April 2016

Research paper: Access to seeds: lessons from the access to medicines debate

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This new research paper considers what lessons the access to medicines debate provides for those concerned with protecting farmers’ access to seeds. Taking the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health as its point of departure, this paper explores implications for interested parties at the international and national levels, as well as for multilateral institutions themselves.

Key messages include: 

1) The importance of public opinion and pragmatic coalition-building in raising the political capital to deal with sensitive negotiating topics;

2) The need for national governments to use TRIPS flexibilities in the same way that many already have for safeguarding access to medicines;

3) The urgent need for sustained, productive collaboration between relevant multilateral institutions to clarify the governance structure for plant genetic resources. By doing so they can help ensure farmers' continued freedom to experiment with, store, exchange and re-use seed - essential practices for maintaining biodiversity and achieving food security.

The paper, prepared by QUNO Programme Assistant Patrick Endall (Food & Sustainability, Climate Change) is available here, or by clicking on the link below.

All QUNO work is published under a Creative Commons license.

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March 2016

QUNO Geneva backs junior staff pay campaign

Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) Geneva is pleased to lend its support to the aims of the ‘We Pay Our Interns’ initiative, recently instituted by a group of Geneva-based non-governmental organizations.

While QUNO has chosen not to employ interns, we do instead provide annual Programme Assistant posts, which provide a year-long, paid and structured development opportunity for junior professionals.

QUNO particularly supports the principle of Articles 2 and 3 of the We Pay Our Interns Charter, which requires its member organisations to provide adequate levels of payment for junior staff, and to ensure a selection process free from discrimination of any kind. Further information about this campaign is available at: http://www.wepayourinterns.org

We are now accepting applications for three Programme Assistant vacancies for the 2016-17 period, working on Human Rights and Refugees, Peacebuilding and Climate Change, and Food and Sustainability. More information on these posts is available here.

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March 2016

QUNO delivers oral statement on minorities in criminal justice systems at the HRC

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the impact of discrimination against minorities in the criminal justice system during the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The issue was raised by QUNO in response to the presentation of the final recommendations from the eighth session of the Forum on Minority Issues, which had originally taken place during November 2015.

QUNO highlighted the relationship between the overcriminalization and overincarceration of minorities in criminal justice systems, and the disproportionate impacts of parental incarceration faced by minority children. We called upon States to protect and uphold the rights of members of minority groups, including children, in criminal justice systems.

Daniel Cullen, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered the statement during the Item 5 General Debate discussion on Wednesday 16 March.

The full text of the statement is linked below on this page, and video (beginning at chapter 20 on sidebar) is available at the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/human-rights-council/watch/item5-general-debate-42nd-meeting-31st-regular-session-human-rights-council/4803282611001 

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March 2016

QUNO welcomed peacebuilders from around the world for 'What's Next in Peacebuilding?' gathering

QUNO gathered a group of 15 peacebuilding organisations from around the world for a three day gathering on 'What's Next in Peacebuilding?' at Quaker House in New York. The event was an opportunity to discuss a variety of issues relevant to peacebuilding practice today, including peace perspectives on humanitarian action, new perspectives on the prevention of violent conflict, funding for peacebuilding, and the role for peacebuilding organisations in the Middle East. Within the busy agenda there was also time set aside for open discussion, giving space for deeper reflection. There was much discussion around the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, conflict prevention and the recent reviews of the Peacebuilding Architecture, Peace Operations and Women, Peace and Security.

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February 2016

QUNO presents at international colloquium on global governance

On 4-5 February, QUNO's Food & Sustainability representative travelled to The Hague, Netherlands, to attend and present at a colloquium at the International Institute of Social Studies. Susan was among a diverse set of speakers examining the intersections between global governance and politics, climate justice and agrarian / social justice.

Her paper calls for a reinvigoration of the public sector, with a particular focus on food security, small-scale farmers and intellectual property rules.

 

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February 2016

QUNO speaks at Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organisations in International Affairs

QUNO New York director, Andrew Tomlinson, spoke at the Second Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organisations in International Affairs, which had a thematic focus on the links between religion, violence and extremism. He was invited to speak as a panelist on the intersections of religion and violence, alongside Professor Dr. John L. Esposito from Georgetown University. Andrew's comments focused on providing a peacebuilding perspective to the prevention of violent extremism, and highlighting the work of faith-based and peacebuilding organizations in fragile and conflict-affected states.

To watch the video, please click here. Andrew Tomlinson's speech is featured at 2 hours and 6 minutes.

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February 2016

QUNO co-hosts violent extremism report launch

In the midst of UN discussions on the Secretary-General's recent Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE), QUNO co-hosted the launch of three reports by Saferworld on counter-terrorism, stabilisation and statebuilding in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. A packed room of Member States, UN officials, think tanks and NGOs engaged with multiple panels of speakers, including experts on PVE and the regions concerned, as well as UN representatives. 

The reports highlight the failures of counter-terrorism, stabilisation and statebuilding to promote peace and stop violent militancy from spreading across the Middle East and North Africa. Participants debated lessons from past international engagement with terror and instability, and considered future approaches that would rely less on security-based counter-terrorism strategies. The roundtable came at an opportune time, when the UN is seeking to revitalise the international community's promotion of peace and stability in the face of contemporary security threats.

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January 2016

QUNO Food & Sustainability publications now available in four languages

Three of QUNO's recent policy briefs from the Food & Sustainability programme are now available online in up to four languages. All QUNO work is published under a Creative Commons license. Copies of all QUNO publications can be downloaded free by following the links below, while hard copies are available on request to quno@quno.ch.

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December 2015

QUNO remarks in Washington on the universal application of the peaceful, just and inclusive societies approach within the SDGs

QUNO New York Director, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to speak at a meeting of the Washington-based Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum on 'The Future of Goal 16: Peace and Inclusion in the Sustainable Development Goals', along with Lynn Wagner of IISD and Cynthia Clapp-Wincek, a consultant and policy expert with the US government, in a session chaired by Liz Hume of the Alliance for Peacebuilding. Andrew's remarks focused on the universal application of the peaceful, just and inclusive societies agenda within the SDGs. The lively discussion included comments on the applicability of this approach to the US.

The session is webcast here.
 

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January 2016

QUNO co-hosted briefing on new UN rules on treatment of prisoners

QUNO Geneva co-hosted a briefing on the new revised UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (known as the "Nelson Mandela Rules"), the key set of international standards on detention conditions and the treatment of prisoners.

The event, organized in conjunction with Penal Reform International (PRI), the Permanent Mission of Switzerland and the Permanent Mission of Uruguay took place on Thursday 4 February.

An expert panel, moderated by Laurel Townhead, Representative for Human Rights and Refugees, addressed issues around the process of revising the original rules and discuss ideas for the implementation of the new updated rules.

The event was broadcast live online and is available for viewing here.

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