Areas of Work

High Level Policy Engagement

Complementing its work on specific themes and countries, QUNO also engages in broader policy debates on the shape and future of peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict at the UN.  QUNO frequently works with leaders in peacebuilding practice around the world to bring their experience to inform UN policymaking.  QUNO is often asked to speak at both public and informal events, and will also occasionally comment publicly on subjects of particular importance to Friends.

Ongoing Activities

  • QUNO partners with a wide network of peacebuilding practitioners and think tanks around the world, bringing their expertise to inform UN debate. Combining practitioner experience with the perspectives of local voices from conflict-affected communities helps to broaden the discussion at the UN and root it in the reality of the lives of those affected by violence.
  • Since 2012, QUNO has engaged with the high-level UN discussion around the role of peace and stability in sustainable development and the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
  • QUNO coordinates the New York Peacebuilding Group (NYPG), a gathering of organisations engaged on various peace related issues at the UN and in country.
  • QUNO is a founding member of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), together with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), and Interpeace. The platform aims to build bridges between International Geneva, the United Nations peacebuilding architecture in New York, and peacebuilding activities in the field. It facilitates interaction on peacebuilding between different institutions and sectors, and seeks to advance new knowledge and understanding of peacebuilding issues and contexts.
  • From time to time, QUNO engages with emerging issues and situations where its constituents are looking for information and insight on UN perspectives. For example, QUNO New York has followed the bid for Palestinian Statehood at the UN and has issued various resources on the topic.

Recent Timeline Events

November 2017

Threats to US support for the United Nations: affirming core values

The international community of Friends set up the Quaker UN offices 70 years ago to support the United Nations (UN) in its work to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. 

Recent proposals from the new US administration and from the US Congress to reduce US engagement with the UN could damage its ability to carry out its life-saving work. These proposals include draft Executive Orders and legislation in the House and Senate proposing significant funding cuts and other forms of disengagement with the UN.

Global military spending is $1.6 trillion, dwarfing the $8 billion UN peacekeeping budget and total UN-related spending of $48 billion. While the US is the largest financial contributor to the United Nations, its annual total contribution to the UN and its agencies represents only 0.1% of the total Federal Budget. Cuts in US funding would put at risk the UN’s important work to address the most critical and pressing issues facing the world.

While it remains to be seen how the various draft bills and draft Executive Orders may or may not progress, the existence of such measures shows the growing uncertain environment facing the UN and global efforts for peace more broadly. 

QUNO has produced the below background document, which will be updated as appropriate, to provide additional information and resources to learn more about this pressing issue.

For those in the United States, FCNL, the Better World Campaign and the UN Association of the USA provide avenues for action in support of the UN, including ways to contact legislators.

Stay informed about QUNO's work, including updates to the below background document, by signing up for our newsletter

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September 2017

Implementing the New Commitments to Peace - Statement by 131 peacebuilding organizations

September 21 marks the International Day of Peace, which was established in 1981 by a unanimous resolution in the UN’s General Assembly. To mark the day, QUNO and 131 peacebuilding organizations from throughout the world issued a statement to United Nations Member States that brings attention to peace concerns.

As noted by QUNO NY’s Director, Andrew Tomlinson, “while international attention lurches from crisis to crisis, global peace-building organizations focus on long term work to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies. On the International Day of Peace, we encourage governments gathering in New York for the start of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly to join us in these efforts to sustainably address the root causes of violent conflict around the world.”

The statement calls for Member States to:

  • Fully embrace the commitments to peace in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Balance national efforts with a focus on external drivers of peace, justice and inclusion
  • Mainstream prevention, including in development, humanitarian action, and crisis response
  • Protect and support civil society inclusion

Additionally, QUNO and the American Friends Service Committee distributed a press release on the statement, which was shared widely with media contacts covering the United Nations.

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September 2017

Peacebuilding during times of transitions: Perspectives from Liberia

On 6 September, QUNO welcomed Abel Learwellie, Executive Director of Camp for Peace Liberia, to lead a discussion on peacebuilding during times of transition with UN and member state representatives, and civil society colleagues. The conversation was timely as Liberia is soon to experience many changes, including elections in October of this year and the drawdown of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Mr. Learwellie has been active in the field of peacebuilding in Liberia for over 18 years, and his organization envisions a country where youth are empowered, self-sufficient, employed, and actively contributing to the strengthening and stabilization of Liberia. The meeting provided an opportunity for discussion on the upcoming transitions, challenges that remain for building sustainable peace, and examples of how Camp for Peace Liberia’s local level peacebuilding initiatives have helped support reconciliation in Liberia.

During the conversation, participants reflected challenges facing the country, such as the issue of mistrust between the security sector and civilians, a challenge remaining from experiences during the civil war; the lack of educational opportunities, both academic and vocational; and high levels of youth unemployment. Discussion also focused on the positive impacts of work to address these issues by actors such as the UN, the government of Liberia, and civil society, including Camp for Peace Liberia. In an effort to address such challenges, Camp for Peace Liberia implements a range of programs, including the War Affected Youth (WAY) program, which works to reintegrate former child soldiers and ex-combatants though vocational training, and the Non-Violence and Peace Education program, that gathers youth to participate in workshops focused on non-violent communication and mitigation. 

Colleagues also raised the importance of national ownership and inclusivity as key for building upon the peacebuilding work led in the country. It was shared that critical to supporting sustainable peace will be implementing inclusive peacebuilding work processes that are owned and led by communities. QUNO looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Learwellie and the UN community in promoting inclusive peacebuilding approaches.

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