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

July 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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July 2017

QUNO advocates for inclusive approaches to peacebuilding funding at PBC annual session

QUNO was one of four civil society organizations that participated in the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s (PBC) annual session held on 30 June 2017, on the topic of “Partnerships for Financing for Peace”. The session’s focus was timely as adequate financing and partnerships are critical areas for peacebuilding efforts. Official development assistance to conflict affected countries is often insufficient, unevenly distributed, and short term. Additionally, funding during transitions from conflict to peace needs to be maintained to sustain peace and build resilience – a key area where the UN aims to make improvements. The PBC’s session provided a platform to reflect on lessons learned and key policy gaps in financing and partnerships for peacebuilding, and provided the opportunity to discuss options and innovative solutions to address challenges.

It was against this backdrop that the PBC convened a wide range of strategic stakeholders from within and outside the UN, including international financial institutions, regional bodies, member states, civil society and the private sector. The day included panel discussions and interactive sessions, which provided opportunities for participants to share their views, experience, and questions.

QUNO was asked to assist with the coordination of civil society participation in the event, and was pleased that this support allowed for four organizations to lend their voices to the discussions. QUNO New York Director, Andrew Tomlinson, contributed actively in the interactive discussions alongside Saferworld, the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). We were also pleased to see our partners at the Alliance for Peacebuilding featured during one of the panel sessions.

In the first session, on good practices to ensure sustainable financing, discussions centered on the need to find better ways to coordinate action between stakeholders in fragile contexts, and on finding innovative funding options. QUNO noted that effective use of existing funding needs to be made by “ensuring all humanitarian and development action is deployed in such a way as to support – or at worst not work against – the commitment to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and sustaining peace”. For example, many UN programs still do not mainstream conflict sensitive approaches into their programming, and this is a key area where the UN can improve the effective use of existing funds to sustain peace. 

The second session was on the topic of redefining partnerships and the potential for increased collaboration to mobilize resources for peace. The importance of inclusion and non-financial resources were highlighted, especially relating to the role women and youth play in sustaining peace. Mr. Tomlinson remarked on the need to make peacebuilding funding more effective by piloting longer term funding cycles for peacebuilding projects, by scaling up peacebuilding efforts to regional and national levels, and by making peacebuilding projects more inclusive. 

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July 2017

QUNO NY Director delivers a statement during the UN High-Level event on Human Security and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda

"The human security approach is instrumental to sustainable development, inclusive peace, justice and the well-being and dignity of all people and it is, in fact, central to the 2030 Agenda" - UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed

QUNO New York's Director, Andrew Tomlinson, delivered a statement at the UN High-Level Event on "Human Security and its Contribution to Agenda 2030" held on 7 July in New York. Organised by the UN Human Security Unit in close collaboration with the Friends of Human Security, the event provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences and best practices on how human security contributes towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. 

This high-level meeting was timely as the world currently faces multiple humanitarian crises, with over two million people displaced or living in conflict affected areas. The theme of the meeting emphasized resilient societies which are at the core of the 2030 agenda, promoting a world “free from poverty, hunger, disease and want”. 

A number of UN actors and Member State representatives spoke on the panel, as well as Thera Boubacar from the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). QUNO also participated from the floor, as the only civil society organization formally requested to speak during the discussion. Mr. Tomlinson echoed the timeliness of the event, saying "agenda 2030, which all states have committed to, provides a roadmap, which is in line with the human security approach and supports resilience.” He took the opportunity to remind the room that the 2030 Agenda includes a commitment by all member states to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and that the biggest challenge being faced is uneven implementation. Additionally, he brought attention to the continued challenge of the shrinking of space for civil society working to advance these agendas. 

In his statement, he noted that "We are at a critical point where precedents and patterns are being set," and called for all stakeholders to urgently recommit to the peace mandate within the 2030 Agenda, which provides a clear road map by which humanitarian and development objectives can be achieved. 

Mr. Tomlinson’s oral statement can be found at 1:56:09

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