Timeline

October 2015

Small-scale Farmer Innovation Systems: Report on the First Expert Consultation 26-27 May 2015 in Geneva

In May 2015, QUNO convened a small expert consultation in Geneva to discuss the emerging concept of small-scale farmer innovation systems. The event brought together 19 participants from across 12 countries, providing a platform for discussing first-hand experiences of innovation at this level. The experience of one of the attendees - Joe Ouko, a farmer from Kenya, features in the 93rd edition of Quaker News ('Starting small', p.11): http://issuu.com/quakers-in-britain/docs/quaker_news_93_4f36b9a9828ae7/1 

Over the course of the two days, detailed information was shared, gaps highlighted, working relationships established and future directions explored. The report, which can be accessed by clicking the link below, represents a synthesis of what was discussed; something that will be valuable in informing QUNO’s work moving forward.

Read the report, as well as a literature review of small-scale farmer innovation systems, below:

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October 2015

In & Around the UN

Take a look at what's going on in our New York office: QUNO's quarterly Newsletter highlights our work on the new Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 Agenda; the first Arria-Formula meeting focusing on the issue of Palestine since 1997; a workshop in Beijing entitled "Emerging Views on Global Peace Practice;" our Review of the UN Peacebuilding architecture; and new staff in New York.

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October 2015

QUNO speaks on inclusion to UN Peacebuilding Commission

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson shared perspectives from civil society as a panel presenter at a meeting of the UN Peacebuilding Commission's Working Group on Lessons Learned, chaired by the Japanese Mission to the UN. The meeting focused on the development of political institutions in conflict affected states. Andrew spoke about the fundamental importance of civil society inclusion to effective political institutions. He gave examples of how civil society has, in practice, contributed to the formation and functioning of political institutions and shared five recommendations for the UN Peacebuilding Commission in supporting inclusive political processes.

 

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October 2015

QUNO publishes timely briefing papers ahead of COP21 in Paris

Between November 30 and December 11, 2015, international negotiators will meet at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris. The annual COP is the main decision making session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This particular meeting is historic: in the context of increasingly strong and urgent calls to tackle anthropogenic climate change, the participants will seek to agree on a new agreement applicable to all Parties.

The four papers attached are intended to provide a comprehensive briefing for those concerned about the outcomes of COP21. The subjects are covered as follows:

Paper 1: The UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris 2015.
Paper 2: The importance of grassroots action to influence international climate negotiations.
Paper 3: Questions to ask policy makers.
Paper 4: What can we say, briefly, about the findings from climate science?

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October 2015

QUNO and NGO Partners Publish Booklet on Gaza Arria-Formula Meeting

The Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group, of which QUNO New York is a member, has published a booklet on the UN Security Council Arria-formula meeting on Gaza, which took place in July. The booklet features the presentations made by the four expert speakers at the meeting, which was co-hosted by the Permanent Missions of Malaysia and Jordan to the UN. The speakers were Mr. Vance Culbert from the Norwegian Refugee Council, Mr. Ardi Imseis of Cambridge University, Ms. Tania Hary from Gisha, and Dr. Sara Roy from the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University.

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September 2015

QUNO hosts consultation on criminal justice and drug-related policies

QUNO co-hosted an informal NGO consultation meeting on criminal justice and drug-related policies, in conjunction with the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and Penal Reform International (PRI), on Tuesday 29 September.

The consultation was intended to gather the views of NGOs on these issues in order to support civil society input in advance of the UN General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, taking place in New York in April 2016.  

Further details about the event can be found on the flyer available below.

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September 2015

Statement by Peacebuilding Organisations on the International Day of Peace

In honour of the International Day of Peace, QUNO and peacebuilding organisations from around the world have issued a shared statement to UN Member States on the importance of fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies. Throughout the General Assembly in September, world leaders will sign on to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and there will be high-level discussions on terrorism, UN peace operations and peacebuilding. In light of these events, "Facing the Challenge of Peace" encourages the international community to adopt the following principles: embracing the universality of the 2030 Agenda; seeking to understand local contexts; seeking to do no harm when planning and implementing development, humanitarian, economic and security engagements; focusing on increasing resilience; and prioritising local needs.

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September 2015

QUNO delivers oral statement on children of parents sentenced to death or executed at the HRC

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the rights of children of parents sentenced to death or executed during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The issue was raised by QUNO in response to an update to the UN Secretary General's report on Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing the protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty.

QUNO called on the Council to follow up on recommendations noted by the report, including convening an expert seminar for further investigation, and developing further guidance on the issue. Daniel Cullen, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees, delivered the statement during the General Debate discussion on Friday 18 September.

Text and video (beginning at 01:41:30) is available below: 

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September 2015

From Geneva to Paris: One voice on rights for a just climate agreement

On September 24th 2015, QUNO is co-sponsoring a side event as part of the 30th session of the Human Rights Council.

In its last Resolution on climate change, the HRC has "expressed concerns that climate change has contributed to the increase of both sudden-onset natural disasters and slow onset events, and that these events have adverse effects on the full enjoyment of all human rights". Climate change is more and more likely to constitute one of the greatest human rights challenge of the century. The outcome of the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris can vitally contribute to the response to this challenge. Incorporating an effective human rights dimension in the universal and legally binding Agreement under negotiation at COP21 in Paris is thus of crucial importance.

The side event offers an opportunity to hear the joint call of constituencies of the civil society to include strong and effective human rights language in the Agreement in Paris and views of the States leading the UNFCCC process.

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August 2015

Policy Brief: Realizing the right to food in an era of climate change

Agriculture is a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change, and in turn climate change threatens the viability of food production around the world. The spread of capital- and technology-intensive 'industrial' agriculture in the modern era has been accompanied by an erosion of on-farm genetic diversity, a loss of local knowledge, and the abandonment of traditional farming practices. This undermines our capacity to
adapt to already-changing climatic conditions.

This report highlights the role of small-scale farmers as innovators and custodians of food system diversity, a critical resource in ensuring the realization of the right to food in an era of climate change. Taking an innovation systems perspective, it proposes a new framework for the design of collaborative agricultural research projects and agendas, and notes the need for pro-active policy measures in creating an enabling environment for such partnerships.

The report is available for download in English and Chinese, by clicking on the link below.

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August 2015

Peace and Post-2015: What Now?

In August QUNO New York hosted an informal civil society strategy session at Quaker House to discuss the next steps for peace issues within the soon-to be adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Primarily focusing on Goal 16 - Promoting Peaceful and Inclusive Societies - civil society representatives, as well as selected member state representatives and UN officials, discussed an array of next steps concerning the implementation, measurement, and communication of the agenda. 

The session additionally addressed the importance of forming partnerships across the wider peace community and explored possible linkages with other major processes at the UN, including the Peacebuilding Architecture review, the Peace Operations review, the World Humanitarian Summit, and the UN Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism. 

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July 2015

QUNO co-hosts discussion on the transition from conflict to development

QUNO New York, together with Club de Madrid, as part of their Shared Societies project, co-hosted an informal conversation at Quaker House with Mr. Abdurrahim El Keib, former Prime Minister of Libya and Mr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting focused on the importance of connecting high-level policy discussions to the realities of countries in transition, and that well-thought out mechanisms to support political inclusion are vital components to consolidating development and progress in a post-conflict context.

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July 2015

QUNO co-organizes Beijing workshop on UN Peace Practices

QUNO New York, together with the United Nations Association of China (UNA-China), the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) jointly held a workshop entitled “Emerging Views on Global Peace Practice: New Directions in UN Peace Operations at the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary” in Beijing. The workshop brought together Chinese academics, civil society practitioners, and experts from Africa, Europe, and the United Nations to discuss current UN peace strategies and practices. The participants actively engaged in discussions over the current reviews of the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture and Peace Operations, shared various country-focused experiences, and held an inspiring dialogue on gender perspectives in peace endeavours. More broadly, the workshop provided an opportunity for exchanging perspectives and promoting better understanding among Chinese, Western, African, and UN-based experts on UN peace operations and peacebuilding practices.

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July 2015

QUNO interviewed for ACUNS podcast on peace and post-2015

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson was interviewed by the Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS) for their "Current Issues" podcast series, where he discussed his recent article, Peace and Post-2015: Into the Home Stretch, which is focused on Sustainable Development Goal 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

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July 2015

QUNO Presents at Beijing 70th UN Anniversary Event

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson was invited by the UN Association of China to be a plenary speaker at a Beijing event celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. Quakers have had a long association with China, and this was an occasion to renew old acquaintances and make some new contacts.

QUNO's presentation, "The UN’s role in maintaining international order: preventing violent conflict and fostering peaceful and inclusive societies", which calls for using a prevention lens across development, humanitarian assistance, economic and security activities, was well received.

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Event of Note
July 2015

Arria-Formula Meeting on Gaza

For the first time since 1997 and just the second time ever, the Security Council held an Arria-Formula meeting focusing specifically on the issue of Palestine. Co-sponsored by the Permanent missions’ of Malaysia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with assistance from the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group, the meeting: "Reflections One Year Later and Charting a New Course for Gaza" featured briefings from speakers from civil society and academia, and was well attended by Council members and the UN community alike. 
 
Security Council member states were largely represented at the highest level, and were constructive in their response to the four speakers' testimonies.  Many member states welcomed the convening of the Arria-Formula Event, and issued their support for new Security Council initiatives that might arise. There was a general agreement that the current situation in Gaza is unsustainable and must be alleviated, with interventions focusing on the need to lift the blockade, for donor's to fulfil aid pledges, and for actors to ensure that steps are taken to prevent future hostilities.
 
QUNO has been an active member of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group since its founding in 1999. The working group is a coalition of organizations that have meet to share information and advocate for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

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June 2015

QUNO and Living Witness hold side-event at UNFCCC climate change conference

QUNO, together with Living Witness hosted a side event at the UNFCCC Bonn Climate Change Conference, entitled "Moving beyond conflict to build shared purpose.” The workshop was moderated by Laurie Michaelis, Founder of Living Witness. QUNO’s Climate Change Representative, Lindsey Fielder Cook, welcomed participants, encouraging them to explore their own conflicts with other participants in the room in order to understand how to best work through them.

Michaelis gave a brief history of his life leading up to the founding of his organization, noting his work on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s second assessment report, and his research at Oxford University's Commission on Sustainable Consumption. He highlighted cases of conflict that brought about the need for research into human behavior, and explained that this lead him to full-time work with the Quaker community in the UK, which committed to low carbon sustainable living in 2011. He listed two main causes of human conflict as: how we look at ourselves in relationships, and our willingness to change; and how we relate to others, including our ability to consider their highest aspirations. He noted three elements to move beyond conflict: understanding each other, which includes learning to listen; mutual compassion, which involves being sensitive to each others’ feelings; and being willing to empower other people, even if this goes against our own aspirations.

Introducing quiet diplomacy, which seeks to create a safe space for delegates from different backgrounds to brainstorm ideas to address climate change, Lindsey Cook highlighted her conflict-resolution background within the UN, and QUNO’s role in offering a space for humanity to work together to solve differences in approaches to address climate change through quiet diplomacy. Participants then engaged with each other in a workshop on building shared purpose.

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June 2015

QUNO presents at WIPO seminar on Intellectual Property Rights, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions

The issue of genetic resources or traditional knowledge that are shared among different countries was discussed at a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seminar last week. The seminar took place from 23-25 June at WIPO headquarters in Geneva. Susan Bragdon, QUNO's Food and Sustainability Representative, was asked to talk about other international legal instruments that relate to genetic resources and intellectual property, in particular to discuss the story behind the treaties; how they came to be, what they say and the challenges presented by the regime complex.

The panel was webcast live and can be viewed at the below URL. Susan’s talk can by selecting the afternoon session of 24 June. She is the first speaker after the moderator’s introduction. 

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June 2015

QUNO co-hosts panel event on promoting conflict sensitive business practice

QUNO and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and hosted "Promoting conflict sensitive business practice - Reflections on experience," a lunch-time panel discussion on civil society efforts to engage business on the impacts of investment on conflict and changing approaches of Northeast Asian business stakeholders, particularly from China. 

The event was moderated by Diane Hendrick, QUNO's Representative for Peace and Disarmament, and speakers included Jason Tower, a Quaker International Affairs Representative in Beijing, and Andreas Graf, Program Officer with swisspeace.

Further details on the event are available in the PDF document below.

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June 2015

QUNO co-hosts "Moving away from the Death Penalty" side event at the 29th session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO will co-host the side event "Moving away from the Death Penalty: Protection of the rights of persons facing death penalty abroad, including migrants" at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 at 11am.

The side-event will provide a platform for the exchange of information and views on persons who face the death penalty aboard, including migrant workers; and to share good practices, lesson learned and challenges in the implementation of relevant international human rights standards. 

Further details on the event and panelists can be found in the flyer available below.

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