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A year in the life of the Anglican Communion at the UN

A year in the life of the Anglican Communion at the UN

Marla Teixeira

14 January 2020 3:28PM

The Administration and Research Assistant at the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations, Marla Teixeira, outlines the office’s activities during 2019 and looks ahead to a busy 2020.


2019 was a very busy year for the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations (ACOUN). Two new staff joined our team, and we participated in a number of high-level events at the UN in New York and Geneva. We made strategic partnerships with UN member states and agencies, and partnered with like-minded organisations who are working towards our same objective: a more just and peaceful world.

As we reflect on 2019 and look ahead to what 2020 has in store, we are excited to build on our learnings and successes to have even greater impact in the years to come.

Building on the great success of the Anglican Communion delegation to the UN’s 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW63) in March 2019 (read the report here), we are pushing forward with our planning for the 64th Session to take place in March. A delegation of eight women from around the Communion will travel to New York to attend the UNCSW64 to advocate for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Shortly following the UNCSW, the ACOUN team attended the 18th Session of the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII18) in April 2019, during which we focused our attention on learning from the conference in order to effectively participate this year, when a delegation drawn from the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) will attend the 19th Session of the Forum. Under the theme of “Peace, justice and strong institutions: the role of indigenous peoples in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 16”, UNPFII19 promises to be a significant opportunity to lift up the voices of indigenous Anglicans.

During July 2019, the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) was held, and the ACOUN participated by submitting a strong statement on environmental justice, advocating particularly for those suffering from climate-induced displacement. We continued to champion these issues into September, at the UN General Assembly and during the Climate Action Summit.

We will continue this push for climate and environmental justice in 2020. Preparations are already underway for the 26th Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), the major UN climate summit which will be hosted in Glasgow, Scotland, in November. We look forward to ensuring a strong Anglican presence at the conference that reflects our determination to live out the fifth Mark of Mission: “To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth”.

And that’s not all! We will closely monitor the work of the Human Rights Council and work alongside provinces to identify key areas and opportunities for engagement; we will celebrate 35 years since the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations received our UN accreditation; the 2020 Lambeth Conference will provide an opportunity for ACOUN staff to hear from and engage with bishops and spouses from around the Communion; five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, we will push forward on a Communion-wide strategy for SDG engagement;  and our team will continue working to ensure that the remarkable work taking place across the regions, provinces, dioceses and agencies of the Anglican Communion is recognised and celebrated by the UN.

Last year taught us that we need to keep pushing for Anglican voices to be heard at the UN on issues of peace, justice, sustainable development and climate change, among others. As we look forward to the rest of 2020 and the opportunities it will bring, we are excited to continue serving the Anglican Communion and to lift up the life and work of the church from all corners of the world.