October 2018

IPCC presents its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C

In October, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met in Incheon, South Korea, to present its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C, and to work with States to finalize the Report’s Summary for Policy Makers. The full Report took nearly two years to prepare, included 91 authors and review editors from 40 countries, contributions from thousands of expert and government reviewers, and cited over 6,000 scientific references. 

QUNO was an expert reviewer and was present at the IPCC meeting in Incheon. We worked with scientists to engage negotiators, and made four interventions to strengthen what we considered significant research findings in the Report. This included findings that human behavior change, including diets, consumption and land-use, would make profound contributions to reducing GHG emissions, and reduce a reliance on geo-engineering that remain unproven on a large scale. QUNO calls for personal witness alongside political engagement with decision makers, to ensure humanity acts in time to protect the most vulnerable, and all future generations, from catastrophic climate change. Our summary with highlights from the report and QUNO's perspective is available below.

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August 2018

The SDGs and Prevention: Beyond the Obvious

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was pleased to convene a meeting entitled “The SDGs and Prevention: Beyond the Obvious”. Held a few weeks after the High Level Political Forum, the UN platform for reviewing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this meeting provided a timely opportunity for civil society, Member States and UN agencies to discuss innovative ways of doing prevention within the framework of the SDGs.

Held at Quaker House, this event brought together various experts to discuss practical examples of how to do prevention work in the context of the SDGs. Participants agreed that for prevention to be successful, it must be both permanent and intentional, and carried out far in advance of the onset of a conflict. Conversation reflected on dynamic and innovative preventive efforts, with participants reflecting on how architecture and urban design have the potential to be tools for effective and efficient prevention. Likewise, it was agreed that best practices from work in the field of disaster-risk reduction, as well as public health, nuclear non-proliferation and community engagement with equity at its heart, all offer potential lessons for prevention.

Established in 2016, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations and the UN at all levels. The Platform looks forward to continuing the conversation on how best to think innovatively about prevention and to continue to support the UN on its work on this issue.

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September 2018

QUNO delivers statement at the 39th HRC, calling for a shift in mindset and practice to improve prevention through the UPR

Photo credit: UN Geneva flickr https://bit.ly/2OSRi51

In September, QUNO delivered a statement during the 39th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, calling for a shift in mindset and practice to improve prevention through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. As human rights violations are often at the root of destructive conflict, the UPR constitutes an important entry point to collaboratively address violations, that if left unaddressed, could lead to violent conflict. However, the lack of participation by peacebuilders throughout the process as well as concerns about the motives of closer coordination across silos undermines the effectiveness of the UPR to sustain peace. The full text of the statement is available below.

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September 2018

Development and Security Rely on Peace, Justice and Inclusion: Statement by 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 over 80 additional 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, “in many cases, governments are pursuing security using militarized approaches, either in the absence of, or in isolation from, policies that decrease exclusion and inequality – core drivers of conflict. If we are to have a hope of eliminating extreme poverty, fostering peaceful and prosperous societies, and addressing the root causes of conflict, then governments need to urgently re-align their priorities."

The statement calls on governments and the international community to:

  • Fully embrace the commitments to peace in the 2030 Agenda
  • Reaffirm a commitment to human rights, the foundation for human dignity and just societies
  • Foster social resilience by strengthening inclusion and addressing inequality
  • Think local and act global: recommit to multilateralism as a safeguard for the most vulnerable
  • Protect and support civil society in fostering sustainable peace

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

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July 2018

QUNO Participates in 2018 FGC Gathering Quaker Truth Talks

QUNO NY's Director and Quaker UN Representative, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to give one of three Quaker Truth Talks at a plenary session of the 2018 Friends General Conference Gathering in Toledo, Ohio. Andrew joined Friends Paula Palmer and Oskar Castro with a presentation entitled "From Spirit to Action: Examining the Roots of Quaker UN Work".

Weaving together the strands of the history of Quaker social action, the work of QUNO and personal transformation, the presentation concludes: "..the things that Quakers do well in social action have their roots in Quaker spiritual practice, and  the fruits of that practice, in the qualities of insight, fellow-feeling, groundedness, integrity, inclusivity, hope and love, are the same things that have characterized Friends’ unique contribution over hundreds of years.."

The video for Andrew's presentation can be found here

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June 2018

What's Next in Peacebuilding?

Recent developments in peacebuilding policy have given us new global commitments, such as the commitment to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the 2030 Agenda, and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. Yet these commitments are extremely broad, presenting significant challenges in follow-up and implementation. If peace is everything, then how does a government, a civil society group, a donor or an agency prioritize between different programmatic, budgetary and policy alternatives? 

QUNO hosted a group of peacebuilding organizations from 18-20 June for our annual gathering on “What’s Next in Peacebuilding?”. The meeting, which encouraged new insights from peacebuilding leaders around the world, set the stage for an informal discussion and exchange of views. Participants addressed the central issues of peacebuilding from the perspectives of practitioners, donors, and policy experts. 

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June 2018

Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review

On 26 June, QUNO, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Germany and Switzerland, who co-chair the cross-regional Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses in New York and Geneva, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), co-hosted a discussion on “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)”. As the 2016 sustaining peace resolutions adopted by the Security Council and General Assembly, and the Secretary-General’s 2018 Report on the same subject, call upon Member States and the UN to consider the human rights dimension of peacebuilding, this event provided a timely opportunity for civil society, UN agencies, and Member States to discuss how the UPR can contribute to better integrating human rights and sustaining peace. 

Hosted at UN Headquarters, this high-level meeting began with a presentation by Florence Foster of QUNO-Geneva on a recent study entitled “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace” exploring how the UPR is an inclusive, universal and the least contentious Human Rights Council process, and how its recommendations can be developed and implemented to prevent human rights violations that if left unaddressed could lead to conflict. The report recommends greater attention to be paid to conflict analysis throughout the UPR process, a shift in mindset away from the fragmented perception of human rights as a prerogative of Geneva versus peacebuilding and security as a prerogative of New York, and the levelling of dialogue spaces for human rights conversations addressing sustaining peace matters. 

The presentation was followed by an interactive panel discussion including Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Andrew Gilmour, Head of the OHCHR Office in New York, ASG Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, and Katy Thompson, Governance & Peace Building, Conflict Prevention Team Leader at the UN Development Programme, as well as the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations, Ambassador Jorge Skinner-Klee. 

QUNO looks forward to its continued collaboration with all actors on better integrating human rights and sustaining peace, in particular with both Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses.  

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June 2018

Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism

On 25 June 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was pleased to convene a meeting on “Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism”. Held at the onset of a week at the UN focused on counter-terrorism approaches of Member States and the Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, this meeting provided a timely opportunity for UN agencies and civil society organizations to come together to understand the context, and set expectations for the week’s upcoming events.

Held at Quaker House, this event brought various actors together to discuss how to work productively and collaboratively on this issue. The objectives of this meeting were to discuss key actors in countering incitement and preventing violent extremism, to explore ways to better engage local civil society communities; and to consider the lessons learned at local levels and within the UN system. Participants agreed that as the international community attempts to adapt to violent extremism, a more holistic, people-centered approach should be prioritized.

The Platform was pleased to host this discussion and looks forward to continuing to convene meetings between civil society, UN actors and Member States to support the UN on its prevention agenda.

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June 2018

UN Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty – Call for Input

Research is currently underway on a UN Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty and your help is needed.

The Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (called for in UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/157) will shed light on the scale and conditions of children deprived of liberty, identifying good practices and making recommendations for effective measures to prevent human rights violations against children in detention and reduce the number of children deprived of liberty.

One of the chapters of this Study will focus on children detained with their parents in the criminal justice system.  The Study will draw on data from governments but it will also be based on existing research and on the experiences of children who have been deprived of their liberty with a parent and those who work with them. 

A call for input has therefore been issued to help provide the chapter’s Research Group with resources including research and reports on this issue, data on the numbers of children living with a parent and case studies.  Please click on the link below to read the call for input in full. 

If you do have any of the requested information please send it to Stephen Browne sbrowne@quno.org who will compile it so it can be shared with the research leads on behalf of QUNO and COPE, the NGO Focal Points for the Research Group.    

Finally, for updates on the Study please join the NGO Panel for the Study: https://childrendeprivedofliberty.info/   

 

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