Holyrood welcomes United Nations address

01/06/2009

A top UN relief chief will deliver a public lecture on global humanitarian challenges in the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber on Friday 5 June at 6pm.

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Sir John Holmes will address the assembled audience of politicians, journalists, academics and business leaders as part of the 2009 annual conference of the United Nations Association UK (UNA-UK).

Speaking on ‘Humanitarian challenges in the 21st century: Reconciling national sovereignty with international responsibilities’, Sir John is the UN’s most senior humanitarian official and leads the organisation’s efforts to bring relief to people hit by natural disaster or struggling to survive amidst conflict.

The event will be chaired by the Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP with UNA-UK Chair Lord Hannay of Chiswick also speaking.

This is the first time in 30 years that UNA-UK – one of the UK’s leading independent policy authorities on the UN – has held its annual conference in Scotland .

The Presiding Officer said: “The Scottish Parliament is privileged to have this opportunity to hear from Sir John Holmes and to welcome the UNA-UK back to Scotland. I look forward to hearing more about his extensive international relief work in the face of both natural disasters and man-made conflicts and about the challenges the organisation will continue to face in the 21st century.”

Background
Sir John Holmes is a career diplomat who was appointed as the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator in 2007. Prior to joining the UN, Sir John was British Ambassador to France, a post he held from October 2001. He was awarded a knighthood in 1999, primarily for his role in the Northern Ireland peace process and the Good Friday Agreement.

United Nations Association of the UK (UNA-UK) is the UK’s leading independent policy authority on the UN and promotes a strong, credible and effective United Nations, fronting a global system based on cooperation and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.una.org.uk.

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