Resources & Publications

This is a library of QUNO publications, newsletters, and statements. You can also explore these resources through their related Areas of Work or through this reference page of Recent Publications.

September 2016

Written Statement to WIPO IGC Session 31

FWCC/QUNO submitted a written statement to the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore at its 31st session. The statement, submitted on September 22, 2016, calls upon the IGC and those who take part in it to encourage the participation of small-scale farmers, whether or not they identify themselves as Indigenous. 

Read the statement by following the link below.

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September 2016

Contribution to Special Rapporteur John Knox's Report

On September 30, 2016, QUNO submitted a contribution to Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, John Knox’s upcoming report on biodiversity and human rights. In its contribution, QUNO focuses on the application of a human rights approach to agricultural biodiversity and calls upon Mr. Knox to consider including agricultural biodiversity in his report to be released in March 2017. 

Read the contribution by following the link below.

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August 2016

Climate justice and the use of human rights law in reducing greenhouse gas emissions

This report looks at how human rights obligations can help support policies which lead to more successful and just efforts to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions due to human activities. The report examines the relationship between human rights and climate change as conceptualized at the United Nations, and explores how human rights can be used to secure greater emissions reductions while also achieving climate justice.  

Author: 

  • David Elliott
  • Lindsey Fielder Cook

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July 2016

QUNO co-hosts high level meeting on Refugees, Migrants and the 2030 Agenda

On July 20, 2016, QUNO co-hosted a policy forum discussion with the International Peace Institute in New York , along with the governments of Finland, Germany, Mexico and Morocco,  entitled "Ensuring that no one is left behind: A High-Level Dialogue on Migration and Refugees", during the ministerial segment of the High Level Political Forum. At a time when the world is experiencing the largest movements of peoples in recorded history, the goal of the event was to connect the dots between the 2030 Agenda and the upcoming UN Summit in September that will address large movements of refugees and migrants.

Current UN discussions on displaced persons are fragmented, with separate silos for issues of refugees, migrants and internally displaced people, each with their own normative framing, organizational context and political sensitivities. The 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development provides a new framing, using the mandate for peaceful, just and inclusive societies, and the imperative to "leave no-one behind", to address the needs and perspectives of all those who have been forced to leave their homes, whether from violence and conflict, climate change, or economic necessity.

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June 2016

Farmers' Rights Consultation - Summary Report

This outcome document summarizes a consultation QUNO hosted, in conjunction with the secretariat of the International Treaty (ITPGRFA), examining progress and challenges in domestic implementation of Article 9 - the section on Farmers' Rights. This summary report was submitted to the Global Consultation on Farmers' Rights being held in September in Bali, Indonesia.

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June 2016

Inclusivity and the Implementation of Sustaining Peace

This document includes a summary and recommendations from an informal discussion organized by the New York Peacebuilding Group between member states, UN experts, and civil society actors at Quaker House in New York focused on the implementation of the joint General Assembly and Security Council resolutions on the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture.

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June 2016

Transitions, Inclusion and Opportunities in the new UN Peacebuilding Landscape

This document summarizes the remarks made by QUNO during the 2016 annual session of the UN's Peacebuilding Commission, which focused on Transitions as a challenge to consolidating peace and security: The role of the PBC in diplomacy and political accompaniment.

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June 2016

Policy brief: The relationship between intellectual property rights and small-scale farmer innovation

The relationship between intellectual property (IP) and small-scale farmer innovation is far from straightforward. The majority of innovation in agriculture is not driven by the promise of exclusionary rights that some IP tools afford — it takes place on the farm and is a collaborative and incremental process, the outcomes of which cannot be attributed to individual rights holders.

However some IP tools – when carefully selected and adapted to suit domestic circumstances – may have the potential to help drive small-scale farmer innovation or, at minimum, allow the space for it to occur unimpeded.

This paper discusses how alternative or sui generis plant variety protection systems, collective and certification trademarks, and geographical indications may encourage on-farm innovation.

On the other hand, IP tools that are more conventionally believed to incentivise innovation in agriculture (i.e. patents, UPOV-style plant variety protection systems, and less commonly trade secrets) have the potential to impede on-farm innovation.

Policy makers at the national level should take into account the value of small-scale farmer innovation for national and global food security when developing national food security strategies, and take advantage of the flexibilities allowed under the WTO TRIPS Agreement when implementing IP legislation that reflects the realities of domestic agricultural sectors.

Languages: 

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June 2016

In & Around the UN, June 2016

QUNO New York is excited to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring the following articles by our staff:

  • What's Next in Peacebuilding?
  • Letter from the New York Director
  • Pastor Elie's Visit to New York
  • Putting Prevention Back on the UN's Agenda
  • ​Updates from the Geneva Office
  • Closer Cooperation between the UN and Regional and Sub-regional Organizations
  • QUNO-AFSC Bring the Perspectives of Chinese Scholars to the UN
  • Celebrating the Work of Quakers at the UN

Countries / Regions: 

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May 2016

International Peace and Security - how human rights can help

In February 2016, QUNO Geneva and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) hosted an expert meeting on integrating human rights, peacebuilding and prevention of violent conflict within the United Nations systems.

The meeting addressed the following questions:

  • What advantages would it bring for UN work on peace and security to draw on existing human rights resources to increase effectiveness in peacebuilding and prevention of violent conflict?
  • What have been the consequences of the failure to work on the links between human rights and sustaining peace?
  • What are the pragmatic steps that could be taken within existing resources in UN institutions that would increase effectiveness, particularly of prevention of violent conflict?

This discussion took place in advance of the UN High-Level Debate on International Peace and Security, held in New York on 10-11 May 2016. The two-page briefing handout included below summarises the key points which were raised at the meeting. 

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April 2016

Access to seeds: lessons from the access to medicines debate

The history and dynamics of the access to medicines debate provide a number of reflections for those concerned with protecting farmers’ access to seeds. Taking the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health as its point of departure, this paper explores implications for interested parties at the international and national levels, as well as for multilateral institutions themselves.

Three lessons stand out in particular.

  1. The process that led to the Declaration highlights the significance of global public opinion in shaping negotiations, as well as the value of combining this with pragmatic coalition-building amongst states, NGOs and the media.
  2. Domestically, national governments should make creative use of TRIPS flexibilities. This has been done to bring down the cost of medicines in numerous countries and should be emulated by governments wishing to protect farmers’ seed systems, which rely on experimentation, storage, exchange and re-use of seeds. ‘Access’ in this paper is taken to encompass these activities, rather than simply referring to the availability of new varieties developed by commercial breeders.
  3. There is an urgent need for sustained, productive collaboration between relevant multilateral institutions. Collaboration between the WHO, WTO and WIPO on access to medicines has facilitated a broader consideration of innovation. Similar engagement is necessary between the FAO, WTO, WIPO and others to clarify the complicated governance structure for plant genetic resources and ensure farmers’ continued access to seed.

Freely available for download below under Creative Commons license.

Author: 

  • Patrick Endall

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April 2016

The Paris Climate Change Agreement: the most critical work begins now

Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, reflects on the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement.

Over the course of three years leading up to COP21, QUNO engaged in quiet diplomacy at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), offering delegates a more 'human' space in what could seem at times like an inhuman environment.

The report, available below, offers insight into this process, thoughts on the Agreement itself and a vision for what might lie ahead.

The most critical work begins now.

Author: 

  • Lindsey Fielder Cook

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April 2016

Remarks by Andrew Tomlinson at the 2016 Holley Lecture in Applied Ethics

On April 26, 2016, Andrew Tomlinson gave the 2016 Holley Lecture in Applied Ethics at Bloomfield College, New Jersey, entitled "Every country my country, and every man my brother: Values and transformation in international policy settings". 

The QUNO New York Director made the point that values can provide an effective and legitimate approach to international policy work, that progress is often made through engaging with the inconsistencies in the values that people hold, and that that fostering values-based change requires us to develop different strategies that (for us) include listening, reaching out, making connections to real peoples’ lives and creating safe spaces for new ideas to emerge.

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February 2016

Statement on Peacebuilding perspectives on Religion, Violence and Extremism

In the midst of UN discussions on the Secretary-General's recent Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism (PVE), QUNO co-hosted the launch of three reports by Saferworld on counter-terrorism, stabilisation and statebuilding in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen. A packed room of Member States, UN officials, think tanks and NGOs engaged with multiple panels of speakers, including experts on PVE and the regions concerned, as well as UN representatives. 

These are QUNO's remarks.

Countries / Regions: 

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December 2015

Policy Brief: Small-scale farmer innovation

This policy brief consolidates lessons learned from an in-depth literature review on small-scale farmer (SSF) innovation systems and a two-day expert consultation on the same topic that QUNO hosted in May 2015. 

The key message here is that small-scale farmer innovation systems are unique relative to more ‘formal’ agricultural innovation systems. For this reason, the types of policies that are put in place to encourage innovation in agriculture require a fundamental reconsideration.

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December 2015

Policy Brief: The relationship between food security policy measures and WTO trade rules

This report first provides a historical overview of both the concept of food security and the incorporation of agriculture into international trade negotiations. It then turns to the relationship between food security policy options and the WTO’s trade rules, and highlights opportunities for governments to implement policies that support food security while meeting their international obligations. It concludes by laying out a range of policy measures to enhance food security, assessing the compatibility of each with WTO regulations. 

Prepared by David Elliott, based on a full-length report by Kim Burnett, available below. 

Languages: 

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December 2015

Geneva Reporter, December 2015

In this issue:

  • ​Nelson Mandela Rules ​
  • Conflict Sensitivity in Business 
  • ​Highlights from QUNO New York 
  • ​Recent publications
  • QUNO Q&A with Rachel Evans 
  • News in Brief 
  • Project Brief: An interactive trade policy tool 

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