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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March 2017

QUNO Submits Written Input to the Berlin Charter on Rural Development and Food Security

In March, QUNO submitted a written contribution to The Berlin Charter on rural development and food security that emphasized the importance of small-scale farmers as an agent of change. Support for small-scall farmers is particularly important in the context of rural development and the need to make rural life and the activities of small-scale farmers an attractive option to youth. The Federal German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) invited an international group of high-level experts to develop the The Berlin Charter, which will be presented as an input to the BMZ International Conference on Rural Development entitled One Hunger, Future of the Rural World. This conference will be held in Berlin on April 27-28, 2017.

The Berlin Charter highlights major global trends, challenges and in particular arising opportunities for rural areas. Its aim is to portray a modern and innovation-driven development vision of the rural world, closing with a call for action to the international development community. The Charter is intended to motivate decision-makers to step up to support rural development. More broadly, the Charter is supposed to serve as a roadmap and an inspiration and finally as a reminder of how important rural development is for achieving sustainable global development.

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March 2017

QUNO Submits Written Input to Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food in Humanitarian Contexts

In March 2017, QUNO attended an informal discussion on the Right to Food in humanitarian contexts organized by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver. Our Food & Sustainability and Peace and Disarmament programmes submitted a joint statement emphasizing the importance of agricultural biodiversity, small-scale farmers, and informal seed systems in humanitarian contexts. QUNO highlighted that resilience is central to any sustained response to food insecurity in crises or crises-prone situations and small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity are central to resilience. Therefore, thoughtful and targeted rehabilitation is necessary to build and consolidate peace while contributing to food security and rural development after a humanitarian crisis has subsided. The full statement is available below.

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March 2017

Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace

On March 28th, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted a meeting entitled "Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace." This meeting was in collaboration with the Mediation Support Network, a global network of twenty-one non-governmental organizations that support mediation in peace negotiations.

QUNO co-facilitates the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda by strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society and the UN. This meeting provided the Platform with an opportunity to use its diverse network to better inform the conversation on harnessing the synergies between prevention and mediation.   

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform brought together UN actors, civil society organizations, and member states to discuss concrete examples of how civil society actors are promoting mediation and prevention practices and processes in addressing political tensions and armed conflict.

To open the discussion, a few members of the Mediation Support Network shared their experiences using examples from Colombia, Myanmar and Mexico. The participants highlighted the role of civil society in armed conflict and the important role they play in bridging UN actors and the local people. The use of mediation as an early warning tool was echoed in several presentations. One of the major challenges highlighted was that it was difficult for societies to transition into peace if they are not used to living in peace. Therefore, due to the ever-changing nature of conflict, the participants agreed that innovative measures of mediation are more important than ever. 

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March 2017

QUNO Food & Sustainability Programme Delivers Oral Statement at Human Rights Council

The Clustered Interactive Dialogue (ID) on Sustainable Environment and on the Right to Food was held at the 34th session of the Human Rights Council. During the event, both the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, Mr. John Knox, and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Ms. Hilal Elver, presented their findings.

In an oral statement, delivered by Nora Meier, Programme Assistant for Food & Sustainability at the Interactive Dialogue, we commended Mr. Knox for his report and thanked him for recognizing the explicit connection between agricultural biodiversity and global food and nutrition security and the ability to adapt to climate change and other abiotic and biotic stressors. Furthermore, we highlighted that industrial agriculture is the largest driver of biodiversity loss and causing harm to the health of people and our planet. We ended our oral statement by asking Mr. Knox: “What action should States take separately and jointly to support the role of small-scale farmers in managing agricultural biodiversity in order to mitigate and prevent the negative impact on enjoyment of human rights arising from loss of biodiversity?”

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