The UN has various representation in Australia including two important Pacific regional offices; the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) regional office and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) regional office. Additionally, there are a number of National Committees who represent various UN agencies and bodies in Australia. National Committees are independent, not-for-profit organisations who support the work of UN agencies. The UNAA cooperates with these groups and representatives on a range of issues throughout the year.
UN Information Centre (UNIC), Canberra
The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) was established in Australia in November 1948. Based in Canberra, it is the peak of the formal diplomatic UN presence in Australia and the principal local source of information about the United Nations system. Its information-related responsibilities also extend to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tonga and Vanuatu. An internationally recruited Director heads UNIC, and is the official representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Australia and the South Pacific.
With the United Nations playing an ever-increasing role in many of the world’s conflict zones to resolve key political, social, and economic issues, UNIC aims to help people in the region better understand what the UN is doing to make a difference in their lives. Its activities include:
- Disseminating information on the UN to government agencies, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, and the general public
- Assisting the media on all UN-related issues
- Promoting better public awareness and understanding of the aims and principles of the United Nations by organizing public events, coordinating seminars and conferences etc
- Speaking engagements and addressing events organised by government, non-governmental organisations and other community groups
- Welcoming visiting groups to the Centre
Level 1, 7 National Circuit
Barton, ACT 2600
Phone: +612 6270 9200
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Canberra
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is an impartial, non-political humanitarian organisation mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the world-wide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems. The Canberra office is responsible for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, and focuses on three key areas of UNHCR’s mandate: legal protection, resettlement, and public information.
United Nations National Committees
National Committee for UN Women in Australia, Canberra
UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. UN Women (formerly UNIFEM) established National Committees in 18 of its donor countries, including Australia, to ensure that the organisation had a strong presence and ability to mobilise resources. UN Women Australia is the National Committee in Australia, and their mandate includes:
- Ensuring that the Australian Government prioritises gender in its aid and development program as well as in domestic policy
- Challenging attitudes that perpetuate inequality in Australia
- Raising funds for UN Women projects that empower women
UN Women Australia plays a very active role in Australian civil society through participation in the Equality Rights Alliance (ERA) and the Gender Equity Working Group. The organisation plays an active role in all UN related activities and sends an annual delegation to the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).
National Committee for UNICEF in Australia, Sydney
UNICEF Australia is a non-government organisation established more than 30 years ago. They are one of 36 National Committees around the world who play a vital role in generating public support and awareness for UNICEF’s work. In Australia, their role is to raise awareness and funds for UNICEF’s lifesaving work in developing nations. They are not funded by the United Nations, but rely on the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
PO Box 488,
Queen Victoria Building,
Phone: (02) 92612811
Fax: (02) 9261 2844
Australia for UNHCR, Sydney
Australia for UNHCR is a not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to providing life-changing humanitarian support to refugees and other displaced and stateless people supported by UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency. They achieve this by raising funds for UNHCR’s international humanitarian operations and hosting public awareness events and activities around the issue of refugees and international aid and development.
66 King Street
Phone: +61 (0)2 9262 5377
Fax: +61 (0)2 9262 4345
Australian Government UN Initiatives
Australian National Commission for UNESCO, Canberra
The Australian National Commission for UNESCO is the Australian Government focal point for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The National Commission provides expert analysis and policy advice to the Australian Government on UNESCO matters and acts as a point of liaison between government, the community and UNESCO in Australia.
UNESCO was established in 1946 as a specialised agency of the United Nations. UNESCO’s mandate includes education, the natural sciences, the social and human sciences, culture and communications/information technology. Australia is a founding member.
The Australian National Commission for UNESCO is housed in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Canberra.
Australian National Commission for UNESCO
International Organisations and Legal Division
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
R G Casey Building
John McEwen Crescent
BARTON ACT 0221
Phone: +61 (0)2 6261 2037
The UN Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the UN Global Compact represents a Compact between business and United Nations agencies. The UN Global Compact is a strategic policy initiative for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. By doing so, business, as a primary driver of globalization, can help ensure that markets, commerce, technology and finance advance in ways that benefit economies and societies everywhere.
The UN Global Compact network was launched in Australia on 28 May 2009 at Parliament House in Canberra, at the National Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development. The launch was conducted by Mr. Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact and Senator The Hon. Nick Sherry, Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, and initiated by the inaugural Australian Focal Point to the UN Global Compact, Rosemary Sainty, Head Responsible Business Practice Project, St James Ethics Centre.
Australian NGOs in support of the UN
Friends of the UN
Founded in New York in 1985, Friends of the United Nations is an independent, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing awareness of the United Nations’ activities. We work with educational institutions, corporations, the media and entertainment industries, and other organizations to inform and educate people about the UN’s efforts on behalf of peace, human rights, the environment, children and responsible development.
With a geographic footprint covering Oceania, South and South East Asia, the Australian Chapter was incorporated in June 2010 as a not for profit company.