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

November 2016

Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) and QUNO highlight natural resources and conflict sensitive business approaches

This event on “Enhancing the Potential of Business for Sustainable Development and Sustaining Peace” provided an opportunity to publicly share research commissioned by the American Friends Service committee (AFSC) for their Business and Peace Programme and present the development of a new tool by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank for enhancing access to information on environmental matters for local communities.

Inga Petersen of UNEP presented MAP-X, a platform to map and assess the performance of the extractive industries and pilot projects to use this as a stakeholder engagement platform and with mining companies. Tessa de Ryck of AFSC spoke on her research on existing peacebuilding practices developed by local and international organizations or adopted by businesses and corporations to prevent and mitigate social conflict resulting from investment in the global south. The event highlighted the great potential of business for sustaining peace but also the potential for exacerbating or generating conflict through ill-considered business practices.

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November 2016

Expert Consultation held on sharing lessons learned in engaging with businesses

The annual Forum on Business and Human Rights took place in Geneva from 15-16 November 2016 and attracted state delegate, companies and many NGOs to its deliberations and events.

Following this event, on the 17th November QUNO co-hosted an event with the Geneva peace Building Platform and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), inviting experts from human rights, peacebuilding and business backgrounds to share ideas and experiences in engaging with businesses from these different approaches. The exchange created space for an informal discussion to identify points of future collaboration, to strengthen the working relationships between these three different approaches engaging with businesses.

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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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