Timeline

March 2015

Bringing the Voices of Local Peacebuilders to the UN

As part of the New York Peacebuilding Group, a gathering of organisations (the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, the International Peace Institute, Interpeace, PAX, Peace Direct, the Quaker United Nations Office, and World Vision) engaged on various peace-related issues at the UN and in country, QUNO hosted local civil society representatives from Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guatemala, Liberia, Mali, South Africa, and Timor Leste in New York. The purpose of the visit was to meet with the panel experts conducting the reviews of the UN's Peace Operations and Peacebuilding Architecture. The local representatives shared their community-level peacebuilding experience and perspectives with the panelists in order to contribute to the improvement of UN peace practices. The three-day consultation also included a series of workshop meetings at Quaker House and a panel event at the International Peace Institute. 

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March 2015

Palestinian Youth Organizers: Breaking Barriers - Building Movements

QUNO, in collaboration with the American Friends Service Committee, facilitated an Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group event “Palestinian Youth Organizers: Breaking Barriers - Building Movements.” The talk featured three young Palestinian women from Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem who had previously traveled to select U.S. cities to discuss and address issues of Palestinian fragmentation, freedom of movement, their personal experiences and day-to-day realities of living and studying in Gaza, the West Bank and more. All three women are participants in a current AFSC project in the region, "Palestinian Youth: Together for Change," which aims at decreasing Palestinian fragmentation by bringing together youth Palestinians from different locations.

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March 2015

Engagement with the New York University Center for Global Affairs on the new Sustainable Development Goals

As part of a workshop organised by the New York University Center for Global Affairs on the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), QUNO NY Director Andrew Tomlinson was one of two speakers for the opening plenary session, along with Professor Sakiko Fukuda-Parr from the New School for Public Engagement. Andrew provided a detailed overview of the lengthy process to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the new SDGs framework, and noted the contrasting experience of civil society engagement in each process. A lively interactive session followed the opening remarks, during which a range of insights were shared highlighting the challenges that remained for the numerous stakeholders engaged in the vast inter-governmental negotiating process at the UN throughout 2015.  

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March 2015

QUNO co-hosts Climate Change side event at the Human Rights Council

The Geneva Climate Change Concertation Group (GeCCco), the Geneva Interfaith Forum on Climate Change and Human Rights (GIF), QUNO and other NGOs concerned about the impact of climate change on human rights, co-hosted CLIMATE CHANGE AND HUMAN RIGHTS: THE WAY FORWARD IN THE HRC, a side event to the 28th session of the Human Rights Council. The side event was held on Friday, 6 March, from 1-3pm in Room XXVII at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. 

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February 2015

Launch of the White Paper on Peacebuilding

On the 27th of February 2015, QUNO, alongside its partners at the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, launched the White Paper on Peacebuilding. Published in anticipation of the 10-year review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture, this collaborative publication aims to account for a diverse range of perspectives in discussing the challenges, opportunities, and future of peacebuilding, as well the ways in which societies may work towards a sustainable peace, with the support of the UN and other international actors. At this event, panelists representing the GPP’s partner organizations, including QUNO’s Diane Hendrick, discussed the contents of the White Paper, underlining the importance of accounting for voices from the field as well as the need for greater emphasis on prevention in peacebuilding efforts. The White Paper and a series of detailed background papers are available below.

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February 2015

"Tilting the UN Toward Peace & Justice" - Northern Spirit Radio Interview

In February, QUNO New York Director and UN Representative, Andrew Tomlinson, was interviewed by the Northern Spirit Radio, to talk about the work of the Quaker United Nations Office and share some insights on current UN processes and focus. Titled: "Tilting the UN Toward Peace & Justice" - the full interview can be found here

Northern Spirit Radio promotes world healing by broadcasting inspirational and educational voices of peace and social justice using the language of personal story, music, and spirituality.

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February 2015

QUNO particpates in Fifth Meeting of the Aarhus Task Force on Public Participation in Decision Making on Environmental Matters

Fifth Meeting of the Aarhus Task Force on Public Participation credit:Noah Berger Photography

QUNO participated in the fifth meeting of the Aarhus Convention Task Force on Public Participation in Decision-Making on Environmental Matters from 23 to 24 February 2015. Entering into force in December 2001, the Aarhus Convention provides the publics of signatory states with a number of procedural rights with respect to the environment, including the right to access information, the right of participation, and the right to justice. The Fifth Task Force gathered state and civil society representatives at the Palais de Nations with the aim of facilitating discussions about the chief challenges to effective public participation, allowing for the exchange of good practices, and proposing potential methods for the strengthening of public participation in relation to environmental matters. Acknowledging the negative impact of local capacity deficits on public participation, QUNO’s Diane Hendrick gave a presentation, highlighting the value of peacebuilding approaches in increasing environmental awareness and building capacity in order to provide stakeholders with the ability to engage in more meaningful and effective participation in environmental decision-making.

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January 2015

QUNO & FAO launch an online consultation on food security measures and trade

QUNO launched and moderated an online consultation on food security measures and trade, in conjunction with the FAO Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition and the FAO Trade and Markets Division.

Entitled 'Examining the Linkages between trade and food security: What is your experience?', the consultation invited contributors to share their expertise and knowledge of these issues, in an attempt to put small-scale farmers back at the centre of the debate. It asked probing questions about the efficacy of a global market-based approach to food security, and sought to find ways of reconciling food security measures with trade rules.

The discussion ran from January to February 2015. A summary of the consultation, written by QUNO Representative for Food & Sustainability Susan H. Bragdon, is available at the below link.

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January 2015

Peace and Post-2015: What's Next?

In January QUNO hosted an informal civil society strategy session on Goal 16 and the role of related peace issues in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). After many years of inputs, from a variety of different sources and streams, the process to replace the Millennium Development Goals with the transformative SDG framework enters its final stages. 

Civil Society representatives in New York and by phone from London and Washington were joined by selected member state representatives and UN officials. The session took stock of the conversation to date, reviewed the Secretary General's December 2014 synthesis report specifically from a peace perspective and considered potential points of entry for the coming year. 

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December 2014

French, Chinese and Spanish translations of our Trade Liberalization and Food Security booklet are now available!

French, Chinese and Spanish language translations of Trade Liberalization & Food Security: Examining the Linkages by Jennifer Clapp are now available. The paper is part of our project working towards a New Framework for Trade & Investment in Agriculture, in which we are exploring some of the questions at the heart of defining the purpose, structure and direction of governance of trade and investment in agriculture, in order to place livelihoods, dignity, sustainability, resilience and food security at the heart of the rules governing these areas.

Downloads of the booklet are available at the link below:

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December 2014

QUNO co-hosted a side event on human rights and climate change in Lima

QUNO, together with the World Council of Churches and Religions for Peace, co-hosted a side event on the human rights impacts of anthropogenic climate change on 10 December 2014, during the 20th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Lima, Peru. 

The increasing impacts of anthropogenic climate change are a grave danger to humankind and nature, severely jeopardizing human rights and life on Earth. Drawing from a joint letter by the UN Human Rights Special Procedures mandate-holders to the UNFCCC, the event aimed to galvanize debate around actions necessary to strengthen respect and promotion of human rights in climate negotiations.

Joining the panel were Hilal Elver, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; the Rev Henrik Grape, from the Church of Sweden; John Knox, UN Independent Expert on Human Rights and the Environment; and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The discussion was moderated by Yves Lador, of EarthJustice.

Photo: A Quechua priest gives a ceremonial sip of chicha, a fermented maize drink, to a young girl during the Global March for the Climate on Dec 10th. More than 15,000 people took part in the Climate March in Lima while the UN climate talks were taking place. Credit: Lutheran World Federation/Sean Hawkey

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December 2014

QUNO launches FCNL Report on Natural Resources in the Central African Republic

In early December, QUNO hosted the Friends Committee on National Legislation launch of a policy brief titled: "Central African Republic Crisis: Managing Natural Resources for Peace." Engaging with a range of stakeholders, a series of Quaker House meetings in New York emphasized the importance of fostering transparent and accountable systems of management for the wealth of natural resources across the Central African Republic.  Key messages highlighted the role of sustainable and shared decision-making processes on issues of natural resource management at a local, national, and international level, as central to building a lasting peace. 

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December 2014

Facing the Limits of Reconciliation

QUNO New York director Andrew Tomlinson was interviewed by the Western Friend, the official publication of Quakers in Pacific, North Pacific, and Intermountain Yearly Meetings, to talk about the work and impact of the Quaker presence at the United Nations. In a wide-ranging dialogue, Andrew discussed the long history of QUNO, its working methods, and the current policy priorities at the United Nations. An excerpt of the transcript of the interview can be found here, or alternatively a complete transcript can be found here

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November 2014

QUNO chairs event on drones, protection and transparency

In November, QUNO chaired an event of the Geneva Forum entitled New Warfare Challenges: Drone Operations and Protection of Civilians. Moderated by Diane Hendrick, QUNO’s Representative for Peace and Disarmament, the panel consisted of Baher Amzy from the Centre for Constitutional Rights and Kate Hofstra from Every Casualty Worldwide led the discussions.

The discussion addressed the effects on communities of living under sustained drone presence and how the fear of becoming the next victim of a drone strike affects people’s willingness to attend cultural events, public gatherings or even school. Impacts include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, stress, emotional breakdowns, and physical ailments that that can also have long term effects on societies as well as individuals. In addition, lack of transparency in the use of drones presents a significant obstacle to measuring the civilian impact of drone strikes and issues relating to casualty recording were also discussed at the event.

The panel attracted over 60 State and NGO representatives to address these underexplored issues.

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November 2014

Freedom from Violence: Peace, Security and Conflict Prevention in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

On 19 November QUNO Director Andrew Tomlinson spoke as part of an expert panel as part of a four-day seminar on “Freedom from Violence: Peace, Security and Conflict Prevention in the Post-2015 Development Agenda." Hosted by the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA), and joined by representatives from Beyond2015 Campaign, and Save the Children, QUNO shared a series of insights and reflections to participants representing United Nations Associations from Armenia, India, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, and Venezuela. A lively interactive discussion followed the initial presentation, as participants shared national perspectives and priorities for the year ahead. 

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October 2014

QUNO hosts WTO working session on agricultural trade and food security

QUNO organized a working session at the WTO Public Forum, to address the forum theme of “Why Trade Matters to Everyone." QUNO posed the question “are the benefits of trade sufficiently inclusive?” in consideration of food security. In addition the sub-themes of trade and employment and trade in Africa were addressed by contextual presentations by panelists.

Moderated by Susan H. Bragdon, QUNO’s Representative for Food & Sustainability, the panel consisted of Jennifer Clapp, Professor & Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and Sustainability at University of Waterloo, Jerome Bunyi, the Agricultural Attaché to the Philippine Permanent Mission to the WTO and Morrison Rwakakamba CEO if the Ugandan farmers` association, Agency for Transformation .

Jennifer Clapp presented findings from her paper, “Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the Linkages” addressing the underlying narrative of trade liberalization and its relationship to food security. Jerome Bunyi gave context to the paper by providing an account of,  the situation of the Philippines and trade liberalization from the founding of the WTO until the present. Morrison Rwakakamba brought the perspective of small-scale farmers to the fore in sharing his experience in Uganda.

The session was well received by a highly engaged group of more than 80 attendees and included perspectives and questions from a number of different stakeholder groups. An audio recording of the working session can be found here.

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October 2014

QUNO and the South Centre host discussion on trade liberalization and food security

QUNO and the South Centre, a Geneva based intergovernmental organization of developing countries, hosted a seminar with State delegates where author Jennifer Clapp presented the findings of her paper, “Trade Liberalization and Food Security: Examining the linkages.”  The paper was commissioned by QUNO, and is available here.

State delegates expressed appreciation for the opportunity to step back from the details of the World Trade Organization trade negotiations to discuss the underlying narrative that supports arguments for trade liberalization.  The meeting was well attended with a lively discussion of the paper’s conclusion that context is important in determining the most appropriate trade policies to ensure food security.

 

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October 2014

QUNO hosts side event on trade and food security at the Committee on World Food Security

QUNO hosted a side event entitled “Harnessing Trade for Food Security” at the 41st meeting of Committee on Food Security. Susan H Bragdon, QUNO’s Representative for Food & Sustainability, introduced the conceptual inter-linkages between trade and food security and the challenges the dominant paradigm of increasing trade liberalization may present to countries as they implement food security measures.

Aileen Kwa, the Coordinator for the Trade and Development Programme at the South Centre continued the panel presentation by explaining more specifically the evolution of the WTO Agreement on Agriculture and in particular the current impasse at the World Trade Organization.

Isabel Mazzei, present in her personal capacity, described the struggles for a WTO trade negotiator from a developing country when trying to reconcile desired national measures on food security with pressure to brought to bear to decrease policy flexibilities in the WTO.

Ivan Polanco, director of Asamblea General de la Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC), a peasant organization that represents small and medium producers of basic grains, also sat on the panel. Ivan described the experience of Mexico after NAFTA and in particular the marginalization of small-scale producers and an increasing dependence on food imports. 

Billy Mayaya, the Director of the Right to Food Network in Malawi, discussed his country’s experience both with trade rules and with pressure from philanthropic sources to pursue economic development through engagement with the global market.  Both Ivan and Billy stressed the need for policy flexibility for countries to support small-scale farmers and the development and maintenance of agricultural biological diversity as a key means to ensure food security and resilience over time.

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September 2014

QUNO Walks With People's Climate March in New York

On Sunday, September 21, QUNO staff from New York and Geneva joined in the People's Climate March, which brought an estimated 400,000 people to the streets of New York to voice their concerns and walk in solidarity with the communities who are most affected by climate change, in advance of the UN Climate Summit.  QUNO and other Quaker organizations are actively working on the margins of the Climate Summit, calling "on our leaders to make the radical decisions needed to create a fair, sufficient and effective international climate change agreement."

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September 2014

"Rebuilding Iraq in the Nineveh Plain" - A Briefing with Jim and Deb Fine of Mennonites Central Committee

Together with the Mennonite Central Committee, QUNO hosted a briefing at Quaker House from Deborah and Jim Fine, both of whom recently returned from four years of service with the Mennonite Central Committee in Iraq. Based in Erbil, in the Kurdish Region, they administered MCC's relief, development, and peacebuilding work with Iraqi partner organizations throughout the country. In the last three months, their relief work and association with the Chaldean Catholic Church provided them with first-hand experience of the consequences of the fall of Mosul and minority-inhabited towns and villages in the Nineveh Plain. 

In a stimulating and interactive conversation, an array of different approaches were discussed by a diverse range of participants. Jim and Deborah Fine both urged policy makers to pursue approaches that focused on peaceful change by peaceful means, recognising that no military solution could put an end to the current crisis.

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