This report brings together the learning from a project undertaken from February 2017 to April 2018 to explore the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a vehicle for better linking human rights and sustaining peace. The aim of this project was to contribute to overcoming the fragmentation within the United Nations (UN) and promoting 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 process. This report is intended to provide input to the discussions following the Secretary-General’s Report to the General Assembly on Sustaining Peace1 and to consideration of how to take this work forward in the UN.
This is a library of QUNO publications, newsletters, and statements. Recent Publications
The 2018 QUNO Review provides a brief introduction to QUNO and our way of working, as well as an overview of our areas of work. Learn more about our past year of our work and see where we are headed in 2018.
The World Office for the Friends World Committee for Consultation has added a Q&A with Susan Bragdon, Representative, Food & Sustainability on the importance of agricultural biological diversity to human and planetary health to its website containing resources on sustainability. The Q&A ends with concrete actions people can take to help conserve agricultural biological diversity.
The Q&A is available below and on the FWCC website
QUNO New York's quarterly newsletter, featuring articles on:
- Peacebuilding orgs and future challenges
- Letter from the Director
- The role of civil society in conflict prevention
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 the country’s 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. Building on such legislation, in March, the White House released a proposed budget for 2017 that calls for reductions in financial support to the UN budget and peacekeeping operations, and for the end of support of UN climate change programs.
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 if or how the various draft bills, draft Executive Orders, and proposed White House budget will move forward, 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.
The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants was adopted by States in September 2016 and initiated a two-year process to develop two ‘Global Compacts’ aimed at improving States’ response to refugees and migrants. Our briefing paper provides an update on the development of the Global Compact on Migration over the past year and how the process is expected to proceed in 2018. QUNO has been working to support the adoption of a Global Compact on Migration that is ambitious, effective and human rights based. This paper details how QUNO has been working on this issue and how Friends can engage with this process.
The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration must be grounded in international human rights law. This is the central message of a new paper produced by a group of Geneva-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who are interested in a human rights-based response to migration at the UN level. QUNO convenes this informal group of NGOs, with a particular focus on ensuring a human rights basis to this new international agreement on migration, which is due to be adopted in 2018.
This booklet was created to support climate negotiators in their work to engage busy Ministries with reasons for urgent, rights-based climate action. Ministers and other decision makers face competing demands and priorities, but they may also be more receptive to one argument over another. One person may better respond to economic concerns, for example, another to scientific findings. The booklet offers eight concise summaries compiled from expert voices in climate change related sectors. We hope these summaries help negotiators engage with colleagues back home on why urgent, rights-based climate action is critical to the long-term well-being and stability of their countries.
The summaries are based on presentations given by experts at a side event in May 2017, during the climate change conference in Bonn. The Healthier World Argument was compiled following this event. We are thankful to colleagues at Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and at Newcastle University, for co-hosting this side event in May 2017. This booklet is a working draft, and comments are welcome.
September 21 marks the International Day of Peace, which was established in 1981 by a unanimous resolution in the UN’s General Assembly. To mark the day, QUNO and 131 peacebuilding organizations from throughout the world issued a statement to United Nations Member States that brings attention to peace concerns.
As noted by QUNO NY’s Director, Andrew Tomlinson, “while international attention lurches from crisis to crisis, global peace-building organizations focus on long term work to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies. On the International Day of Peace, we encourage governments gathering in New York for the start of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly to join us in these efforts to sustainably address the root causes of violent conflict around the world.”
The statement calls for Member States to:
- Fully embrace the commitments to peace in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
- Balance national efforts with a focus on external drivers of peace, justice and inclusion
- Mainstream prevention, including in development, humanitarian action, and crisis response
- Protect and support civil society inclusion
QUNO's Human Impacts of Climate Change programme briefly summarizes the latest climate science ahead of the COP 21 climate change negotiations taking place in Paris in December 2015.
A "Quaker Statement on Climate Change" has been signed by a large number of Quaker organizations, having been distributed to all Yearly Meetings across the world. The Statement recognizes the personal and collective responsibility to respond to anthropogenic climate change and calls for fair, sufficient and effective international action.
Read it by following the document link below.
The processes to towards two new international agreements, ‘global compacts’, on refugees and migrants are now well underway and as part of the consultation phases, anyone is welcome to submit written information relevant to with or both of the global compacts. We are aware that many Friends are involved in activities on these issues, but we do not have the full breadth and depth, so we encourage you to share your experiences of your work with refugees and migrants. The attached short document explains how you can submit information to the global compacts, and what sort of information would be most useful.
In this recently published paper in the Society for International Development (2017), QUNO’s Food & Sustainability Representative Susan H. Bragdon explores the two interlinked trends of using market-based solutions to end hunger and the weakening of the public sector in ensuring local and global food security. She argues that both of these phenomena play an important role in the creation of a modern food system that is harming the health of people and planet. Therefore, she calls upon governments to define and assert their appropriate roles in the protecting the public interest in food security and emphasizes the need for a revitalized public sector.
"The human security approach is instrumental to sustainable development, inclusive peace, justice and the well-being and dignity of all people and it is, in fact, central to the 2030 Agenda" - UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed
QUNO New York's Director, Andrew Tomlinson, delivered a statement at the UN High-Level Event on "Human Security and its Contribution to Agenda 2030" held on 7 July in New York. Organised by the UN Human Security Unit in close collaboration with the Friends of Human Security, the event provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences and best practices on how human security contributes towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals.
This high-level meeting was timely as the world currently faces multiple humanitarian crises, with over two million people displaced or living in conflict affected areas. The theme of the meeting emphasized resilient societies which are at the core of the 2030 agenda, promoting a world “free from poverty, hunger, disease and want”.
A number of UN actors and Member State representatives spoke on the panel, as well as Thera Boubacar from the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). QUNO also participated from the floor, as the only civil society organization formally requested to speak during the discussion. Mr. Tomlinson echoed the timeliness of the event, saying "agenda 2030, which all states have committed to, provides a roadmap, which is in line with the human security approach and supports resilience.” He took the opportunity to remind the room that the 2030 Agenda includes a commitment by all member states to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and that the biggest challenge being faced is uneven implementation. Additionally, he brought attention to the continued challenge of the shrinking of space for civil society working to advance these agendas.
In his statement, he noted that "We are at a critical point where precedents and patterns are being set," and called for all stakeholders to urgently recommit to the peace mandate within the 2030 Agenda, which provides a clear road map by which humanitarian and development objectives can be achieved.
QUNO's July 2017 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is now available online. The latest issue features: an update from our Human Rights & Refugees Representative on the new “global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration,” news about the inter-faith meetings QUNO helped to organize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a brief overview on our recent cross-cutting work on sustaining peace and climate change, and a QUNO Q&A with Carolan Redfearn.
Our New York office is happy to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring articles on our recent visit to the Middle East; QUNO's participation in the Women's March; reflections on Somali refugees, and more.
This paper presents examples of implementation, monitoring and accountability mechanisms under six multilateral agreements that we believe can be learnt from in considering how to achieve an effective global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration. The examples draw on a range of international agreements from different areas of policy and range from long-standing UN mechanisms to very recent agreements for which the specific means of implementation are still under negotiation. This paper hopes to assist stakeholders in considering some of the potential options for effective implementation of this new international agreement.
This paper is part of QUNO’s paper series, “Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” a set of contributions to the global compact on migration process. To access these papers, please see this section of our website.
On 19 June, the Quaker UN Representative for the Prevention of Violent Conflict Program, Rachel Madenyika, made a statement on behalf of the Civil Society - UN Prevention Platform. The event was attended by the Member States, UN actors, and Civil Society representatives. The Quaker UN Office was the only civil society organisation formally asked to speak at this event, organized by the UNDP-DPA Joint Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention (the Joint Programme), which works to develop and implement conflict prevention initiatives in 45 different countries.
The Committee on the Rights of the Child has provided interpretation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and guidance to States on the issue of children of incarcerated parents for over ten years. This briefing provides a short summary of the work it has done so far.
On a recent visit to Beirut, Andrew Tomlinson, Director of QUNO New York, was invited to offer some reflections on reconciliation to a group of experts engaged in regional humanitarian and development action.
The presentation emphasized that reconciliation is a multi-generational process, that it is applicable wherever there are divided societies (at any level of development), that it has as much to do with prevention as it does with post conflict recovery, with the future as much as the past. Furthermore, while reconciliation is intimately connected with structural issues of inclusion and social justice in the longer term, at any one point in time the key is often to identify practical and realistic actions that, while consistent with the longer term ends, can move ahead irrespective of the ebb and flow of the larger political dynamics, and that such approaches can usefully combine the application of a restorative lens to a wide range of humanitarian, development, and commercial actions.
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