Timeline

Peacebuilding & Prevention of Violent Conflict

QUNO seeks to encourage a more holistic approach to peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict at the UN that takes into account local perspectives and the rebuilding of relationships. This includes a focus on the connections between peace, development, and the environment.
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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June 2018

Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review

On 26 June, QUNO, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Germany and Switzerland, who co-chair the cross-regional Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses in New York and Geneva, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), co-hosted a discussion on “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)”. As the 2016 sustaining peace resolutions adopted by the Security Council and General Assembly, and the Secretary-General’s 2018 Report on the same subject, call upon Member States and the UN to consider the human rights dimension of peacebuilding, this event provided a timely opportunity for civil society, UN agencies, and Member States to discuss how the UPR can contribute to better integrating human rights and sustaining peace. 

Hosted at UN Headquarters, this high-level meeting began with a presentation by Florence Foster of QUNO-Geneva on a recent study entitled “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace” exploring how the UPR is an inclusive, universal and the least contentious Human Rights Council process, and how its recommendations can be developed and implemented to prevent human rights violations that if left unaddressed could lead to conflict. The report recommends greater attention to be paid to conflict analysis throughout the UPR process, a shift in mindset away from the fragmented perception of human rights as a prerogative of Geneva versus peacebuilding and security as a prerogative of New York, and the levelling of dialogue spaces for human rights conversations addressing sustaining peace matters. 

The presentation was followed by an interactive panel discussion including Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Andrew Gilmour, Head of the OHCHR Office in New York, ASG Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, and Katy Thompson, Governance & Peace Building, Conflict Prevention Team Leader at the UN Development Programme, as well as the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations, Ambassador Jorge Skinner-Klee. 

QUNO looks forward to its continued collaboration with all actors on better integrating human rights and sustaining peace, in particular with both Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses.  

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June 2018

Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism

On 25 June 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was pleased to convene a meeting on “Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism”. Held at the onset of a week at the UN focused on counter-terrorism approaches of Member States and the Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, this meeting provided a timely opportunity for UN agencies and civil society organizations to come together to understand the context, and set expectations for the week’s upcoming events.

Held at Quaker House, this event brought various actors together to discuss how to work productively and collaboratively on this issue. The objectives of this meeting were to discuss key actors in countering incitement and preventing violent extremism, to explore ways to better engage local civil society communities; and to consider the lessons learned at local levels and within the UN system. Participants agreed that as the international community attempts to adapt to violent extremism, a more holistic, people-centered approach should be prioritized.

The Platform was pleased to host this discussion and looks forward to continuing to convene meetings between civil society, UN actors and Member States to support the UN on its prevention agenda.

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Event of Note
June 2018

Programme Assistant Reunion in New York

From 7-11 June, 2018, the Quaker United Nations Office in New York hosted a gathering of past and present New York Programme Assistants. As part of the American Friends Service Committee’s centennial celebrations, this reunion provided an opportunity for past Programme Assistants to gather in person to officially launch the QUNO Alumni Network (QAN). 

Over the very exciting four days, PAs from the UK, Ireland, the US, China, France, and Zimbabwe convened at the historic Quaker House in New York to hear about the current state of the UN, learn of new QUNO program work on peacebuilding and prevention, and to share and reminisce about their experiences whilst at QUNO. Program Assistants reflected upon how their experiences at QUNO impacted their professional career paths. Participants represented a wide array of careers, including law, diplomacy, policy campaigning and advocacy, leadership facilitation and peacebuilding, to name a few. By the end of the weekend, the enthusiastic group officially launched the QUNO Alumni Network (QAN), as a means to stay connected with both QUNO and each other, to provide guidance and professional support to one another and to spread the word of QUNO’s work. 

The Programme Assistant position provides an invaluable opportunity for Quakers and those in sympathy with Quaker ideals who have recently completed a degree to experience a year-long service involving everything from attending UN meetings to report writing, research, event planning and routine administration in QUNO's offices in Geneva or New York. To learn more about the role of a Programme Assistant, click here

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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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May 2018

Navigating Inclusion in Peace Processes

Following the launch of the joint World Bank and United Nations Report, Pathways for Peace, in March, the High-Level Event on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace in April and the launch of the Global Study of Youth Peace and Security, inclusion has been brought back to the forefront. On 14 May, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform (the Platform) found it timely to host one of its core-group partners, Conciliation Resources, in New York to launch their ACCORD publication, Navigating Inclusion in Peace Transitions. The publication, which resulted from four years of research, explores how inclusion is negotiated in countries in transition from war to peace, the common barriers to and trade-offs between inclusion and stability and the types of external and internal support that have been possible and effective in peace processes.

Hosted at Quaker House, this off-the-record conversation provided an opportunity for civil society actors in New York to hear the experiences of colleagues from Colombia and Nepal and discuss more concretely what inclusion looks like the in the various contexts. The research highlights that if inclusion is not talked about in the initial stages of a transition, it tends to be sidelined throughout the process if not totally disregarded. The research also highlights the fact that political transitions are points for renegotiation because transitions and political unsettlement create opportunities for change. However, when aiming for political stability is the focus for a country in transition, it can also be challenging to introduce inclusion policies. Often, the prioritization of stability can lead to a return of the old guard and continued exclusion of marginalized groups.  

The research also reflected on the strategies used by different groups, in particular marginalized groups such as women, to influence these processes of political transition. The report draws on practical experience that Conciliation Resources and its partners have learnt from working on these challenges.

The Platform was pleased to host this discussion and looks forward to continuing to convene meetings between civil society, UN actors and Member States to enhance the UN and civil society organizations’ collective capacity to carry out preventive work. 

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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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March 2018

The Peacebuilding Commission: Purpose, work, and opportunity

The International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), with support from the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), convened a half-day workshop on March 16, 2018, to contribute to advancements in, and the ongoing work of, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and its membership. The workshop, which included approximately forty participants, provided an off-the-record space for PBC members to continue to strengthen their understanding of peacebuilding, including best practices and lessons learned for policy development; identify strategies and opportunities to build upon progress made in the PBC; address new or ongoing challenges that impact the Commission’s work; and reflect on and identify the capacities needed to strengthen the PBC. The below key issues emerged from the discussion:

1. Peacebuilding must be informed by and maintain a focus on the field, measuring success by impact at the country or regional level. To support this goal, policymakers will benefit from a strengthened practical understanding of factors that foster peace and of how to translate this knowledge into policy and programming.

2. Progress in the PBC, combined with increased attention on the Commission’s work, has reaffirmed its relevance as the central UN body for peacebuilding and the potential of its unique convening power.

3. The PBC’s increasingly flexible working methods, particularly with regards to country situations, provide both opportunities and challenges for countries as they build peace.

4. Recognition of the peace and development nexus needs to result in greater coherence and coordination of peacebuilding policy across the UN system, which can in part be supported by work carried out by the PBC.

5. Sustained financing for short and long-term programming is critical in assisting states to build peace, and more initiative should be taken to explore innovative financing and partnership opportunities.

IPI and QUNO look forward to a continued partnership that will allow our organizations to provide further support to the PBC and its membership by holding a series of strategic and output driven discussions exploring the above-mentioned topics, among others. Our organizations will continue to work with UN and Member State stakeholders to develop and provide a forum for frank discussion on issues related to the PBC’s work, with a focus on innovative thinking, idea sharing and peer-to-peer learning.

See full meeting note here.

For more information, contact Megan Schmidt, UN Representative at the Quaker UN Office  (MSchmidt@afsc.org), and Lesley Connolly, Senior Policy Analyst at IPI (connolly@ipinst.org).

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March 2018

Pathways for Peace - Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict: A Reflective Conversation

In March, QUNO, in collaboration with Club de Madrid, hosted a reflective, off-the record conversation on the recently launched United Nations-World Bank Report, Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. Launched in Washington D.C at the 2018 World Bank Fragility Forum, the report is the first joint study between the UN and the World Bank. Hosted at Quaker House, the event provided a timely opportunity to reflect upon the contents of the report and the difficulties that come with meeting the challenges of prevention. 

Participants reflected upon the findings of the report, the changing nature of contemporary conflict, the need to address grievances before they metastasize, and the need for states, as well as other actors, to pursue inclusive and dialogue centered policies in times of crisis. It was noted that the report should be viewed as a tool for prevention and early-action, and that its findings clearly highlight the business case for prevention, which states that prevention is economically beneficial even in the most pessimistic scenario and that the benefits of prevention increase over time, whereas the costs fall.  It was agreed that for peace processes to be successful, both drivers of peace and drivers of conflict must be addressed.

Participants recognized that the report reflects a cultural shift in the politics of prevention as it marries both political and technical aspects. Crucially, it was expressed that what is most important is that the UN and World Bank have highlighted their partnership and shared responsibility to carry out prevention effectively. QUNO looks forward to continuing its partnership with Club de Madrid, and the authors of the report.

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March 2018

Meeting the Challenge of Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Through Partnerships and Inclusivity

The dual resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace adopted in April 2016 by the United Nations (UN) Security Council and General Assembly (S/RES/2282; A/RES/70/262) marked a fundamental shift in the UN’s understanding of peacebuilding. Before peacebuilding was understood as taking place after conflict. However, by declaring sustaining peace as “a goal and process…aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict,” Member States now universally recognize that efforts to build peace must be taking place before, during and after conflict. 

Starting in 2017, the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) undertook a dynamic research project to increase the practical understanding of what sustaining peace means; assess the progress and remaining challenges facing peacebuilding practice; and articulate recommendations for the way forward. The research led to a joint report, Building Sustainable Peace: How inclusivity, partnerships and a reinforced UN Peacebuilding Architecture will support delivery

To share their findings, on 9 March QUNO and GPPAC organized an informal conversation amongst Member States and UN colleagues to reflect on how inclusivity is and can be fostered, and how partnerships for building peace are practically developed and sustained. The event, titled Meeting the Challenge of Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Through Partnerships and Inclusivity, focused the challenges that hinder peacebuilding on the ground and at the regional and international levels. The meeting also provided an opportunity for peer to peer learning amongst participants as they shared examples of inclusive programming and reflected on challenges that have or continue to occur when seeking to develop and implement inclusive, partnership-based peacebuilding policies. 

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March 2018

QUNO, in partnership with GPPAC, releases new report, Building Sustainable Peace

Following extensive interview and desk based research, QUNO and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) released their report, ‘Building Sustainable Peace: How inclusivity, partnerships and a reinforced UN Peacebuilding Architecture will support delivery.’

This report builds upon our past peacebuilding body of work, including our 2015 report Filling the Gap, and serves to contribute towards the forward momentum on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. It is the result of desk research as well as interviews with over 35 diverse Member State and UN representatives at UN Headquarters, which provided ample opportunity to learn first-hand how the resolutions have shaped policy and practice by those intimately involved in these processes.

GPPAC and QUNO have a long-standing history engaging with the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture, and seeking to support and enhance the normative, political, and operational advancement of peacebuilding at the UN. We have continued to lend our voices and expertise during this dynamic time as peacebuilding and prevention have been brought to the fore of the UN’s work following the adoption of the sustaining peace resolutions, as well as other milestones such as the progress made on the 2030 Agenda, the welcoming of the new UN Secretary-General (UNSG), and steps taken with regards to the UNSG’s reform processes.

From our research report, we identified 5 key messages and developed practical recommendations for the UN, Member States and peacebuilding practitioners that will contribute towards the ongoing efforts to build sustainable peace. Our key messages include:

  1. Sustaining peace should be recognised as an evolutionary development that builds upon decades of progress in the UN’s understanding of peacebuilding and conflict prevention. It is also based on the UN’s experience accompanying these processes at the regional and country level around the world.
  2. Member States, with UN support, should now focus on turning words into action to deliver sustainable peace in a comprehensive, integrated and coherent manner at UN Headquarters and regional and country levels.
  3. Sustaining peace provides an opportunity to learn from and build upon the work of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), but far more remains to be done to enhance the PBC’s capacities.
  4. Inclusivity and partnerships are critical to sustaining peace but remain under-utilised in practice.
  5. Barriers and fragmentation that persist must be overcome.

To read the full report, please click here.

To read the post on this report on GPPAC's "UN Insights" blog, please click here.

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March 2018

The 2018 QUNO Review is now available online

Our new, March 2018 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 2018.

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February 2018

Promoting Peacebuilding through the Universal Periodic Review

In February, QUNO New York and QUNO Geneva, in collaboration with UPR Info, hosted a series of discussions on the subject of “Promoting Peacebuilding through the Universal Periodic Review.” These exchanges with the peacebuilding community in New York, come as a natural continuation of discussions in Geneva that aimed to raise awareness around the concept of sustaining peace and its relation to human rights. These discussions have been complemented by work with civil society actors from six case study countries undergoing their review under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in 2017.

The overall desire was to support overcoming the fragmentation within the UN and to promote the value of integrated action between peacebuilding and human rights actors on the ground and in the UN system by using the UPR to explore present practice and untapped potential within a specific Human Rights Council process – as called for both by the twin General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on sustaining peace (2016) as well as the UN Secretary General report on Sustaining Peace (2018). 

QUNO Geneva spoke to some of these points in February during the 37th session of the Human Rights Council High Level Panel on Mainstreaming, which focused on the UPR. To view the webcast (QUNO speaks at 1h56m) – and download the full statement – please click here

The statement emphasized that the cost of continued fragmentation is too high and suggested the following actions to support the UPR in better contributing to peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities of the UN: 
• Inclusion of conflict analysis in the UN Compilation and Stakeholders Compilations as well as National Reports. 
• Use of information prepared in the reports as part of horizon scanning and early warning 
• Making and implementing recommendations that intentionally link technical assistance for the prevention of Human Rights violations that if left unaddressed may lead to escalating grievances or even conflict 
The learning and the recommendations from the discussions and the case studies are yet to be published.

 

Photo: UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre

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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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January 2018

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.

Stay informed about QUNO's work, including updates to the below background document, by signing up for our newsletter

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December 2017

Sustaining Peace: Partnerships for Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding

“There is no room for complacency when it comes to peace.” H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations

Through the adoption of dual resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace in 2016, the UN General Assembly [A/RES/70/262] and UN Security Council [S/RES/2282] committed to a more comprehensive understanding and approach to peace. On 8 December, QUNO  cosponsored an event on sustaining peace coordinated in partnership with the President of the United Nations General Assembly’s  Office, the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the UN Foundation, Global Compact, and New York University’s Center for International Cooperation . The discussion focused on the topics of prevention and partnerships for sustaining peace, and featured experts from civil society, academia, members of the private sector, and UN colleagues.   This event served as a first public meeting for the President of the 72nd Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák, as he moves forward on his “roadmap” for sustaining peace. 

In the first panel, participants discussed  conflict prevention and sustaining peace, focusing particularly on how different actors can best contribute to the preventive aspects of building long-term sustainable peace. Sharing the perspective of local peace workers on the ground, Bridget Moix, US Senior Representative and Head of Advocacy for Peace Direct, noted that “prevention and peacebuilding need to be locally led, regionally anchored, and internationally supported.” Bridget was also joined by Executive Director and Founder of Camp for Peace Liberia, B. Abel Learwellie who shared his experience working as a peacebuilder in Liberia. Abel shared the work Camp for Peace conducts to engage and empower vulnerable youth populations to help rebuild Liberia.  

Given this critical role of inclusivity and partnerships, the second panel focused on how to build such partnerships for peace. The panel was moderated by Andrew Tomlinson of QUNO who opened the discussion by sharing that “peace, justice, and inclusion are at the heart of sustaining peace .” The panelists discussed how new partnership frameworks for peace should move away from crisis response and towards a greater emphasis on prevention and building the resilience of communities. This change is beneficial because in early stages of prevention, a wider range of tools and initiatives are available that are likely to be more cost-effective than the tools necessary for conflict response. 

This half-day event was one of many avenues that will be taken to contribute towards developments ahead of the High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, which will be held in 2018. QUNO looks forward to continuing to  support such efforts, with a particular focus on the need for inclusive, partnership based peacebuilding approaches.

Watch the event here.

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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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November 2017

Introducing New York’s Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform to Geneva

On 8 November, amidst the highly attended Geneva Peace Week, QUNO’s UN Representative Rachel Madenyika presented and moderated a panel entitled “The Future of Prevention: Civil Society Perspectives on Obstacles and Opportunities to better support the UN’s work on Prevention.” The workshop was co-organized by the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).

Rachel opened the meeting by introducing the work of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform (the Platform). Launched in 2016 in New York, the inclusive initiative aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations and the UN at all levels by identifying concrete and practical steps to enhance the UN and civil society’s collective capacity to carry out preventative work. Rachel shared with the Geneva audience that the Platform primarily worked through sharing of best practices, identifying areas of potential collaboration, supporting the UN’s work in early warning and early action, and most importantly, that the Platform relied on an informal extensive network of global expert civil society organizations. The panel highlighted concrete examples of opportunities and challenges in engaging the UN. GPPAC emphasized that for local civil society actors, such a platform is a significant opportunity to empower civil society engagement not only with the UN but also with local, national, and international actors. SSRC expressed the importance of engaging with local academics as experts who are knowledgeable of the country context. The speaker from the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) discussed how early warning systems are effective in West Africa because of the strong networks of local actors that work cohesively in preventing conflict from escalating. Funding and lack of information sharing were identified by all speakers as challenges to better support the UN. The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was a welcomed initiative in Geneva and the event was well attended with participants expressing interest in joining the Platform’s larger network of civil society experts.

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October 2017

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosts event entitled ‘Reflections on the Role of Women in the Prevention of Violent Conflict’

On 25 October, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted a successful, well attended event entitled ‘Reflections on the Role of Women in the Prevention of Violent Conflict’. Held in advance of the Security Council’s Open Debate on Women, Peace and Security, this event brought together the Gender Focal Points from the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) and civil society actors from New York. 

Held at Quaker House, this informal, off-the-record meeting offered a space to discuss changes that are needed at the local context and regional inter-governmental levels to increase meaningful participation of women in peace processes and conflict prevention. The discussion highlighted the main challenges and risks for women working in peacebuilding and conflict prevention. Reflections from Fiji, Cameroon, Armenia, and Barcelona emphasized that women are often first responders and their participation is essential in resolving conflict and in helping to build sustainable peace, and yet they are often not included or consulted in programming directed towards them and rarely are key partners in implementation. Participants left the meeting empowered to continue uplifting greater involvement of women in high-level decision-making processes and in formal leadership roles.

The Platform event was moderated by QUNO’s UN Representative for the Prevention of Violent Conflict, Rachel Madenyika. QUNO and GPPAC co-facilitate the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, established in 2016, which aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations and the UN at all levels, and through close collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs (DPA). The Platform believes that the UN’s work on prevention would benefit from a systematic engagement with civil society and that the inclusion of diverse civil society expertise is crucial to achieving sustainable peace and development.

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