne tree-planting scheme has involved so far, the planting of over 40,000 trees since 2014 in eastern Uganda. We do not submit to the belief that man-made climate change has proceeded beyond the point where mitigation is too late and we should only focus on adaptation. We believe mitigation must go hand-in-hand with adaptation. We also do not subscribe to the view that supporting carbon capture through planting trees provides an excuse to do nothing else to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
The UNA Eastbourne has a long history stretching back to 1919 when the 9th Duke of Devonshire worked at the League of Nations. Our branch has been fortunate to have had the patronage of four generations of the Dukes of Devonshire.
On 26th October 1945 the branch committee agreed unanimously to apply for recognition as a member of the newly founded United Nations Association. This was subsequently confirmed at a public meeting. The 11th Duke of Devonshire made several visits to Eastbourne when he showed particular interest in the aspirations of our student members. During the Duke’s period as Patron a special Duke of Devonshire Fund was established to help students travel overseas to give voluntary service. After his death in 2004 the 12th Duke of Devonshire has continued this long tradition of support.
In 1987 the Eastbourne Borough Council joined with the UNA Eastbourne Branch to create a fitting and lasting tribute to commemorate the UN International Year of Peace with a plaque at the start of the Beachy Head Peace Path.
On a fine day, sitting on the oak benches in this beautiful area, flanked on one side by the tranquil South Downs, and on the other side by the pacific waters of the Channel, one needs to reflect on our good fortune surrounded by peace and security. We need to also reflect on the plight of those less fortunate in distant lands. Our links with the UNA are meant to remind us of our constant duty to actively work for the noble goals of the UN charter.
(Details on the history of the United Nations Association in Eastbourne from 1946 to 1996 are in the booklet Fifty Years of the United Nations in Eastbourne. Forward by his Grace the Duke of Devonshire by Jean Barzanti)