July 2017

QUNO participation at YMG 2017 in Warwick

QUNO was excited to join Friends at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) 2017 in Warwick. YMG is a week-long event held every three years by Quakers in Britain, that brings together Quakers, friends and families for an exciting week of community and movement-building. QUNO was represented at YMG by Lindsey Fielder Cook, Andrew Tomlinson, Laurel Townhead and Jonathan Woolley, and participated in four workshops, as well as both nights of the Groups Fair. 

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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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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 participates in Dialogue and Exchange Program on the role of youth in prevention

“…children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world.” – 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

QUNO’s UN Representative for peacebuilding, Megan Schmidt, participated in a Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP) on the role of young people in the prevention of electoral violence, held in Nairobi, Kenya from 29 June to 1 July. This DEP, organized by a range of peacebuilding organizations working throughout Africa, including the American Friends Service Committee’s Nairobi-based office, brought together over 100 young people from 16 countries in Africa to discuss how youth contribute to prevention and peace. Among the DEP’s goals were to connect youth across the continent, equip them through strengthening knowledge and skills for fostering peace, and acknowledge the dynamic work participants are carrying out in their countries.

Through panel and interactive sessions, participants reflected on a range of issues including drivers of conflict, triggers for radicalization and policies for preventing extremism, and available peace frameworks, including UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. QUNO staff delivered a presentation on the 2030 Agenda as a peace tool for young peacebuilders, reflecting on what it is, why the Agenda matters for youth, and how young leaders can take the 2030 Agenda forward. During the panel discussion and conversations throughout the day, QUNO staff had the opportunity to learn more about the rich work carried out by participants in their countries, including on domestic efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, and initiatives to strengthen good governance and political inclusivity, and peace education.

The DEP closed following a Peace Awards ceremony, with winners being acknowledged for their work to impact peacebuilding in their countries and continent, the holding of a concert for peace, and the convening of a sports for peace event that brought together over 300 young people. The participants also agreed to develop the African Youth Peace Network, an online platform to connect youth working for peace, and adopted a declaration that conveys the mission and goals of the Network. QUNO looks forward to seeing this network develop, and working with the diverse and dynamic young peace leaders in their efforts to promote peaceful, just, and inclusive societies in their countries and on their continent.

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June 2017

What's Next In Peacebuilding 2017

QUNO hosted peacebuilders from around the world on 19 and 20 June, at Quaker House, for a two-day gathering titled: 'What's Next in Peacebuilding?'.

The retreat was an opportunity for leading peacebuilders to come together to reflect upon current challenges and opportunities for the peacebuilding field and brainstorm on how to collaborate effectively in the changing global political landscape. 

Participants touched on a range of issues by sharing their perspectives, issues and concerns. Considering this, current UN reform processes were discussed with attention to the effect this may have on civil society organisations, and for peacebuilding writ large. Among others, participants heard from colleagues working in Washington DC about the institutional changes and how these changes will shape the future of peacebuilding efforts. 

Additional sessions on the role youth play in peacebuilding, and on what part peacebuilding practices play in development initiatives and conflict prevention were discussed. In the session on the role of youth, participants observed the importance of youth as peacebuilding actors, moving toward a more nuanced view of their role in the prevention of violent extremism debate. 

Financing for peacebuilding was another key topic the participants discussed, with the conversation centering on current and future challenges and opportunities of various fundraising strategies, and creatively thinking innovative financing peacebuilding. In this vein the topic of partnerships was also raised, especially looking at how civil society organizations can utilize opportunities like "What's Next in Peacbuilding?" to build a strategic vision of peacebuilding, and to build strong cross-global relationships to foster peace.

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June 2017

Conscientious objection to military service: activities at the 35th Session of the Human Rights Council

The 35th Session of the Human Rights Council saw important developments on the issue of conscientious objection to military service.

QUNO welcomes the presentation to the Council of the Analytical report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, noting in particular its focus on good practice towards recognition of this right and the serious gaps in implementation around the world. The report offers a series of concrete recommendations to States towards closing this implementation gap.

The next quadrennial resolution on this issue is due at the next session of the Human Rights Council in September. QUNO was pleased to hear the core group who lead this resolution, Croatia, Costa Rica and Poland, make a joint statement at this session of the council. The statement can be viewed at chapter 4 on the video of this meeting.

QUNO hosted a side event on Monday 19th June at the Human Rights Council, focussed on implementation of the right to conscientious objection to military service. The side event explored the High Commissioner’s report and what further steps the Council can take on the issue of conscientious objection to military service.

QUNO also made a statement on this issue at this session of the Council. Our statement can be viewed here (chapter 63).

QUNO will continue to support greater recognition and implementation of the right to conscientious objection to military service, and will be engaging closely with the upcoming resolution in September. 

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April 2017

QUNO Food & Sustainability Programme Attended the ECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

On April 25, 2017, Food & Sustainability Programme Assistant Nora Meier attended the UNECE Regional Forum on Sustainable Development (RFSD). One day prior to that event, she also followed the preparatory civil society consultation at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, where she was able to connect with organizations from the region.

The RFSD followed up on and reviewed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the UNECE region while focusing on practical value-added and peer learning. During the one-day event, states, civil society and the private sector shared policy solutions, best practices and challenges from their experiences in SDG implementation and helped identifying major regional and subregional trends. The meeting also convened three roundtables on national and local adaptation of SDGs; subregional cooperation for SDG implementation; and on data and monitoring.

In light of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) to be taking place in July in New York, QUNO was interested to learn about the progresses made and processes implemented, in particular as they relate to SDGs 1, 2, 3, 13, 15, and 16.  

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September 2017

Key Messages for a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration must be grounded in international human rights law.

This is the central message of a new paper produced by a group of Geneva-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are interested in a human rights-based response to migration at the UN level. QUNO convenes this informal group of NGOs, with a particular focus on ensuring a human rights basis to this new international agreement on migration, which is due to be adopted in 2018.

The full document is attached below.

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March 2017

QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Releases Three New Publications

Programme Representative Susan H. Bragdon authored three new publications, which were published in March 2017 and are now available online as well as in hard copy.

Are Small-scale Farmers at the Table? Reflections on Small-scale Farmers’ Participation in Global and National Decision-Making provides background and perspective on small-scale farmer representation in international discussions related to food and nutrition security, innovation, climate change, human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals; and makes six recommendations for how multilateral institutions that host negotiations or dialogues can encourage and facilitate the participation of small-scale farmers.

The Foundations of Food Security – Ensuring Support to Small-scale Farmers Managing Agricultural Biodiversity argues that the access and benefit-sharing (ABS) agreements established by the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the Convention on Biological Diversity, or the Nagoya Protocol are, and will continue to be, insufficient for generating the benefit necessary to support the innovative activities of small-scale farmers in conserving, managing, and actively developing the majority of the world’s plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. 

The Evolution of Rights and Responsibilities over Agricultural Biodiversity explores the concerns driving relevant international instruments with the goal of increasing the understanding needed to achieve coherence and mutual support. The paper concludes with suggestions on how to create a system that supports the critical role that agricultural biodiversity plays in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

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March 2017

The Time is Ripe for Governments to Strengthen Sustainable and Food-Secure Farming

In November 2016, QUNO hosted an expert consultation on the role of the public sector in supporting small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity. Over 15 participants from around the world, representing a variety of professional backgrounds, convened to discuss how best to assist governments in determining their roles in ensuring food security and to develop tools for the public sector to create national food policies with small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity at their center. 

One of the outputs of this consultation is The Time is Ripe for Governments to Strengthen Sustainable and Food-Secure Farming, a call-to-action for the international community to mobilize resources for a more proactive role of the public sector in supporting small-scale farmers, their seed systems and the protection of agricultural biodiversity. Furthermore, the paper calls upon national governments to engage in consultation with small-scale farmers to identify what they require in order to effectively engage in activities to support the conversation and sustainable use of biodiversity and to achieve secure livelihoods.

QUNO would like to thank all the participants for their valuable contributions in making this collaborative effort possible. 

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