Timeline

High Level Policy Engagement

QUNO engages with the broader policy debates on peacebuilding and prevention at the UN in New York. From time to time QUNO also works on topical situations such as Palestinian statehood.
March 2017

QUNO and the Centre for International Cooperation Cohost a Discussion on the 'Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies'

On 15 March, QUNO and the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) of New York University cohosted a meeting at Quaker House where CIC presented a discussion paper: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies: A Call to Action to Change our World. The meeting encouraged an in-depth discussion of the paper’s proposals and their overall expected impact, and participants shared their insights and expertise with the authors.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares, “there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.” While SDG 16 seeks to “foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies,” there are strong links and connections across many of the Agenda’s goals that, together, contribute towards the promotion of peace, justice, and inclusivity. The linkages between these different goals have often become referred to as “SDG16+.” The interconnected and universal nature of the SDGs was a key point made by Mr. Andrew Tomlinson, UN Representative and QUNO Director, who facilitated the meeting’s discussion. Mr. Tomlinson also reflected on how moving the 2030 Agenda forward, particularly SDG16+, has the potential to be transformative for global affairs, and have the most far reaching impact across people’s lives throughout the world.

Participants discussed how the paper aims to provide a starting point for a roadmap to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s “peaceful, just and inclusive societies” mandate, which seeks to turn the ambition of the SDG16+ targets into reality. During the meeting, Mr. David Steven of CIC provided an overview of why a roadmap is needed and what impact it can deliver, setting out several recommendations for its structure and content. This roadmap process is being led by The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a group of UN member states, international organizations, and other partners, convened by the governments of Brazil, Sierra Leone and Switzerland, in cooperation with CIC.

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March 2017

Threats to US support for the United Nations: affirming core values

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 US 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.

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 how the various draft bills and draft Executive Orders may or may not progress, 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.

For those in the United States, FCNL, the Better World Campaign and the UN Association of the USA provide avenues for action in support of the UN, including ways to contact legislators.

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February 2017

Chinese Perspectives on Africa's Peace and Security Challenges: Views from the Field

QUNO, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) convened a two-day workshop in New York that provided a forum for academics from various Chinese institutions to share their research and perspectives on peace and security issues in Africa with a broad policy audience. With support from a joint SSRC-AFSC pilot fellowship program, six Chinese PhD scholars completed research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe and at the African Union where they looked at China’s engagement in UN peace operations, regional partnerships, and the role of China’s commercial interests in sustaining peace. In addition to co-sponsoring the workshop, QUNO’s UN Representative for the Prevention of Violent Conflict, Rachel Madenyika, participated as a discussant, sharing her reflections on the role of business in prevention and sustaining peace.

China continues to rapidly increase its participation in UN peace operations, and is becoming more involved in supporting peace operations and peacebuilding efforts in conflict affected countries and regions, especially in Africa. During the workshop, participants reflected on how in China there is an increasing focus on the importance of investing in development projects as a way to foster peace and address root causes of conflict. Chinese development actors and investors moving these projects forward face challenges with identifying and understanding the drivers and root causes of conflict. 

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January 2017

Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda: Opportunities for Prevention

On the occasion of the High Level Debate, “Building Sustainable Peace for All”, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform held an informal, off the record lunch discussion on “Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda: Opportunities for Prevention” to further explore avenues for strengthening prevention at the UN through leveraging synergies between Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda. The meeting sought to identify what opportunities exist for promoting civil society-UN cooperation, and how to ensure that such efforts can have a direct impact on the populations in focus. The conversation brought together CSO perspectives and experiences on the ground, UN actors and Member States. 

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November 2016

QUNO participates at the UNDP High Level Seminar on Conflict Prevention, Dialogue and Reconciliation in Africa

QUNO participated in a 3-day seminar in Johannesburg South Africa, on conflict prevention, dialogue and reconciliation in Africa. Hosted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the seminar gathered UN experts, private sector practitioners and civil society actors to provide UNDP leadership at the country level with new thinking and approaches to facilitating conflict prevention efforts, national dialogue and reconciliation mechanisms in Africa.  The Seminar created an opportunity for participants to address the critical questions regarding successes, challenges, opportunities for conflict prevention, dialogue and reconciliation as structures for providing democratic governance, preventing violence and peacebuilding in the continent. QUNO UN Representative on Prevention, Rachel Madenyika presented in a workshop entitled “Who ‘does’ dialogue and where? Exploring the key stakeholders and their approaches.”  The presentation highlighted the importance of linking local, national, regional and global actors in conflict prevention as well as looked at the role of Quakers in reconciliation and dialogue.

QUNO welcomed the opportunity to be part of this High Level event and is looking forward to the outcomes and next steps of this important agenda.

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November 2016

Another Successful meeting by the CSO-UN Prevention Platform

QUNO is a part of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which recently concluded an extensive mapping exercise within the UN system to gain a better understanding of how different UN agencies and departments in New York conceptualize prevention. The mapping exercise included: identifying what prevention tools are available and lacking; pinpointing keys to success or failure; noting how to improve communication between UN Headquarters and the field and foster more coordinated analysis; determining the main obstacles to UN-civil society cooperation and how to overcome fragmentation within the system. As a follow up to the mapping, the Prevention Platform held the first of three meetings in October which looked at the different UN actors' perspectives, approaches, etc. on prevention more broadly. Most recently, the Prevention Platform held its second discussion focusing on 'Civil society perspectives on obstacles and opportunities to better support the UN's work on prevention' at Quaker House. 

The Civil Society UN Prevention Platform aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations (CSOs) and the UN at all levels, in particular through close collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs. The platform seeks to identify concrete, practical steps to enhance the UN and CSO's collective capacity to carry out preventive work, through sharing examples of best practices, identifying areas of potential collaboration on thematic issues and country cases, and supporting UN efforts to bridge early warning and early action. The platform considers conflict prevention broadly as encompassing inclusive activities aimed at addressing the root causes of conflict and supporting societies in preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, at both a structural and an operational level.

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October 2016

Sustaining Peace

QUNO hosted a meeting for the Group of Friends of Sustaining Peace, chaired by the Permanent Mission of Mexico.

The sustaining peace agenda is the outcome of a landmark UN agreement (resolution 2282, below), which takes a wider view of the roles peacebuilding and prevention of violent conflict activities will play moving forward. 

The preamble of the dual resolution defines sustaining peace as encompassing "activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development.”

This new concept has the potential to fundamentally reorient how the UN conducts its efforts to sustain peace, because it demands a UN system which is coherent in its organization, practices sustained engagement and coordination in interventions and aims to accomplish the spirit of the UN Charter.

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October 2016

In & Around the UN - New York's quarterly Newsletter

Our New York office is pleased to share our newest Newsletter, In & Around the UN, featuring articles on the new UN Secretary General, integrating human rights and sustaining peace, the new global framework for peace and more.

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October 2016

QUNO Submits Contribution to Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & the Environment

Following up on a public consultation on Biodiversity and Human Rights at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO submitted a contribution to Special Rapporteur John Knox’s upcoming report on biodiversity and human rights.

The contribution focuses on the application of a human rights approach to agricultural biodiversity. QUNO finds the latter to be a critical subset of biodiversity, upon which all of humanity depends. Small-scale farmers are the active managers and developers of the majority of this diversity worldwide. QUNO believes that a human rights interpretation of agricultural biodiversity may encourage States to proactively develop legislation, programs and policies that are supportive of small-scale farmers.

QUNO therefore calls upon Mr. Knox to consider including agricultural biodiversity in his report on human rights obligations as they relate to the protection of biological diversity and ecosystems to be released in March 2017.

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September 2016

QUNO Attends WTO Public Forum 2016 on Inclusive Trade

During the last week of September 2016, QUNO attended the WTO Public Forum on Inclusive Trade. Throughout various plenary sessions and side events, QUNO followed the discussions on how to enable a wider range of individuals and businesses to participate in the trading systems and how WTO rules can help to ensure everyone benefits from trade. In particular, QUNO paid close attention to the panel discussions on the roles of agriculture and small scale farmers in today’s global trading system. 

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Event of Note
September 2016

Peacebuilding Statement for International Day of Peace

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.

 

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July 2016

QUNO co-hosts high level meeting on Refugees, Migrants and the 2030 Agenda

On 20 July, 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.

Video of the event is available here.

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.

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June 2016

QUNO hosts ECOWAS Ambassador to the UN

QUNO facilitated a conversation at Quaker House in New York for Ambassador Leon Tanou Kone, the Permanent Observer of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with member states and UN staff. Ambassador Kone gave a useful update on the security, climate change and migration issues in West Africa. In light of recent discussions on the need for greater collaboration between the UN and regional organisations, this meeting was an opportunity for the UN community to act upon this recommendation through an informal, in-depth dialogue with the ECOWAS Ambassador. 

This meeting was the second in a series of meetings taking place at Quaker House that bring UN actors and African regional and sub-regional organisations together to discuss issues of shared concern, including around the prevention of violent conflict. 

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June 2016

Building On Sydney Bailey's Security Council Procedure Legacy

Former QUNO Director Sydney Bailey (1916 - 1995) wrote extensively on the United Nations and peacemaking. Of particular importance was his work on three editions of "The Procedure of the UN Security Council" which has been a primary reference for diplomats since the first edition was published in 1975.

On June 27th, QUNO New York was delighted to host a meeting of the NGO Working Group on the Security Council with Loraine Sievers, former Chief of the UN Security Council Secretariat Branch and one of the authors of the recently published Fourth Edition of the "Procedure", (along with Sam Daws who worked on the third edition with Sydney). The new edition is now kept up to date through new articles on a dedicated website.

The meeting drew strong interest from NGOs, and the discussion ranged from examining the process around appointing a new Secretary General to considering the various forms of engagement that civil society can have with council members.

It was heartening to see that Sydney Bailey's pioneering work lives on.

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June 2016

QUNO supports civil society action on peace issues in the 2030 Agenda

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Member States in September 2015, is well on its way. To encourage coordinated and effective action, QUNO and the International Peace Institute brought together a broad array of civil society representatives at Quaker House to take stock of current initiatives, identify gaps and consider possibilities for collaboration, both on Goal 16 (on peace, justice and inclusive institutions) and on the peaceful societies issues within the SDGs more broadly. 

The meeting was remarkable for the interest shown by a wide range of organizations, working on issues ranging from disarmament to corruption, from peacebuilding to justice, governance and human rights, and included those working on issues of women and youth and political inclusion. 

QUNO was pleased to support key peace actors in coming together together as a community of like-minded groups working towards a common goal, at a time when the implementation of Goal 16 and related goals and targets are being cited as a core part of moving forward on peacebuilding and prevention.

Below is a summary document of the meeting. 

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June 2016

QUNO contributes to PBC annual session

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson was one of a small number of civil society representatives who took part in the third annual session of the UN's Peacebuilding Commission (PBC). The focus of this year's annual session was Transitions as a challenge to consolidating peace and security: The role of the PBC in diplomacy and political accompaniment. QUNO made interventions in both of the interactive working sessions, which have been compiled in a document entitled Transitions, Inclusion and Opportunities in the new UN Peacebuilding Landscape.

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June 2016

QUNO hosts discussion on strengthening the UN-AU partnership

quno event

QUNO organized an informal discussion at Quaker House between African Union expert Dr. Cedric de Coning, civil society, UN staff and Member States. This meeting, during which Dr. de Coning provided his perspective on the state of the relationship between the UN and the African Union (AU), was a follow-up to a recent open debate in the Security Council on UN-AU cooperation for greater peace and security. The discussion was an opportunity for New York-based actors to gain insight into the inner workings of the AU and think of ways to enhance UN-AU cooperation from UN headquarters.

Improving the relationship between the UN and the AU has been a priority for the UN system over the past year, as a result of a recommendation from the recent UN report of the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) that calls for greater cooperation between these two institutions. As part of the Prevention of Violent Conflict program, QUNO has been honing into this recommendation, with a focus on building relationships between relevant UN actors engaged with the AU, including African Member States. This meeting was the first in a series of meetings that will take place in the informal setting of Quaker House and will bring UN, AU and African sub-regional organizations together to discuss issues of shared concern.

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June 2016

In & Around the UN: New Newsletter from our New York office

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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May 2016

Peacebuilding organizations in "Peace Promise" to address conflict drivers of humanitarian need

As the World Humanitarian Summit opens in Istanbul, peacebuilding organizations, including civil society, UN agencies and the World Bank, have issued a series of commitments - known as the "Peace Promise" - to more effective synergies among peace, humanitarian and development actions in complex humanitarian situations, with the aim of reducing human suffering by addressing the drivers of conflict and vulnerability.

In consultation with QUNO, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), as an operational agency, was one of 25 organizations to sign on. 

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May 2016

QUNO speaks at side event to UN debate on Peace and Security

In May the UN held a High-Level Thematic Debate on Peace and Security. QUNO representative Camilla Campisi participated as a panel speaker in a side event to the debate organised by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and International IDEA. The event focused on how enhanced cooperation with civil society and regional organisations can help the UN fulfill its purpose on peace and security.

QUNO shared findings and recommendations from the report co-authored with GPPAC last year on civil society engagement with the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture (PBA). QUNO stressed how this is a significant moment for the UN to focus on peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict, particularly given the recent joint Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the PBA, and how civil society must be a part of this work. The UN's Peacebuilding Commission must improve its transparency to be more accessible and create strategic partnerships where civil society can be a part of the full process. Civil society should also contribute to conflict analyses carried out by the UN, which would provide a broader understanding of the local context and what types of peacebuilding approaches are needed. 

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