Our New York office is happy to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring articles on our recent visit to the Middle East; QUNO's participation in the Women's March; reflections on Somali refugees, and more.
High Level Policy Engagement
The international community of Friends set up the Quaker UN offices 70 years ago to support the United Nations (UN) in its work to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”.
Recent proposals from the new US administration and from the US Congress to reduce the country’s engagement with the UN could damage its ability to carry out its life-saving work. These proposals include draft Executive Orders and legislation in the House and Senate proposing significant funding cuts and other forms of disengagement with the UN. Building on such legislation, in March, the White House released a proposed budget for 2017 that calls for reductions in financial support to the UN budget and peacekeeping operations, and for the end of support of UN climate change programs.
Global military spending is $1.6 trillion, dwarfing the $8 billion UN peacekeeping budget and total UN-related spending of $48 billion. While the US is the largest financial contributor to the United Nations, its annual total contribution to the UN and its agencies represents only 0.1% of the total Federal Budget. Cuts in US funding would put at risk the UN’s important work to address the most critical and pressing issues facing the world.
While it remains to be seen if or how the various draft bills, draft Executive Orders, and proposed White House budget will move forward, the existence of such measures shows the growing uncertain environment facing the UN and global efforts for peace more broadly.
QUNO has produced the below background document, which will be updated as appropriate, to provide additional information and resources to learn more about this pressing issue.
"If we are to faithfully work for peace, justice and inclusion, then we must ourselves act peacefully, justly and inclusively"
On 23 January, 2017, the QUNO New York Director was a speaker at the Third Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, on the topic of "Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Peace".
Governments and other development actors made ground-breaking commitments to fostering peace under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the challenge now lies in implementation.
The QUNO intervention set out what will be needed:
- Normatively, to stay focused on the core issues, the heart of sustainable peace
- At a local and national level, to uphold inclusive national planning, implementation and reporting
- At a global level, to foster external support for peace, justice and inclusion, and
- At home and in our own organizations, to reflect critically on our own processes and actions
Video of the presentation can be found here, starting at minute 28:25.
Our New York office's quarterly Newsletter, featuring articles on the new UN Secretary General, integrating human rights and sustaining peace, the new global framework for peace and more.
In honour of the International Day of Peace, QUNO and peacebuilding organisations from around the world have issued a shared statement to UN member states on the importance of embracing the new global framework for peace.
Over the last year, states have made significant new commitments to addressing the root causes of conflict and displacement, in both the 2030 Agenda and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. The statement calls on governments to embrace this new mandate and to mainstream peace policy, implement peace at home, foster peace around the world, support funding for peace and to protect and support civil society inclusion.
On September 30, 2016, QUNO submitted a contribution to Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox’s upcoming report on biodiversity and human rights. In its contribution, QUNO focuses on the application of a human rights approach to agricultural biodiversity and calls upon Mr. Knox to consider including agricultural biodiversity in his report to be released in March 2017.
Read the contribution by following the link below.
On July 20, 2016, QUNO co-hosted a policy forum discussion with the International Peace Institute in New York , along with the governments of Finland, Germany, Mexico and Morocco, entitled "Ensuring that no one is left behind: A High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Refugees", during the ministerial segment of the High Level Political Forum. At a time when the world is experiencing the largest movements of peoples in recorded history, the goal of the event was to connect the dots between the 2030 Agenda and the upcoming UN Summit in September that will address large movements of refugees and migrants.
Current UN discussions on displaced persons are fragmented, with separate silos for issues of refugees, migrants and internally displaced people, each with their own normative framing, organizational context and political sensitivities. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development provides a new framing, using the mandate for peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and the imperative to "leave no-one behind", to address the needs and perspectives of all those who have been forced to leave their homes, whether from violence and conflict, climate change, or economic necessity.
QUNO New York is excited to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring the following articles by our staff:
- What's Next in Peacebuilding?
- Letter from the New York Director
- Pastor Elie's Visit to New York
- Putting Prevention Back on the UN's Agenda
- Updates from the Geneva Office
- Closer Cooperation between the UN and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations
- QUNO-AFSC Bring the Perspectives of Chinese Scholars to the UN
- Celebrating the Work of Quakers at the UN
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This document includes a summary and recommendations from an informal discussion organized by the New York Peacebuilding Group between member states, UN experts, and civil society actors at Quaker House in New York focused on the implementation of the joint General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture.
This document summarizes the remarks made by QUNO during the 2016 annual session of the UN's Peacebuilding Commission, which focused on Transitions as a challenge to consolidating peace and security: The role of the PBC in diplomacy and political accompaniment.
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.
These are QUNO's remarks.
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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.
QUNO New York Director, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to speak as a panelist in the public consultation on Social Inclusion hosted by the Independent Commission on Multilateralism at the International Peace Institute, together with Dr. Ilze Brands Kehris, and Omar El Okdah. His comments focused on the core nature of the issues of social inclusion, political participation and effective governance and their role in conflict prevention, the nature of inclusive national ownership in practice, and the need for the multilateral system to model inclusion in its own practices.
In honor of the International Day of Peace, QUNO and peacebuilding organizations from around the world have issued to UN Member States a shared statement on the importance of fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Throughout the General Assembly in September, world leaders will sign on to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and there will be high-level discussions on terrorism, UN peace operations and peacebuilding. In light of these events, "Facing the Challenge of Peace" encourages the international community to adopt the following principles: embracing the universality of the 2030 Agenda; seeking to understand local contexts; seeking to do no harm when planning and implementing development, humanitarian, economic and security engagements; focusing on increasing resilience; and prioritizing local needs.
QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson was invited by the UN Association of China to be a plenary speaker at the Beijing event on 20 July, 2015 celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations.
The New York office is please to share our most recent Newsletter, featuring articles on the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, the New York Peacebuilding Group, the post-2015 Development Agenda and new staff.
Statement on the political crisis in Burundi by ten Quaker organisations including QUNO New York.
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As the post-2015 inter-governmental negotiations continue to move towards finalising a new development agenda, we are pleased to bring you an Author's Original Manuscript version of the article "Peace and Post-2015: Into the Home Stretch," that was recently published in the Journal for Peacebuilding and Development. Written by QUNO New York Director and UN Representative, Andrew Tomlinson, the piece reflects on the current state of play of the inclusion of peace issues in the soon to be agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With the culmination of negotiations in July 2015, and the forthcoming United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015, we will continue to work for the inclusion of peace issues in the final agreement. Together with partner organisations from civil society, we recognise this "unique opportunity for those with an interest in fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies to help both to contribute to the grand vision, and to shape the way in which issues of peace, justice and inclusion are prioritized, implemented and monitored for decades to come."
A paper co-authored by QUNO New York and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) focused on civil society engagement in the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA), which includes the Peacebuilding Commission, the Peacebuilding Support Office, and the Peacebuilding Fund. This paper was written as a contribution to the 2015 review of the PBA and is based on interviews with diplomats, UN experts, and civil society in New York as well as field research conducted by local peacebuilders in Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Liberia.
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