Timeline

Peace & Disarmament

QUNO’s peace and disarmament work in Geneva recognizes the relationship between peace, development and the environment.
September 2017

QUNO Geneva welcomes a new Peace and Disarmament Representative

Florence Foster

After an international selection process, Florence Foster has been appointed Representative, Peace and Disarmament beginning 1 September.  Florence obtained her Masters degree in International Relations from Bristol University, UK, and has since specialized in displacement and conflict analysis, with an increasing emphasis on disarmament, mediation and conflict transformation. She began her career as an intern at the Global Protection Cluster and the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva.  She then moved onto focusing on West African conflict dynamics during her time at the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, with work in Côte d’Ivoire and Mali. Through her latest roles as Programme Manager at the Fondation Suisse de Déminage and Finn Church Aid, Florence led mediation and armed violence reduction initiatives in the Central African Republic.

We extend a warm welcome to Florence, while also bidding a fond farewell to Diane Hendrick, who successfully led QUNO's work in this area since January 2012, maintaining its core values and taking it in new directions. Diane has decided to return to her homebase in Austria, but we are fortunate that she arranged a smooth hand-over to Florence as Representative. 

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August 2017

Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Sustaining Peace: Developing New Insights into Peacebuilding

A successful and ground-breaking two-day symposium took place at Lancaster University Law School in the UK on 5th and 6th July 2017. This was the second event of a collaborative project between the Quaker UN Office (QUNO), Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Dr Amanda Cahill-Ripley of Lancaster University Law School, which aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the role of economic, social and cultural rights (ECSR) in sustaining peace.

Diane Hendrick from QUNO Geneva introduced the event as one of the co-organisers, and Rachel Madenyika, from QUNO New York, made a presentation on Sustaining Peace: a view from the UN in New York. This event built on a previous workshop held in Geneva in February 2017, which brought together academics and representatives of peacebuilding and human rights organisations to identify the intersections between ESCR and peacebuilding in theory, policy, and practice.  The purpose of this symposium was to provide an opportunity for a wider group of academics and practitioners to present their research and experiences in relevant areas, to further enrich the debate and build upon the initial discussions.

The symposium brought together participants from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, international NGOs such as the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, swisspeace, Christian Aid Ireland and International Alert, as well as academics from University of Edinburgh, Madrid, University of Nottingham, University of Manchester, Coventry University Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, An-Najah National University, the Transitional Justice Institute and the University of Ulster, to discuss their academic, practitioner and policy insights on a theme or experiences related to the central topic of “Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Sustaining Peace”. 

The event generated a sense of excitement and possibility with specific ideas for enriching planned or existing peacebuilding projects with economic, social and cultural rights elements and the wish to take this work forward drawing in more collaborators from the international and national policy level as well as practitioners and academics with a view to increasing both peacebuilding and human rights approaches in these areas.

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July 2017

QUNO participation at YMG 2017 in Warwick

QUNO was excited to join Friends at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) 2017 in Warwick. YMG is a week-long event held every three years by Quakers in Britain, that brings together Quakers, friends and families for an exciting week of community and movement-building. QUNO was represented at YMG by Lindsey Fielder Cook, Andrew Tomlinson, Laurel Townhead and Jonathan Woolley, and participated in four workshops, as well as both nights of the Groups Fair. 

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July 2017

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO's July 2017 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is now available online. The latest issue features: an update from our Human Rights & Refugees Representative on the new “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration,” news about the inter-faith meetings QUNO helped to organize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a brief overview on our recent cross-cutting work on sustaining peace and climate change, and a QUNO Q&A  with Carolan Redfearn.

The full publication is available below.

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May 2017

Strengthening the link between Human Rights and Peacebuilding Through the UPR

Since the beginning of 2017, in close collaboration with the Human Rights and Refugees programme and our colleagues at QUNO New York, the Peace and Disarmament programme has been working on a project linking human rights and sustaining peace. The yearlong project aims to strengthen the links between the peacebuilding and human rights communities within the UN and on the ground through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a UN  process that reviews the human rights records of all 193 UN member States in a five-year cycle. The UPR was designed as a mechanism to improve the human rights situation in every country by encouraging and supporting states to effectively implement and protect human rights at every level. To support this process, information from UN agencies and civil society organisations are compiled to provide recommendations to the state under review and background for other states to create recommendations and questions.

For our project, we have chosen six test case countries, each facing particular challenges to differing degrees in human rights, conflict and violence from the Syria in the throes of war to Guatemala facing chronic and destabilising violence. For the upcoming UPR Sessions, we chose to focus on Indonesia and Brazil and we invited two peacebuilding civil society representatives - Ruslan from KOMPAK (Kupang Peacemakers) in Indonesia and Ivan Marques from Sou da Paz in Brazil- to attend briefing sessions for diplomats and off the record meetings organised by QUNO in Geneva. They were able  to discuss their work and explore ways in which the UPR could better support peacebuilding and violence reduction and elimination.

Both organisations produced briefing documents, highlighting their work around peacebuilding and human rights, country specific issues and key recommendations targeted toward their respective countries that can be used for the upcoming UPR Sessions in May.

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April 2017

QUNO input to informal Pre-Glion policy dialogue on Human Rights and Prevention at the UN

As part of QUNO's ongoing efforts to link human rights and sustaining peace at the UN level, Diane Hendrick spoke at an informal policy dialogue preceding the Glion Human Rights dialogue 2017 (Glion IV). This dialogue was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UNOG and the Universal Rights Group (URG) on 27 April 2017.

The Human Rights Council has a prevention mandate (as set by paragraph 5f of GA resolution 60/251) and the discussions sought to see where this fits within the UN’s broader prevention efforts. The new UN Secretary-General has repeatedly called on the UN to strengthen its prevention capacity, and undertaken reforms that make this a good moment to push for more effective linking of human rights and sustaining peace throughout the UN institutions.

Diane presented some ideas generated from previous expert consultations on this topic at the meeting and co-hosted with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES). She highlighted the opportunities for developing the role of human rights within the Peacebuilding Commission. Ideas and views generated during the dialogues were fed into a high-level informal retreat in Glion during May 2017.

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March 2017

Linking Peacebuilding and Human Rights: QUNO Delivers Oral Statement at the High-Level Mainstreaming Panel

For the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO was welcomed the focus of the High-Level Mainstreaming Panel on the “The contribution of human rights to peacebuilding through enhancing dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights”. QUNO has longstanding programmes on both Peace and Disarmament and Human Rights and Refugees with relation to the UN and has been working for several years, in collaboration with our colleagues in New York, specifically to promote and strengthen the link between human rights, peacebuilding, and sustaining peace.

In light of the panel’s focus on peacebuilding and human rights, the Peace and Disarmament programme submitted a written statement and made an oral statement. Both statements, provided several recommendations to address the fragmentation in the UN system to improve the work on effective prevention of both human rights violations and destructive conflict, with our core message addressing the importance of better collaboration between the human rights and peacebuilding communities, to support long-term sustainable peace.

Our statements, highlighted recent progress in the UN, as the term sustaining peace was used in the parallel Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the review of the UN peacebuilding Architecture. The resolutions emphasise the importance of addressing root causes of destructive conflict and recognises that the peacebuilding process occurs through all stages of the conflict cycle (before, during and after), which need to be continually supported for sustainable peace.

The oral statement, delivered by Diane Hendrick, Peace and Disarmament Representative at the Mainstreaming Panel, can be found at 1:49:30 on the video of the panel.

The written statement can be found below.

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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

QUNO Review March 2017 now available

Our new, March 2017 edition of the QUNO Review is now available for download. The annual report provides a brief introduction to QUNO and our way of working, as well as an overview of each of our programme areas. Learn more about our past year of our work and see where we are headed in 2017.

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February 2017

A briefing for diplomats on Human Rights and Peacebuilding

The Geneva Peacebuilding Platform held a briefing for diplomats on Human Rights and Peacebuilding on 15th February, which QUNO organised, moderated and presented. This briefing drew on the work QUNO has been doing on human rights, peacebuilding and sustaining peace through our Peace and Disarmament and Human Rights and Refugees Programmes, and in close collaboration with our colleagues at QUNO  New York.  The briefing session aimed to provide useful background to diplomats ahead of the Mainstreaming Panel on the contribution of human rights to peacebuilding at the Human Rights Council on 27 February.

During the briefing session, Diane Hendrick and the other panelists illustrated areas in which human rights interacted with peacebuilding processes and approaches, and how human rights can be mainstreamed throughout the peacebuilding work of the UN system, including on the ground. A key aim was to present the concept of “sustaining peace” in which peacebuilding is understood as a process that takes place (and needs to be supported) before during and after conflict, as reflected in recent UN resolutions on the UN peacebuilding architecture. QUNO underlined that economic, social, and cultural rights are integral to addressing the root causes of destructive conflict.

For further information please refer below to our Handout on Human Rights and International Peace and Security.

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February 2017

New Collaborative Project ‘Developing New Insights into Peacebuilding’

QUNO will be undertaking a project collaboration with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and Lancaster University Law School. The project titled ‘Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) and Sustaining Peace - Developing New Insights into Peacebuilding’ is partially funded by Lancaster University Faculty of Social Science and Lancaster University Law School and will run until July 2017.

This impact and knowledge exchange project aims to enhance knowledge and understanding of the role of economic, social and cultural rights (ECSRs) in sustaining peace. The idea is to exchange knowledge and share practices and experiences of the use of such rights within the peacebuilding and human rights communities and across disciplines to develop innovative practice. Two knowledge exchange workshops will be held the first in Geneva in February 2017 and the second in Lancaster in July 2017. 

More information can be found on the project’s website.

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November 2016

Expert Consultation held on sharing lessons learned in engaging with businesses

The annual Forum on Business and Human Rights took place in Geneva from 15-16 November 2016 and attracted state delegate, companies and many NGOs to its deliberations and events.

Following this event, on the 17th November QUNO co-hosted an event with the Geneva peace Building Platform and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), inviting experts from human rights, peacebuilding and business backgrounds to share ideas and experiences in engaging with businesses from these different approaches. The exchange created space for an informal discussion to identify points of future collaboration, to strengthen the working relationships between these three different approaches engaging with businesses.

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November 2016

Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) and QUNO highlight natural resources and conflict sensitive business approaches

This event on “Enhancing the Potential of Business for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace” provided an opportunity to publicly share research commissioned by the American Friends Service committee (AFSC) for their Business and Peace Programme and present the development of a new tool by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank for enhancing access to information on environmental matters for local communities.

Inga Petersen of UNEP presented MAP-X, a platform to map and assess the performance of the extractive industries and pilot projects to use this as a stakeholder engagement platform and with mining companies. Tessa de Ryck of AFSC spoke on her research on existing peacebuilding practices developed by local and international organizations or adopted by businesses and corporations to prevent and mitigate social conflict resulting from investment in the global south. The event highlighted the great potential of business for sustaining peace but also the potential for exacerbating or generating conflict through ill-considered business practices.

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November 2016

QUNO co-hosted event to discuss inequality as a danger to sustainable peace

On the 11th November QUNO co-organised an event with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). This event was part of on-going collaborative work with FES that aims to link human rights and sustaining peace approaches in the work of the United Nations.  Patricia Justino of the Institute of Development Studies presented her research using econometric data to explore the potential of social, political and economic inequalities as drivers of destructive conflict and Stefania Tripodi of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR) discussed research on economic, social and cultural rights and early warning of conflict. A political perspective was provided by Andreas Schieder, Head of the Social Democratic Party in the Austrian parliament.

QUNOs Peace and Disarmament Representative Diane Hendrick, introduced this discussion by explaining the meaning and significance of the term “sustaining peace” that has emerged at the UN out of the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture in 2015. This terminology is important as it recognizes the central role of peacebuilding in all the UN’s work, the fact that peacebuilding needs to take place before during and after destructive conflict and that the emphasis should be on preventative work. Diane underlined the necessity to integrate peacebuilding, human rights and development approaches, making use of relevant targets within the SDGs, in order to sustain peace and promote sustainable development.

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November 2016

QUNO moderates for the FAO Event on Peace and Food Security

During Geneva Peace Week, QUNO representative Diane Hendrick moderated an event for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on “Contributions to peacebuilding and prevention:  Agriculture and food security perspectives”. The event was an opportunity to for participants with peacebuilding and/or agricultural backgrounds to explore the linkages between agriculture and food security and sustainable peace, which largely remain as separate areas of work.

The panelists discussed the linkages between sustaining peace, food security and agriculture at both system level and on the ground bringing an example of FAO work in South Sudan. The discussion highlighted the importance of protecting and investing in rural livelihoods and sustainable food security before, during and after conflict as this can play an important role in peacebuilding processes.

Below are links to relevant FAO publications. The GreeNTD document illustrates the FAO’s practical work in improving resilience of livelihoods and land disputes in DRC, and the Peace and Food Security paper provides a broader understanding of investing in agriculture for sustainable peace with interesting facts.

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November 2016

An Insight on Geneva Peace Week 2016

Geneva Peace Week, which was held from the 7th to the 11th November, is a collective initiative facilitated by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform in collaboration the Swiss Confederation.

This week-long event underlined that each and every person and institution has a role to play in building peace and highlighted that peace promotion occurs in many different contexts and cuts across disciplines and sectors. In this sense, Geneva Peace Week is an attempt to break down the divisions which tend to characterize the international community and can limit more creative responses.

This was an exciting week for QUNO, as we co-organised and participated in a number of events, including the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Annual Conference, which this year focused on the war economy in Syria and the necessity to address these political economy aspects of the conflict as part of the process of peacemaking and peacebuilding. It was a week of engagement and opportunity for QUNO and other non-governmental-organizations, UN agencies and academic and research institutions that connected with each other and shared ideas about good practices in sustaining peace and prevention in relation to other areas of work such as business, human rights, food security etc. 

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November 2016

QUNO Co-Hosted COP22 Side Event: Trust and Peacebuilding Approaches for Ambitious Climate Action

Recording of side event


On 18th November in Marrakesh, QUNO co-hosted a side event at the COP 22 entitled ‘Trust and peacebuilding approaches for ambitious climate action’.  Panelists described how "rights-based" and "transitional justice" approaches, alongside faith based and ethical perspectives, can address challenges as complex as historically rooted justice conflict, natural resource management, and ecologicial, humanitarian and spiritual crises exacerbated by climate change.  

QUNO Geneva Director, Jonathan Woolley, moderated the event and the Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, explored how rights-based approaches in climate action and help build trust in and support of climate action, while peacebuilding approaches can help ensure increased stress over natural resource do not lead to violent conflict. The event was livestreamed by the UNFCCC Secretariat and can be heard through the video link provided.

In addition, QUNO supported GreenFaith in drafting an interfaith statement signed by over 298 eminent faith leaders from 50 countries and an op-ed by FWCC was published in the Thomas Reuters Foundation News. Links to access these can be found below.

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March 2016

Consultation on Human Rights and Peace and Security

QUNO and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) hosted a consultation with invited experts to look at how peacebuilding and human rights work by the UN can be strengthened by increasing understanding of the processes and relevance of each agency and community’s work and by providing space for dialogue between them. The ideas generated are being fed into the preparations for the high-level thematic debate of the UN General Assembly focused on peace and security on 10-11 May. 

The President of the General Assembly, Mogens Lykketoft, is organising the debate at the GA to reflect on concrete ways to draw out synergies from the most recent UN peace and security reviews, including the review of UN peace operations, the Peacebuilding Architecture Review and the implementation review of Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security and was supportive of a consultation focusing on the human rights aspects.

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March 2016

Important rights around the environment being negotiated in Latin America and the Caribbean

QUNO organised a side event at the UN Human Rights Council on 4 March on “Procedural Rights and the Environment: The Principle 10 Negotiations in Latin America and the Caribbean”. The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox, the Ambassadors of Chile and Costa Rica and Marcos Orellana of the Centre for International Environmental Law (CIEL), provided an update on what all agreed is the most significant development around the right to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice in environmental matters at the moment. Diane Hendrick presented on the importance of reaching the strongest possible agreement to help prevent destructive conflict around natural resources. The session was moderated by Laurel Townhead of QUNO.

 

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January 2016

VIDEO: Diane Hendrick talks about our Peace & Disarmament programme

In this video, excerpted from a longer film shown at the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting held in Peru in January 2016, Diane Hendrick explains the work of our Peace & Disarmament programme. 

The Peace and Disarmament programme grows out of a long Quaker history of working for peace, understanding that this means more than the absence of overt violence and has fundamentally to do with social and economic justice and political participation. Where these are denied, the roots of violence can be found. 

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