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Australian Permanent Mission to the Office of the United Nations
Australia was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and has been active in the organisation ever since. Australia believes the UN plays a critical role in resolving global problems that no nation can resolve alone. Australia is determined to work through the UN to enhance security, promote economic and social well-being, and strengthen environmental protection, worldwide.
The Australian Mission to the United Nations in Geneva is one of five posts (along with diplomatic missions in New York, Vienna, Rome and Nairobi) representing Australia's interests in the UN system.
The UN’s operations in Geneva cover a vast spectrum, and many UN bodies and specialised agencies are based in Geneva. This includes the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change, the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction, the World Health Organization and the International Labour Organization. Geneva is a global humanitarian centre for coordinating operations worldwide, as well as setting international standards. Also headquartered in Geneva are important organisations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the International Commission of Jurists.
The role of the Australian Mission to the United Nations is to pursue Australia’s interests in the United Nations through international diplomacy. This can involve negotiating, advocating and promoting Australia’s policies, as well as working with countries across the world to achieve common objectives. The Australian Mission supports and works with UN agencies to ensure that they can fulfill their potential to promote development and peace, respond to humanitarian challenges and protect human rights. Australia is a major donor to many of the organisations based in Geneva and the Australian Mission oversees these contributions.
Please click here for the latest statements made by the Australian Mission.
The Australian Mission to the UN in Geneva works in the following areas:
Australia believes that protection and promotion of human rights is vital to global efforts to achieve lasting peace and security, and freedom and dignity for all. Australia’s commitment to human rights reflects our national values and is an underlying principle of Australia’s engagement with the international community.
The Mission represents Australia at the Human Rights Council and its subsidiary mechanisms and advocates strongly for our national positions and policies. Australia considers the Human Rights Council should address all violations of human rights – whenever and wherever they occur. Australia is a party to all major human rights treaties and the Mission engages with the bodies established under these treaties to promote their universal adherence and implementation. The Mission also works closely with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The Australian Mission is Chair of the JUSCANZ Group on Human Rights in Geneva.
For more information on these issues and a list of human rights treaties to which Australia is a party, please see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
Australia, primarily through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), provides funding and support to UN, other specialised agencies and international organisations to assist in their responses to humanitarian crises, global disease threats and to aid people displaced by conflict. The Mission directly engages agencies headquartered in Geneva, including the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC); and the Secretariat of the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR). The Mission’s mandate is to help strengthen the effectiveness of the multilateral system in the humanitarian and health sectors, promote Australia's priorities areas for assistance (such as the Asia-Pacific region and disability inclusive aid) and ensure they deliver appropriate and effective humanitarian action. The Mission is active in donor support groups and was Chair of the OCHA Donors Support Group in 2009-10.
For more information on these issues, please see the AusAID website.
Australia is a major donor and strong supporter of international efforts to promote global health outcomes, with a particular focus on the Asia-Pacific region. The World Health Organization (WHO) is Australia’s major partner on global health matters. WHO has the responsibility for normative standard-setting globally and coordinates the responses to emerging health challenges, such as pandemic influenza. Other important health-related organisations in Geneva which the Mission supports include UNAIDS; The Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the GAVI Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisations). In collaboration with these organisations and countries from around the world, the Mission works to tackle global health challenges and work towards realising the health-related Millennium Development Goals.
Australia is a major country of humanitarian resettlement and a key donor in this field. Australia has an important interest in promoting the lawful and orderly movement of people and strengthening the international protection framework for refugees and displaced persons throughout the world. To promote this, the Australian Mission works closely with key multilateral stakeholders such as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees and the Global Forum on Migration and Development.
For more information on these issues, please see the Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.
The Australian Mission engages with environment-related fora based in Geneva and Gland, including the World Meteorological Organisation and the Geneva Office of the United Nations Environment Program. The following bodies and Conventions are headquartered in Geneva: the Inter-Governmental Panel and Climate Change; the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands; the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants; the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal; the Rotterdam Convention on Trade in Hazardous Chemicals; the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora; and the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
For more information on these issues, please see the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website.
The Australian Mission advocates Australia’s interests in the International Labour Organization. Australia has been a member of the ILO since its establishment in 1919 and plays an active role in supporting the mandate of the organisation to set minimum international standards relating to labour. Within the UN system, the ILO has a unique tripartite structure with workers and employers participating as equal partners with governments in its work. Australia is part of the Asia-Pacific Government Group of ILO members. The ILO is undergoing significant reform to improve its relevance, efficiency and capacity both to influence and to respond to rapid political, social and economic changes around the world. The Mission is supporting this effort.
For more information on these issues, please see the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations website.
Other specialised agencies and organisations in Geneva
The Mission engages with a wide range of specialised agencies headquartered in Geneva or Bern, such as the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the Universal Postal Union and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Australia is a strong supporter of the mandates of these organisations and encourages a focus on the specific needs of the Asia-Pacific region. The Mission works closely with the organisations to ensure good corporate governance, fiscal responsibility and efficient programming. For example, Australia is active in the ITU, has been a member of the ITU Council since 1959. The Australian Mission also engages with many important non-UN organisations headquartered in Geneva, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Commission of Jurists.
For more information on these issues, please see the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.
For further information on UN activities in Geneva see the UNOG website.
For further information on Australia’s involvement in the UN see www.dfat.gov.au/un/index.html.
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