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SIOP and the United Nations

John C. Scott
APTMetrics, Inc.

SIOP’s UN agenda is taking shape and our team is actively engaged in supporting the programs and goals of the United Nations. As introduced at the SIOP conference in San Diego, the inaugural UN team includes Herman Aguinis, Ishbel McWha, Deborah Rupp, John Scott, and Lori Foster Thompson.

There have been a number of activities and events keeping us busy over the past 6 months, a few of which are highlighted below.

Psychology Day at the UN

The 5th annual Psychology Day at the United Nations was held on April 19, 2012 to a sell-out crowd. Psychology Day at the United Nations is an annual event sponsored by psychology organizations that have nongovernmental organization (NGO) status with the United Nations. The event is designed to offer UN ambassadors, diplomats and staff, and NGO representatives and students the opportunity to learn what psychologists contribute to the UN, to exchange ideas and to establish multistakeholder relationships on global issues. This year’s event was entitled Human Rights for Vulnerable People: Psychological Contributions and the United Nations Perspective. The conference featured three highly informative panels covering: Mental Health and Sustainable Development, Refugees and Psychosocial Wellbeing, and Poverty Eradication in the Lives of Women and Children.

Stuart Carr participated as a panelist and did an outstanding job discussing strategies that I-O psychologists can employ to reduce poverty. Next year’s event will be chaired by Walter Reichman and John Scott. The event’s program committee, composed of Lori Foster Thompson, Ishbel McWha, and Mary O’Neil Berry, is currently considering a variety of human rights themes for next year’s program.

Annual Ministerial Review

The UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) held its Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) during the month of July. The AMR is a global, high-level forum designed to assess progress made towards the United Nations Development Agenda. This year’s theme was “Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the Millennium Development Goals.”

Some of the key goals for the 2012 AMR (United Nations Economic and Social Council, 2012) were to:

  • Foster agreement on the key policies for building productive capacity and promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth in developing countries
  • Provide an assessment of progress towards achieving employment-related goals and commitments
  • Encourage countries to launch initiatives in support of productive capacity building, employment, and decent work at the ECOSOC substantive session
  • Achieve broad multistakeholder engagement from the private and not-for-profit sectors

NGOs that have consultative status with ECOSOC are allowed to submit position papers and present on topics that are relevant to the theme of the conference. SIOP and the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) submitted a joint paper that recommended actionable steps to prevent the exploitation of workers in developing countries. The paper was accepted, and one of the authors, Walter Reichman, was invited to present at the High Level Segment of the AMR. A copy of the paper and picture of Walter presenting can be found on the SIOP United Nations Team web site located within my.SIOP.org.

Coalition of Psychology NGOs

In an effort to enhance and broaden the contributions of psychology at the UN, a group of eight psychology NGOs (including APA, IAAP, and SIOP) are working to form a coalition. It is hoped that this coalition will foster greater collaboration and impact in the application of psychological principles, science, and practice to global challenges of the UN agenda, including those outlined in the Millennium Development Goals. This will be accomplished through advocacy, research, education, and policy and program development. Bylaws are being revised and will be submitted for approval by SIOP’s Executive Board.

Conference of NGOs

SIOP has also joined the Conference of NGOs (CoNGO), whose mission is to actively promote the involvement of NGOs when governments discuss issues of global concern at the United Nations and to facilitate NGO discussions on these issues. There are a number of CoNGO committees for which the SIOP UN team representatives can join, contribute, and lead, covering such areas as aging, children’s’ rights; racism and racial discrimination; social development; status of women; sustainable development; disarmament, peace, and security; family; financing for development; freedom of religion or belief; and human rights.

Interested in keeping up with the UN activities? We invite you to visit and sign up as a group member on the United Nations website (Group name: SIOP United Nations Team) within my.SIOP.org. We currently have news, photos, key documents, and updates related to events and activities. In the future, we will also be using this portal to enlist volunteers for various activities and projects.


United Nations Economic and Social Council (2012). Annual ministerial review (AMR). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/en/ecosoc/newfunct/amr2012.shtml