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United Nations and the Findhorn Foundation

Photo ©United Nations


In 1997 the Findhorn Foundation, as a non-governmental organisation (NGO), became formally associated with the Department of Public Information (now known as the Department of Global Communications (DGC)) at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Since then the Foundation has been represented internationally by May East and regularly at the UN headquarters by Frances Edwards and John Clausen. They attend regular DGC Briefings and other UN events such as the annual DGC/Civil Society Conference.

John and Frances are also founding members of the Spiritual Caucus at the UN and both have served on the Coordinating Councils of the Spiritual Caucus and the Values Caucus. While serving on these councils, the Foundation representatives have organised workshops, meditations, talks and various meetings and events at the UN headquarters in New York and Geneva.

Through various educational programmes and activities, including the Ecovillage Experience Week and the College’s Permaculture Design Course and Ecovillage Design, the Findhorn Foundation is actively supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular, Goal 4.7:

By 2030 ensure all learners acquire knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including among others through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship, and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development.

After 20 years, the Findhorn Ecovillage Project was re-designated UN-Habitat Best Practice and features in their database as one of the solutions to the common social, economic and environmental problems.

Towards an enlightened partnership

On December 8, 1997 the Findhorn Foundation was approved for formal association with the United Nations, through the Department of Public Information, as a recognised Non-Governmental Organisation. This was the culmination of a series of official collaborations between the UN and the Findhorn Foundation.

The NGO status was then a sign of a great maturing of our community, which has been promoting principles of sustainable development as put forward by the major UN conferences of the last two decades – including the sustainability aspect of the Rio Earth Summit and Rio+20, the human settlements aspect of Istanbul, the women’s aspect of Beijing, the climate agenda of Paris and the transformative Agenda 2030.

This association is a commitment on the part of the Findhorn Foundation ‘to disseminate information and raise public awareness about the purposes and activities and achievements of the United Nations and issues of global concern’ related to sustainability, environment, peace, shelter, and creation of a sustainable world.

Non-governmental organisations eligible for association with UN must share the ideals of the United Nations Charter, operate on a not-for-profit basis, and demonstrate an interest in United Nations issues. In addition, they must have a proven ability to reach large or specialised audiences with well-developed information programmes.

Photo ©May East

Our involvement with the United Nations occurs at a time when the global agenda has never been so varied, so critical and so complex. It is demanding new approaches, new visions and new commitments of the international community of NGOs. Whatever the field of service – human rights, humanitarian relief, sustainable development, international law, disarmament, poverty eradication, or peace education – NGOs’ influence on the world scenario is uncontestable. Non-governmental organisations are creating new coalitions around emerging issues and are equipping themselves for a new global era of transcultural diplomacy.

The cooperation between the United Nations and the NGO community can provide a bridge for communication between the peoples of the world and the policy makers at the local, national and global levels. This cooperation has the potential to be a major vehicle for human evolution, as it supports the process of framing current issues within a context of global interdependence.

It is a great privilege and responsibility to be part of the larger action network which supports the process of implementing the principles of the United Nations on Earth.

For more information on the United Nations Department of Public Information activities click here.

UNCHS (Habitat) Best Practice Designation


United Nations information

The United Nations is an international organisation central to global efforts to solve problems which challenge humanity. More than 30 affiliated organisations, cooperating together, constitute the UN system.

The UN and its family of organisations work together to promote respect for human rights, protect the environment, fight disease, foster sustainable development and reduce poverty.

UN agencies define the standards for safe and efficient transport by air and sea, help improve telecommunications and enhance consumer protection, work to ensure respect for intellectual property rights and coordinate allocation of radio frequencies.

The United Nations leads the international campaigns against drug trafficking and terrorism.

Throughout the world, the UN and its agencies assist refugees and set up programmes to clear landmines, help improve the quality of drinking water and expand food production, make loans to developing countries and help stabilise financial markets.

More information is available from the United Nations website and the United Nations News Service.

UN Calendar – Current International Decades and Years

International Years
2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages
2019 International Year of Moderation
2019 International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements
2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture
2024 International Year of Camelids

International Decades
2010 – 2020 United Nations Decade for Deserts and the Fight against Desertification
2011 – 2020 United Nations Decade on Biodiversity
2011 – 2020 Decade of Action for Road Saftey
2011 – 2020 Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism
2014 – 2024 United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All
2015 – 2024 International Decade for People of African Descent
2016 – 2025 UN Decade of Action on Nutrition
2018 – 2028 International Decade for Action, “Water for Sustainable Development”
2019 – 2028 United Nations Decade of Family Farming
2021 – 2030 International Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development