Areas of Work

Natural Resources, Conflict and Cooperation

QUNO recognises that weak and inequitable governance of natural resources can lead to destructive conflict, exacerbating tensions between groups and in some cases escalating to violence. We therefore take a conflict prevention and peacebuilding approach to natural resource management, encouraging dialogue, cooperation and the constructive handling of conflicts. QUNO works with laws and guidelines from international frameworks that support inclusive decision making and equitable access to natural resources, while also bringing expertise and good practices from the local level to the international policy environment. We highlight the need to empower local communities, including vulnerable groups such as women and the poorest, to participate meaningfully in decision making around natural resources, focusing particularly on water, land and food. 

Recent Timeline Events

March 2016

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

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


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January 2016

QUNO contributes chapter to new Elsevier publication on Land Degradation

Working as a consultant for QUNO Geneva, Lynn Finnegan, with assistance from Diane Hendrick, has authored a chapter entitled “All Voices Heard: A Conflict Prevention Approach to Land and Natural Resources” in the newly-published book Land Restoration: Reclaiming Landscapes for a Sustainable Future, edited by Ilan Chabay, Martin Frick and Jennifer Helgeson.

This chapter demonstrates the ways in which the unsustainable, exclusive, and top-down management of land can serve to exacerbate underlying tensions and inequalities already present in the structures of a society and thereby lead to destructive conflict. The chapter goes on to provide illustrations of instances in which it was possible to prevent destructive conflict and build peace, by ensuring that land management and policy accounted for the needs and aspirations of all concerned groups and people.  

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November 2015

Bringing constructive examples to the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

QUNO, together with the Centre for Peacebuilding (swisspeace) and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), held a side event at the 4th UN Forum on Business and Human rights, on 16 November 2015. This event focused on the “Human Rights Implications of Large-Scale Land Investments and Constructive Responses”. Former UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, spoke on preliminary findings and initial reflections of a draft report produced for ICAR, Global Witness and Oxfam on Land, corruption and human rights. QUNO arranged for Sin Sokhomony from the NGO Forum on Cambodia to speak on the experience of engaging with Chinese investors around land issues, drawing on project experience with the American Friends Service committee (AFSC).

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