Timeline

Peace and Development

QUNO contributes to the UN discussions of the role of peace and stability in sustainable development and the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
July 2018

QUNO Participates in 2018 FGC Gathering Quaker Truth Talks

QUNO NY's Director and Quaker UN Representative, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to give one of three Quaker Truth Talks at a plenary session of the 2018 Friends General Conference Gathering in Toledo, Ohio. Andrew joined Friends Paula Palmer and Oskar Castro with a presentation entitled "From Spirit to Action: Examining the Roots of Quaker UN Work".

Weaving together the strands of the history of Quaker social action, the work of QUNO and personal transformation, the presentation concludes: "..the things that Quakers do well in social action have their roots in Quaker spiritual practice, and  the fruits of that practice, in the qualities of insight, fellow-feeling, groundedness, integrity, inclusivity, hope and love, are the same things that have characterized Friends’ unique contribution over hundreds of years.."

The video for Andrew's presentation can be found here

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June 2018

What's Next in Peacebuilding?

Recent developments in peacebuilding policy have given us new global commitments, such as the commitment to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the 2030 Agenda, and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. Yet these commitments are extremely broad, presenting significant challenges in follow-up and implementation. If peace is everything, then how does a government, a civil society group, a donor or an agency prioritize between different programmatic, budgetary and policy alternatives? 

QUNO hosted a group of peacebuilding organizations from 18-20 June for our annual gathering on “What’s Next in Peacebuilding?”. The meeting, which encouraged new insights from peacebuilding leaders around the world, set the stage for an informal discussion and exchange of views. Participants addressed the central issues of peacebuilding from the perspectives of practitioners, donors, and policy experts. 

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May 2018

What UN Development Reform means for Prevention

On 10 May 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform (the Platform) was pleased to convene a meeting on what the UN Development Reform means for the Secretary-General’s Prevention agenda. Held days after the resolution concerning the proposed UN Development Reform was negotiated in the General Assembly, this event provided a timely opportunity for civil society and UN actors to constructively discuss the Development Reform. The objective of this meeting was to discuss the impact of the reform on the UN, its civil society partners and on the Secretary General’s vision for prevention, and to provide a space for an open and constructive dialogue on how UN and civil society cooperation can support the UN’s work on prevention.

Hosted at Quaker House, this event was the second in a series of discussions held by the Platform on the various UN reform streams. The Development Reform addresses the Secretary-General’s proposals for the UN’s development system to better deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, with prevention as a cross-pillar priority. Subsequently, at the core of the recent resolution is system coherence and coordination at all levels; country, regionally and globally. 

While the Development Reform offers opportunities and challenges for the operationalization of prevention, the natural interlinkages of the peace and security, development and management reform streams remain important. The reform pushes for a more collected in country approach with more empowered Resident Coordinators and less regional duplication. 

By convening this meeting, the Platform informed civil society actors on the Development Reform process. QUNO looks forward to continuing its work co-facilitating the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform and working with its core-partners and its larger networks of civil society experts to support the UN’s prevention agenda though strengthening, coordinating and information sharing with the UN at all levels.
 

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April 2018

New York Peacebuilding Group holds timely and impactful civil society meetings in sidelines of UN peacebuilding event

The United Nations (UN) Secretariat held a much-anticipated High-Level Event on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace from 24-26 April. This event, convened by the President of the General Assembly (PGA), provided a forum for Member States and the UN system to assess efforts undertaken so far and the opportunities that are available to strengthen the UN’s peacebuilding work. The HLE and the many side events surrounding the meeting provided a space for civil society organizations (CSO) working on peace issues to engage with the UN and Member State stakeholders. To support the building of relationships and partnership opportunities, and to support strategic discussion on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the New York Peacebuilding Group (NYPG), facilitated by the Quaker UN Office, held two CSO-focused meetings throughout the week. 

NYPG began the week by hosting an informal breakfast at Quaker House to provide a space for CSO colleagues from New York and visiting globally to connect with one another ahead of the HLE. This informal platform allowed for participants to meet and mingle with fellow peacebuilding practitioners, and supported the building and strengthening of partnerships amongst this diverse peacebuilding community. Following the HLE, NYPG held a reflection and strategy lunch discussion, which provided an avenue for CSO colleagues to share observations and analysis from their experiences throughout the week. Conversation focused on expectations and next steps for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the linkages with other peace agendas such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the importance of the inclusion of women and youth, and of national ownership for peacebuilding. 

By convening these two meetings at Quaker House, NYPG was able to provide space for colleagues to openly exchange and reflect on the HLE and side events, and the next steps for peacebuilding at the UN. QUNO looks forward to continuing to facilitate NYPG and to working with the group’s members to continue to provide avenues for strategic engagement across the global CSO peacebuilding community.
 

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January 2018

In & Around the UN

Our New York office is happy to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring reflections on a trip to Burundi; future challenges posed to peacebuilding organisations; the role of civil society in conflict prevention, and more. 

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January 2018

Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosts meeting entitled ‘What UN Peace and Security Reform means for Prevention’

On January 24, 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted an event entitled ‘What UN Peace and Security Reform means for Prevention.’ Held nearly one year after the appointment of the new UN Secretary-General and the elevation of his initial vision of prevention as the core UN priority, this event provided an opportunity for civil society and UN actors to constructively discuss the meaning of the UN Peace and Security Reform for the UN’s prevention agenda. The objective of this meeting was to discuss the impact of the Peace and Security Reform on the UN and its civil society partners, reflect on key themes, identify concrete areas for civil society to better engage with the UN and provide space for an open and constructive dialogue on how UN and civil society cooperation can contribute to the UN’s work on prevention.

Hosted at Quaker House, participants at this off-the-record meeting agreed that the Peace and Security Reform has potential when integrated with the parallel Development and Management Reforms. The Peace and Security Reform tries to tackle the system’s organizational shortcomings that have made the conceptualization and operationalization of prevention so challenging for the UN at a time when the international system is stretched to its limits as a result of emerging and reemerging conflict. Participants expressed that despite the reform being somewhat headquarters focused, there is a strong regional dimension that tries to address fragmentation. All participants reflected that greater local and regional engagement with civil society actors would enhance the value of the UN’s work on prevention. The discussion highlighted that there are entry points for civil-society in both analysis and measurement of conflict.

As co-facilitators of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, the event was co-hosted by QUNO, represented by Rachel Madenyika (UN Representative), and GPPAC (Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict).  Established in 2016, 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.

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November 2017

QUNO joined the opening panel at the 10th Annual Meeting of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform

On 6 November, QUNO’s UN Representative Rachel Madenyika participated on the opening panel of the 10th Annual Meeting of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. Entitled ‘Preventing Violent Conflict: Taking stock and looking forward’, this session took stock of the progress being made towards the prevention of violent conflicts, exploring the future of prevention practices for all actors in this field. Joining Rachel on the panel was the Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor on Policy, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez, and Mr. Darynell Rodriguez Torres of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). 

The interactive discussion connected past trends of the policies and practices with current and future needs for the proactive prevention of violent conflict. The session asked questions that considered lessons-learned from the many cases of failed prevention, practical priorities for preventing violent conflict, and the future for the UN in the prevention of violent conflict. In her remarks, Rachel first expressed the importance of understanding why, and what, we are preventing, and secondly that by looking at lessons learned from the last twenty years of UN engagement, one possibility is to focus on examples of long term success to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Rachel articulated that conflict analysis that does not consider participatory approaches lead to interventions that do not necessarily address the real needs of local people, and therefore, the inclusion of all key actors is central to conflict prevention. In closing, Rachel encouraged the full auditorium that inclusion of a wide range of perspectives including those of the people most affected leads to better understanding, more legitimate and more long-term decisions to prevent conflict.

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October 2017

QUNO co-hosts a Food Security and Sustaining Peace side-event at the World Committee on Food Security

QUNO co-hosted a side-event “Contributing to sustaining peace and conflict prevention: perspectives from agriculture, food security and nutrition” at the World Committee on Food Security (CFS) on 9 October.  Other co-hosts were the Food and Agriculture Organisation, the World Food Programme and the Netherlands. The standing-room-only attendance of over 70 indicated people’s broad interest in the the nexus between peace and food and nutrition security.  Nora Meier, who just finished her position as a Programme Assistant in QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Programme is now a consultant to FAO in an FAO-QUNO research project on the role of farmers’ seeds systems in sustaining peace. Nora presented her hypothesis and initial findings and noted that she would welcome input from the expertise at the CFS. After a lively discussion, delegates stayed to offer further information and encouragement to Nora and to Food & Sustainability Representative, Susan Bragdon.

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September 2017

Civil Society UN Prevention Platform hosts Under Secretary General and Special Advisor on Policy, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez's first meeting with civil society

On 8 October, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted a meeting between civil society and the newly appointed Under-Secretary General and Special Advisor on Policy, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez. The Civil Society Prevention Platform, established in 2016, aims to enhance UN and civil society collaboration. As co-facilitator of the Civil Society Prevention Platform, QUNO hosted this off-the-record event in Quaker House. 

The event was Ms. Menéndez’s first meeting with a network of civil society actors in her newly appointed role. Providing an opportunity for open and constructive dialogue on how civil society can better interact to contribute to the UN’s work on prevention, this event offered an exciting opportunity for civil society members to better engage with the Executive Office of the Secretary General. 

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform sees great potential in growing and developing this relationship - there is an interest and demand within civil society for this enhanced relationship with the UN. We are delighted with the positive response from Ms. Menéndez's office to engage more deeply and meaningfully with civil society. Our Platform stands ready to assist in whatever way possible to nurture and grow this partnership.

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September 2017

Peacebuilding during times of transitions: Perspectives from Liberia

On 6 September, QUNO welcomed Abel Learwellie, Executive Director of Camp for Peace Liberia, to lead a discussion on peacebuilding during times of transition with UN and member state representatives, and civil society colleagues. The conversation was timely as Liberia is soon to experience many changes, including elections in October of this year and the drawdown of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). Mr. Learwellie has been active in the field of peacebuilding in Liberia for over 18 years, and his organization envisions a country where youth are empowered, self-sufficient, employed, and actively contributing to the strengthening and stabilization of Liberia. The meeting provided an opportunity for discussion on the upcoming transitions, challenges that remain for building sustainable peace, and examples of how Camp for Peace Liberia’s local level peacebuilding initiatives have helped support reconciliation in Liberia.

During the conversation, participants reflected challenges facing the country, such as the issue of mistrust between the security sector and civilians, a challenge remaining from experiences during the civil war; the lack of educational opportunities, both academic and vocational; and high levels of youth unemployment. Discussion also focused on the positive impacts of work to address these issues by actors such as the UN, the government of Liberia, and civil society, including Camp for Peace Liberia. In an effort to address such challenges, Camp for Peace Liberia implements a range of programs, including the War Affected Youth (WAY) program, which works to reintegrate former child soldiers and ex-combatants though vocational training, and the Non-Violence and Peace Education program, that gathers youth to participate in workshops focused on non-violent communication and mitigation. 

Colleagues also raised the importance of national ownership and inclusivity as key for building upon the peacebuilding work led in the country. It was shared that critical to supporting sustainable peace will be implementing inclusive peacebuilding work processes that are owned and led by communities. QUNO looks forward to continuing to work with Mr. Learwellie and the UN community in promoting inclusive peacebuilding approaches.

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July 2017

QUNO NY Director delivers a statement during the UN High-Level event on Human Security and its contribution to the 2030 Agenda

"The human security approach is instrumental to sustainable development, inclusive peace, justice and the well-being and dignity of all people and it is, in fact, central to the 2030 Agenda" - UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed

QUNO New York's Director, Andrew Tomlinson, delivered a statement at the UN High-Level Event on "Human Security and its Contribution to Agenda 2030" held on 7 July in New York. Organised by the UN Human Security Unit in close collaboration with the Friends of Human Security, the event provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences and best practices on how human security contributes towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. 

This high-level meeting was timely as the world currently faces multiple humanitarian crises, with over two million people displaced or living in conflict affected areas. The theme of the meeting emphasized resilient societies which are at the core of the 2030 agenda, promoting a world “free from poverty, hunger, disease and want”. 

A number of UN actors and Member State representatives spoke on the panel, as well as Thera Boubacar from the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). QUNO also participated from the floor, as the only civil society organization formally requested to speak during the discussion. Mr. Tomlinson echoed the timeliness of the event, saying "agenda 2030, which all states have committed to, provides a roadmap, which is in line with the human security approach and supports resilience.” He took the opportunity to remind the room that the 2030 Agenda includes a commitment by all member states to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and that the biggest challenge being faced is uneven implementation. Additionally, he brought attention to the continued challenge of the shrinking of space for civil society working to advance these agendas. 

In his statement, he noted that "We are at a critical point where precedents and patterns are being set," and called for all stakeholders to urgently recommit to the peace mandate within the 2030 Agenda, which provides a clear road map by which humanitarian and development objectives can be achieved. 

Mr. Tomlinson’s oral statement can be found at 1:56:09

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July 2017

QUNO advocates for inclusive approaches to peacebuilding funding at PBC annual session

QUNO was one of four civil society organizations that participated in the UN Peacebuilding Commission’s (PBC) annual session held on 30 June 2017, on the topic of “Partnerships for Financing for Peace”. The session’s focus was timely as adequate financing and partnerships are critical areas for peacebuilding efforts. Official development assistance to conflict affected countries is often insufficient, unevenly distributed, and short term. Additionally, funding during transitions from conflict to peace needs to be maintained to sustain peace and build resilience – a key area where the UN aims to make improvements. The PBC’s session provided a platform to reflect on lessons learned and key policy gaps in financing and partnerships for peacebuilding, and provided the opportunity to discuss options and innovative solutions to address challenges.

It was against this backdrop that the PBC convened a wide range of strategic stakeholders from within and outside the UN, including international financial institutions, regional bodies, member states, civil society and the private sector. The day included panel discussions and interactive sessions, which provided opportunities for participants to share their views, experience, and questions.

QUNO was asked to assist with the coordination of civil society participation in the event, and was pleased that this support allowed for four organizations to lend their voices to the discussions. QUNO New York Director, Andrew Tomlinson, contributed actively in the interactive discussions alongside Saferworld, the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). We were also pleased to see our partners at the Alliance for Peacebuilding featured during one of the panel sessions.

In the first session, on good practices to ensure sustainable financing, discussions centered on the need to find better ways to coordinate action between stakeholders in fragile contexts, and on finding innovative funding options. QUNO noted that effective use of existing funding needs to be made by “ensuring all humanitarian and development action is deployed in such a way as to support – or at worst not work against – the commitment to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and sustaining peace”. For example, many UN programs still do not mainstream conflict sensitive approaches into their programming, and this is a key area where the UN can improve the effective use of existing funds to sustain peace. 

The second session was on the topic of redefining partnerships and the potential for increased collaboration to mobilize resources for peace. The importance of inclusion and non-financial resources were highlighted, especially relating to the role women and youth play in sustaining peace. Mr. Tomlinson remarked on the need to make peacebuilding funding more effective by piloting longer term funding cycles for peacebuilding projects, by scaling up peacebuilding efforts to regional and national levels, and by making peacebuilding projects more inclusive. 

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July 2017

QUNO participates in Dialogue and Exchange Program on the role of youth in prevention

“…children and young women and men are critical agents of change and will find in the new goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world.” – 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

QUNO’s UN Representative for peacebuilding, Megan Schmidt, participated in a Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP) on the role of young people in the prevention of electoral violence, held in Nairobi, Kenya from 29 June to 1 July. This DEP, organized by a range of peacebuilding organizations working throughout Africa, including the American Friends Service Committee’s Nairobi-based office, brought together over 100 young people from 16 countries in Africa to discuss how youth contribute to prevention and peace. Among the DEP’s goals were to connect youth across the continent, equip them through strengthening knowledge and skills for fostering peace, and acknowledge the dynamic work participants are carrying out in their countries.

Through panel and interactive sessions, participants reflected on a range of issues including drivers of conflict, triggers for radicalization and policies for preventing extremism, and available peace frameworks, including UN Security Council Resolution 2250 on youth, peace and security, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. QUNO staff delivered a presentation on the 2030 Agenda as a peace tool for young peacebuilders, reflecting on what it is, why the Agenda matters for youth, and how young leaders can take the 2030 Agenda forward. During the panel discussion and conversations throughout the day, QUNO staff had the opportunity to learn more about the rich work carried out by participants in their countries, including on domestic efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, and initiatives to strengthen good governance and political inclusivity, and peace education.

The DEP closed following a Peace Awards ceremony, with winners being acknowledged for their work to impact peacebuilding in their countries and continent, the holding of a concert for peace, and the convening of a sports for peace event that brought together over 300 young people. The participants also agreed to develop the African Youth Peace Network, an online platform to connect youth working for peace, and adopted a declaration that conveys the mission and goals of the Network. QUNO looks forward to seeing this network develop, and working with the diverse and dynamic young peace leaders in their efforts to promote peaceful, just, and inclusive societies in their countries and on their continent.

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June 2017

What's Next In Peacebuilding 2017

QUNO hosted peacebuilders from around the world on 19 and 20 June, at Quaker House, for a two-day gathering titled: 'What's Next in Peacebuilding?'.

The retreat was an opportunity for leading peacebuilders to come together to reflect upon current challenges and opportunities for the peacebuilding field and brainstorm on how to collaborate effectively in the changing global political landscape. 

Participants touched on a range of issues by sharing their perspectives, issues and concerns. Considering this, current UN reform processes were discussed with attention to the effect this may have on civil society organisations, and for peacebuilding writ large. Among others, participants heard from colleagues working in Washington DC about the institutional changes and how these changes will shape the future of peacebuilding efforts. 

Additional sessions on the role youth play in peacebuilding, and on what part peacebuilding practices play in development initiatives and conflict prevention were discussed. In the session on the role of youth, participants observed the importance of youth as peacebuilding actors, moving toward a more nuanced view of their role in the prevention of violent extremism debate. 

Financing for peacebuilding was another key topic the participants discussed, with the conversation centering on current and future challenges and opportunities of various fundraising strategies, and creatively thinking innovative financing peacebuilding. In this vein the topic of partnerships was also raised, especially looking at how civil society organizations can utilize opportunities like "What's Next in Peacbuilding?" to build a strategic vision of peacebuilding, and to build strong cross-global relationships to foster peace.

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June 2017

QUNO's Statement at the UNDP-DPA Joint Programme High-Level Event

On 19 June, the Quaker UN Representative for the Prevention of Violent Conflict Program, Rachel Madenyika, made a statement on behalf of the Civil Society - UN Prevention Platform. The event was attended by the Member States, UN actors, and Civil Society representatives. The Quaker UN Office was the only civil society organisation formally asked to speak at this event, organized by the UNDP-DPA Joint Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention (the Joint Programme), which works to develop and implement conflict prevention initiatives in 45 different countries. 

In her statement, Rachel highlighted that launched in 2016, the Civil Society - UN Prevention Platform (the Platform) aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and, information sharing between civil society organisations and the UN at all levels. She stressed that the Platform believes the UN’s work on prevention benefits from a systematic engagement with civil society and that the inclusion of diverse civil society expertise is crucial to achieving sustainable peace.

Rachel expressed that the Platform has collaborated meaningfully with the Joint Programme in the past year by successfully linking these UN actors to the larger network of local civil society organisations in the field. “We see great potential in growing and developing this relationship, there is an interest and demand within civil society for this enhanced relationship with the Joint Programme in NY and the field.” 

In her concluding remarks, Rachel, stated that the Platform, co-facilitated by QUNO and the Global Partnerships for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC), in close collaboration with the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), stands ready to assist the UN in whatever way possible to nurture and grow this partnership with civil society.

 

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June 2017

In & Around the UN

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. 

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May 2017

Preventing Violence - Community-based approaches to Early Warning and Early Response

On 22 May, QUNO, as one of the co-facilitators of the Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform, hosted a publication launch and discussion on: “Preventing Conflict: Community-based approaches to Early Warning and Early Response.”  The lead author of the publication, Steven Leach, reflected on the report’s key findings and recommendations. He brought to attention the importance of building trust-based relationships when developing and implementing community approaches to Early Warning and Early Response. Additionally, he noted that promoting an inclusive approach, mainly to involve communities from the margins, is essential. Marginalized communities often experience escalated tensions and violence first, and excluding such communities risks reinforcing cycles of violence that they experience. 

Joined by various panelists from the Office of Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN, the discussion offered a broad range of views and reflections drawing from their experiences in community-based approaches to early warning and early response.  Participants emphasized the importance of early response as a critical prevention tool. It was also acknowledged that effective peacebuilding in a community setting takes a significant amount of time and relies on inclusive dialogue, community engagement and trust building. The Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform has continued to hold thematic discussions to support the prevention agenda at the UN and create an interactive platform for civil society, UN actors, and member states to exchange information and share best practices. 

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May 2017

QUNO hosts the Friends Church Peace Teams

An essential part of QUNO’s work to promote peacebuilding and prevention at the UN is to ensure that diverse voices inform discussions, particularly practitioners working at the local level and communities that would be impacted by policies. In May, QUNO hosted, Getry Agizah, a Kenyan Quaker, and Coordinator of the Friends Church Peace Teams (FCPT)/ Transforming Communities for Social Change (TCSC) to share her work on peacebuilding at the community level. Getry, a proud peace builder, works tirelessly to transform societies in the western Kenya region. During her visit, Getry shared her perspectives on local-level peacebuilding by highlighting examples of how she has successfully used her training in Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) to support the communities she works with in the areas of healing, and reconciliation.

On the first day of her two-day visit to New York, Getry took part in a meeting with a diverse group of New York-based civil society organizations to explore key themes that she has found in her work. Some of the emerging themes were the need to build trust with and work directly with communities, as this supports efforts to build peace. Additionally, she brought attention to the need to fully understand the context of the environment one is working in, including recognizing the challenges facing marginalized communities such as extreme poverty and post-conflict trauma. Getry noted the value and impact of including women and youth in peacebuilding and shared her experiences with projects she has led working with orphans, and women in the community. On the second day, she took part in bilateral meetings with member states and UN actors to further discuss and explore the need for inclusivity and reconciliation in local peacebuilding initiatives. QUNO was glad to have hosted her and hopes she will return to provide updates to UN, civil society and member state colleagues on the impact of her work and share more on local peacebuilding perspectives.

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April 2017

QUNO takes part in a Dialogue and Exchange Program on Somalia Refugees

“During my tenure, I hope to move towards a time where refugee camps are no more”.

Amb. Mohammed Affey, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Special Envoy for the Refugee situation in Somalia, stated this goal in his opening remarks at the American Friends Service Committee’s Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP) focusing on Somalia Refugees. QUNO participated in the timely meeting, which took place on April 3rd - 5th, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting brought civil society, and government, regional body, and UN representatives together to share perspectives on issues surrounding forcibly displaced populations. Through interactive group work sessions, participants explored the implications of voluntary return, local integration, and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people. During the three days, it was acknowledged that despite the limited resources in the horn of Africa, it’s the region that produces and hosts the most refugees globally.

QUNO’s UN Representative and Program Assistant working on the Prevention of Violent Conflict Program, Rachel Madenyika and Hafsa Maalim, participated in the DEP, including through leading on the reporting of group session outcomes to the plenary. QUNO staff shared perspectives on actions that could be taken by asylum and host countries to ensure protection of refugees, as well as reported on the challenges facing local integration efforts for refugee populations. QUNO staff also highlighted potential entry points to overcome such challenges, including the development of trauma healing and reconciliation programs that can bring communities together.

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March 2017

Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace

On March 28th, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted a meeting entitled "Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace." This meeting was in collaboration with the Mediation Support Network, a global network of twenty-one non-governmental organizations that support mediation in peace negotiations.

QUNO co-facilitates the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda by strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society and the UN. This meeting provided the Platform with an opportunity to use its diverse network to better inform the conversation on harnessing the synergies between prevention and mediation.   

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform brought together UN actors, civil society organizations, and member states to discuss concrete examples of how civil society actors are promoting mediation and prevention practices and processes in addressing political tensions and armed conflict.

To open the discussion, a few members of the Mediation Support Network shared their experiences using examples from Colombia, Myanmar and Mexico. The participants highlighted the role of civil society in armed conflict and the important role they play in bridging UN actors and the local people. The use of mediation as an early warning tool was echoed in several presentations. One of the major challenges highlighted was that it was difficult for societies to transition into peace if they are not used to living in peace. Therefore, due to the ever-changing nature of conflict, the participants agreed that innovative measures of mediation are more important than ever. 

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