Timeline

November 2016

Another Successful meeting by the CSO-UN Prevention Platform

QUNO is a part of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which recently concluded an extensive mapping exercise within the UN system to gain a better understanding of how different UN agencies and departments in New York conceptualize prevention. The mapping exercise included: identifying what prevention tools are available and lacking; pinpointing keys to success or failure; noting how to improve communication between UN Headquarters and the field and foster more coordinated analysis; determining the main obstacles to UN-civil society cooperation and how to overcome fragmentation within the system. As a follow up to the mapping, the Prevention Platform held the first of three meetings in October which looked at the different UN actors' perspectives, approaches, etc. on prevention more broadly. Most recently, the Prevention Platform held its second discussion focusing on 'Civil society perspectives on obstacles and opportunities to better support the UN's work on prevention' at Quaker House. 

The Civil Society UN Prevention Platform aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations (CSOs) and the UN at all levels, in particular through close collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs. The platform seeks to identify concrete, practical steps to enhance the UN and CSO's collective capacity to carry out preventive work, through sharing examples of best practices, identifying areas of potential collaboration on thematic issues and country cases, and supporting UN efforts to bridge early warning and early action. The platform considers conflict prevention broadly as encompassing inclusive activities aimed at addressing the root causes of conflict and supporting societies in preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, at both a structural and an operational level.

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November 2016

QUNO Attends 32nd IGC on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore at WIPO

On November 28, 2016, QUNO attended the opening day of the 32nd session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva. Some of the issues to be discussed during this week-long meeting will be around the development of an international legal framework to protect traditional knowledge, genetic resources and traditional cultural expressions. Member states will continue the negotiations around policy objectives, beneficiaries, scope of protection, rights holders, transparency, incorporation of customary law and complementary measures with the goal of narrowing the existing gaps on core issues.

Prior to today’s session, we also attended the Seminar on Intellectual Property and Traditional Knowledge (November 24-25), during which indigenous peoples and people from local communities from all around the world discussed, among other issues, the importance of the distinction between ‘sacred and secret and narrowly and widely diffused traditional knowledge’. The diverse set of speakers of the seminar included intellectual property attorneys, a member of the Maasai People of Kenya, and a member of the Kichwa/Kayambi Peoples of Ecuador, among others.

QUNO welcomed the opportunity to be part of both events and is looking forward to the outcomes of the sessions. QUNO supports the statements made by the Indigenous Caucus this morning to call on member states to continuously support the existence of the voluntary fund. This fund is essential in ensuring the participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in these negotiations, which in turn speaks for the legitimacy and credibility of the instrument to be developed. 

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November 2016

Putting human rights at the heart of the new UN refugee and migrant agenda

At today’s briefing meeting by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, human rights were championed as vital elements in the new global agenda on refugees and migration.

Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, stated during the event, that this discussion must not be “of whether or not human rights apply – but a discussion of how human rights are to be upheld.”

The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants adopted in New York on 19th September sets in motion a series of processes at the UN level which aim to improve global governance of large movements of people across borders. The most significant processes will involve a UNHCR-led, practical framework for refugees (a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework leading to a Global Compact on refugees) and a State-led process to improve migration governance (leading to a Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration).

QUNO sees this as an opportunity to develop a more rights-respecting global framework for protecting refugees and migrants. Whilst the New York Declaration includes a wealth of human rights language, our key concern now is making sure that in the processes that emerge, the attention given to human rights is more than just lip-service.

This is why QUNO is seeking to contribute to this discussion. In particular, we would like to see:

  • The human rights of all people, regardless of circumstance, as a key message during the development of the Compacts and that this focus is grounded in existing international human rights law.
  • The Human Rights Council and other human rights mechanisms and expertise are utilised effectively to make substantive contributions to the development of the Global Compacts and to ensure their implementation. 
  • Civil society, including migrants and refugees themselves, are given a central role throughout the processes.

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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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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

QUNO co-hosted event to discuss inequality as a danger to sustainable peace

On the 11th November QUNO co-organised an event with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). This event was part of on-going collaborative work with FES that aims to link human rights and sustaining peace approaches in the work of the United Nations.  Patricia Justino of the Institute of Development Studies presented her research using econometric data to explore the potential of social, political and economic inequalities as drivers of destructive conflict and Stefania Tripodi of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human rights (OHCHR) discussed research on economic, social and cultural rights and early warning of conflict. A political perspective was provided by Andreas Schieder, Head of the Social Democratic Party in the Austrian parliament.

QUNOs Peace and Disarmament Representative Diane Hendrick, introduced this discussion by explaining the meaning and significance of the term “sustaining peace” that has emerged at the UN out of the review of the Peacebuilding Architecture in 2015. This terminology is important as it recognizes the central role of peacebuilding in all the UN’s work, the fact that peacebuilding needs to take place before during and after destructive conflict and that the emphasis should be on preventative work. Diane underlined the necessity to integrate peacebuilding, human rights and development approaches, making use of relevant targets within the SDGs, in order to sustain peace and promote sustainable development.

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November 2016

QUNO moderates for the FAO Event on Peace and Food Security

During Geneva Peace Week, QUNO representative Diane Hendrick moderated an event for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on “Contributions to peacebuilding and prevention:  Agriculture and food security perspectives”. The event was an opportunity to for participants with peacebuilding and/or agricultural backgrounds to explore the linkages between agriculture and food security and sustainable peace, which largely remain as separate areas of work.

The panelists discussed the linkages between sustaining peace, food security and agriculture at both system level and on the ground bringing an example of FAO work in South Sudan. The discussion highlighted the importance of protecting and investing in rural livelihoods and sustainable food security before, during and after conflict as this can play an important role in peacebuilding processes.

Below are links to relevant FAO publications. The GreeNTD document illustrates the FAO’s practical work in improving resilience of livelihoods and land disputes in DRC, and the Peace and Food Security paper provides a broader understanding of investing in agriculture for sustainable peace with interesting facts.

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November 2016

An Insight on Geneva Peace Week 2016

Geneva Peace Week, which was held from the 7th to the 11th November, is a collective initiative facilitated by the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform in collaboration the Swiss Confederation.

This week-long event underlined that each and every person and institution has a role to play in building peace and highlighted that peace promotion occurs in many different contexts and cuts across disciplines and sectors. In this sense, Geneva Peace Week is an attempt to break down the divisions which tend to characterize the international community and can limit more creative responses.

This was an exciting week for QUNO, as we co-organised and participated in a number of events, including the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform Annual Conference, which this year focused on the war economy in Syria and the necessity to address these political economy aspects of the conflict as part of the process of peacemaking and peacebuilding. It was a week of engagement and opportunity for QUNO and other non-governmental-organizations, UN agencies and academic and research institutions that connected with each other and shared ideas about good practices in sustaining peace and prevention in relation to other areas of work such as business, human rights, food security etc. 

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November 2016

QUNO Co-Hosted COP22 Side Event: Trust and Peacebuilding Approaches for Ambitious Climate Action

Recording of side event


On 18th November in Marrakesh, QUNO co-hosted a side event at the COP 22 entitled ‘Trust and peacebuilding approaches for ambitious climate action’.  Panelists described how "rights-based" and "transitional justice" approaches, alongside faith based and ethical perspectives, can address challenges as complex as historically rooted justice conflict, natural resource management, and ecologicial, humanitarian and spiritual crises exacerbated by climate change.  

QUNO Geneva Director, Jonathan Woolley, moderated the event and the Representative for Climate Change, Lindsey Fielder Cook, explored how rights-based approaches in climate action and help build trust in and support of climate action, while peacebuilding approaches can help ensure increased stress over natural resource do not lead to violent conflict. The event was livestreamed by the UNFCCC Secretariat and can be heard through the video link provided.

In addition, QUNO supported GreenFaith in drafting an interfaith statement signed by over 298 eminent faith leaders from 50 countries and an op-ed by FWCC was published in the Thomas Reuters Foundation News. Links to access these can be found below.

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November 2016

QUNO hosted consultation on the role of governments in supporting small-scale farmers and and agricultural biodiversity

QUNO hosted an expert consultation on the role of governments in supporting small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity on November 6-8. In this excerpt from the latest Geneva Reporter newsletter, our Food & Sustainability Representative Susan Bragdon discusses the event.

 

Can you tell our readers about your upcoming event? Who will be participating? 

We are bringing together small-scale farmer organizations, economists and experts in public administration—people who don’t commonly sit at the same table—to discuss the role of governments in supporting small-scale farmers, agricultural biological diversity and ensuring the long-term food security of their populations. We will have small-scale farmers from Bolivia, Cuba, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines, Senegal and Zimbabwe in attendance. We have an economist from India who has been exploring these issues around health and agriculture for a couple of decades. We will have experts in public administration, in food system policy and in public-private partnerships. This wonderful mix of disciplines and geographies should yield interesting insights and results. 

What are your expectations for the consultation? 

This consultation is an attempt to challenge the dominant narrative that orients us to markets. We’re going to develop a strategy for raising awareness among national and international policy makers of the importance of small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity, and develop tools for helping governments determine what their roles should be in ensuring food security. Of course, every country is different and food security strategies must be tailored accordingly. This consultation is just the start. We need to keep this conversation going—asking critical questions and bringing together different perspectives—with the long term objective of achieving more just and sustainable food systems. 

We thank all the participants for joining us in this event and are looking forward to moving these discussions along. Next step will be the release of an agreed upon statement on the actions we think government should take in support of small-scale farmers and agricultural biodiversity.

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November 2016

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO's November 2016 issue of the Geneva Reporter newsletter is now available online. The latest issue features: an interview with our Food & Sustainability Representative on her upcoming expert consultation on the role of governments in supporting small-scale farmers and ensuring food security, a report on the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, news about our inequality side-event during Geneva Peace Week, and a QUNO Q&A  with 2016 Geneva Summer School participant Ayah Abubasheer.

The newsletter also includes a one-page insert featuring QUNO's perspective on the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The full publication is available below.

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October 2016

"Making peace with the past: transforming broken relationships" publication launch

The Quaker United Nations Office, together with Conciliation Resources and the Delegation of the European Union to the UN, hosted a successful launch of the third Accord publication, "Making peace with the past: transforming broken relationships." The event involved representatives from the UN, Member States and civil society. 

The publication reflects on practical approaches and challenges of addressing the legacies of violent conflict, including various activities intended to promote reconciliation, support justice and dealing with the past focusing a four country cases,  Georgia, Columbia, Philippines and Northern Ireland and stresses the value of reconciliation at the fore front in peace processes. 

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October 2016

QUNO Attended Symposium on UPOV and ITPGRFA

On October 26, 2016, QUNO attended a joint symposium on possible interrelations between the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV Convention). 

The issue of interrelations between the ITPGRFA and the UPOV Conventions in the context of Farmers’ Rights was raised at the ITPGRFA Governing Body in 2013 in Oman. Resolution 8/2013 on “Implementation of Article 9, Farmers’ Rights” requested the Treaty Secretariat “to invite UPOV and WIPO to jointly identify possible areas of interrelations among their respective international instruments”. This was in response to concerns that the activities of UPOV and WIPO undermine implementation of Article 9 of the ITPGRFA, which concerns “Farmers’ Rights. One key concern is that UPOV, in particular its Act of 1991, places severe restrictions on the right of farmers to save, use, exchange and sell seeds.

QUNO attended this symposium with a special interest in the discussion on reconciling farmers and plant breeders rights and on strengthening farmers’ seeds systems. Farmers' seed systems provide more than 80 percent of the total food crop seeds used by farmers. In other words, seed security leads to food security. These systems are also the main channel through which small-scale farmers can access new improved variety of seeds from the formal section. 

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October 2016

QUNO Co-Hosted Side Event at Committee on World Food Security in Rome

On October 20, 2016, QUNO and the Swiss Agency for Development and Coordination (SDC) co-hosted a panel discussion on Who Will and How Will We Feed Humanity at the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 43 in Rome. The co-head of SDC’s global food security program, Manuel Flury, opened the side event. It was the first time in the agency’s history that the SDC co-hosted a side event at CFS with a Civil Society Organization (CSO). The panel speakers included Pat Mooney (ETC), Nichola Dyer (GAFSP), Juan Gonzalez-Valero (Syngenta), Netty Wiebe of La Via Campesina and Susan Bragdon as a moderator.

The panelists were asked to discuss two countries A and B based on previously sent out key characteristics. The two questions that guided the discussion were how their organizations would contribute to the food security situation in each country and what they believed the role of the public sector was in each of the country in terms of ensuring food and nutrition security. The event was very well received and several people commented on the diverse panel that provided for an excellent opportunity to bring together different actors to discuss their perspectives. 

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October 2016

Sustaining Peace

QUNO hosted a meeting for the Group of Friends of Sustaining Peace, chaired by the Permanent Mission of Mexico.

The sustaining peace agenda is the outcome of a landmark UN agreement (resolution 2282, below), which takes a wider view of the roles peacebuilding and prevention of violent conflict activities will play moving forward. 

The preamble of the dual resolution defines sustaining peace as encompassing "activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict, addressing root causes, assisting parties to conflict to end hostilities, ensuring national reconciliation, and moving towards recovery, reconstruction and development.”

This new concept has the potential to fundamentally reorient how the UN conducts its efforts to sustain peace, because it demands a UN system which is coherent in its organization, practices sustained engagement and coordination in interventions and aims to accomplish the spirit of the UN Charter.

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October 2016

In & Around the UN - New York's quarterly Newsletter

Our New York office is pleased to share our newest Newsletter, In & Around the UN, featuring articles on the new UN Secretary General, integrating human rights and sustaining peace, the new global framework for peace and more.

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October 2016

QUNO to Co-Host Side Event at Committee on World Food Security in Rome

On the occasion of the CFS 43 in Rome next week, QUNO will co-host a side event with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The side event is entitled ‘Who Will and How Will We Feed Humanity’ and will be moderated by QUNO’s Food and Sustainability representative Susan Bragdon.

A panel of four speakers, representing the private sector, civil society and farmers, will be trying to find complementarity between contrasting approaches to achieving food security and nutrition. Discussions around how to achieve food security and nutrition and the related targets of Agenda 2030 are often polarized — and charged. How core challenges are framed, often rooted in a particular ideology or perspective, lead to different and sometimes contrasting approaches to solving them. Discussions on the role of trade and the value of on-farm innovation and biodiversity will be enriched as a result and lead to practical outcomes.

Panelists will describe how their organizations contribute to the food security of hypothetical nations, how their interventions articulate with one another, and identify appropriate roles for governments. The side-event will be opened by Manuel Flury, Co-Head of the Global Programme Food Security at the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

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October 2016

QUNO Submits Contribution to Special Rapporteur on Human Rights & the Environment

Following up on a public consultation on Biodiversity and Human Rights at the 33rd session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO submitted a contribution to Special Rapporteur John Knox’s upcoming report on biodiversity and human rights.

The contribution focuses on the application of a human rights approach to agricultural biodiversity. QUNO finds the latter to be a critical subset of biodiversity, upon which all of humanity depends. Small-scale farmers are the active managers and developers of the majority of this diversity worldwide. QUNO believes that a human rights interpretation of agricultural biodiversity may encourage States to proactively develop legislation, programs and policies that are supportive of small-scale farmers.

QUNO therefore calls upon Mr. Knox to consider including agricultural biodiversity in his report on human rights obligations as they relate to the protection of biological diversity and ecosystems to be released in March 2017.

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September 2016

QUNO Attends WTO Public Forum 2016 on Inclusive Trade

During the last week of September 2016, QUNO attended the WTO Public Forum on Inclusive Trade. Throughout various plenary sessions and side events, QUNO followed the discussions on how to enable a wider range of individuals and businesses to participate in the trading systems and how WTO rules can help to ensure everyone benefits from trade. In particular, QUNO paid close attention to the panel discussions on the roles of agriculture and small scale farmers in today’s global trading system. 

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September 2016

5 years of progress on the children of incarcerated parents: launch of a new resource

To mark five years since the Committee on the Rights of the Child held a Day of General Discussion (DGD) on Children of Incarcerated Parents, Child Rights Connect’s Working Group on this issue is launching a new database of relevant recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. As convenor of Child Rights Connect’s Working Group, QUNO has complied this database to highlight what has been achieved since the DGD, and to encourage further progress in protecting the rights of these children around the world.

The 2011 DGD was an important moment in raising the issue of children incarcerated parents within the UN human rights system. Since then, the issue has been reflected in a Human Rights Council resolutions, advanced in national policy and practice and been the subject of important research projects, with advocacy efforts coordinated by newly developed regional networks.

This resource is the latest development in efforts to raise the profile of this often overlooked group. It enables Committee Members, States and civil society to browse the Concluding Observations made by the Committee to States regarding their treatment of children of incarcerated parents. The Concluding Observations can be searched by State, year, Committee session, UN document reference or keywords. 

We hope that the resource will encourage further recognition of this issue in international policy, leading to better protection of these children’s rights.

The database can be found at www.crccip.com

We also marked the five-year anniversary of the DGD by delivering an oral statement to the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council on children of incarcerated parents. Please see here for details of the statement.

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