April 2016

2016 Holley Lecture in Applied Ethics

On April 26, 2016, Andrew Tomlinson gave the 2016 Holley Lecture in Applied Ethics at Bloomfield College, New Jersey, entitled "Every country my country, and every man my brother: Values and transformation in international policy settings". 

The QUNO New York Director made the point that values can provide an effective and legitimate approach to international policy work, that progress is often made through engaging with the inconsistencies in the values that people hold, and that that fostering values-based change requires us to develop different strategies that (for us) include listening, reaching out, making connections to real peoples’ lives and creating safe spaces for new ideas to emerge.

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May 2016

Bringing member states together around the peaceful societies' agenda

In July, the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development will take place at the UN in New York. The HLPF will be the primary UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted in September 2015. Twenty-two countries will undergo National Reviews during the HLPF, which will examine the processes they have undertaken to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at a national level. 

In collaboration with the International Peace Institute (IPI), QUNO is working on a project to support member states involved in the upcoming HLPF, specifically in regards to the peaceful, just and inclusive societies' component of the 2030 Agenda. In adopting the SDGs, member states agreed that peace is a necessary precondition for sustainable development, with good governance, inclusive institutions and participatory decision-making of essential importance. 

QUNO and IPI brought together experts from among this group of 22 states at Quaker House, providing them with the opportunity to hear from one another and share insights and strategies on how they plan on integrating the peace components of the 2030 Agenda in their first national review. This informal, off-the-record meeting allowed for insightful updates on the process of implementing the SDGs at a national level--insights that are often absent in high-level policy discussions within the UN system. 

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April 2016

Bringing the perspectives of Chinese scholars to the UN

In April, AFSC and QUNO collaborated to bring three Chinese scholars and UN experts to the UN. During their short but productive trip, they presented their research on UN peace operations and shared their perspectives on three recent major UN reviews to a variety of Member States, UN officials, think tanks and other civil society actors in New York. China is becoming increasingly involved in supporting UN peace operations and peacebuilding in conflict-affected and post-conflict states, especially in Africa. Discussion on the three UN reviews remains at the forefront of the UN’s agenda and QUNO believes it is crucial to bring a diversity of voices and perspectives to this process. By bringing these scholars to the UN, QUNO and AFSC hope to have contributed to this effort and provided the space for frank and open dialogue about China’s involvement in peace operations. 

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April 2016

The Paris Climate Change Agreement: the most critical work begins now

Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, reflects on the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Over the course of three years leading up to COP21, QUNO engaged in quiet diplomacy at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), offering delegates a more 'human' space in what could seem at times like an inhuman environment.

The report, available below, offers insight into this process, thoughts on the Agreement itself and a vision for what might lie ahead.

The most critical work begins now.

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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 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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