Timeline

August 2015

Realizing the right to food in an era of climate change

Agriculture is a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change, and in turn climate change threatens the viability of food production around the world. The spread of capital- and technology-intensive 'industrial' agriculture in the modern era has been accompanied by an erosion of on-farm genetic diversity, a loss of local knowledge, and the abandonment of traditional farming practices. This undermines our capacity to
adapt to already-changing climatic conditions.

This report highlights the role of small-scale farmers as innovators and custodians of food system diversity, a critical resource in ensuring the realization of the right to food in an era of climate change. Taking an innovation systems perspective, it proposes a new framework for the design of collaborative agricultural research projects and agendas, and notes the need for pro-active policy measures in creating an enabling environment for such partnerships.

The report is available for download free by clicking on the link below.

Author: 

  • Chelsea Smith
  • David Elliott
  • Susan H. Bragdon

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August 2015

Peace and Post-2015: What's Now?

In August QUNO New York hosted an informal civil society strategy session at Quaker House to discuss the next steps for peace issues within the soon-to be adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Primarily focusing on Goal 16 - Promoting Peaceful and Inclusive Societies - civil society representatives, as well as selected member state representatives and UN officials, discussed an array of next steps concerning the implementation, measurement, and communication of the agenda. 

The session additionally addressed the importance of forming partnerships across the wider peace community and explored possible linkages with other major processes at the UN, including the Peacebuilding Architecture review, the Peace Operations review, the World Humanitarian Summit, and the UN Plan of Action on Preventing Violent Extremism. 

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July 2015

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

QUNO's Geneva Reporter newsletter is now available for download. The latest issue features updates on our work at the ongoing international climate change negotiations, details about a new publication from our Natural Resources, Conflict and Cooperation programme, a summary of our small-scale farmer innovation consultation, and a dispatch from the Prisoner's Families Conference children of prisoners. This issue also include the first QUNO Q&A, a new regular feature in which we catch up with QUNO Geneva alumni and past summer school participants. The full publication is available for download below.

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Event of Note
July 2015

Arria-Formula Meeting on Gaza

For the first time since 1997 and just the second time ever, the Security Council held an Arria-Formula meeting focusing specifically on the issue of Palestine. Co-sponsored by the Permanent missions’ of Malaysia and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, with assistance from the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group, the meeting: "Reflections One Year Later and Charting a New Course for Gaza" featured briefings from speakers from civil society and academia, and was well attended by Council members and the UN community alike. 
 
Security Council member states were largely represented at the highest level, and were constructive in their response to the four speakers' testimonies.  Many member states welcomed the convening of the Arria-Formula Event, and issued their support for new Security Council initiatives that might arise. There was a general agreement that the current situation in Gaza is unsustainable and must be alleviated, with interventions focusing on the need to lift the blockade, for donor's to fulfil aid pledges, and for actors to ensure that steps are taken to prevent future hostilities.
 
QUNO has been an active member of the Israel-Palestine NGO Working Group since its founding in 1999. The working group is a coalition of organizations that have meet to share information and advocate for a just peace in Israel and Palestine.

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July 2015

QUNO Presents at Beijing 70th UN Anniversary Event

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson was invited by the UN Association of China to be a plenary speaker at a Beijing event celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations. Quakers have had a long association with China, and this was an occasion to renew old acquaintances and make some new contacts.

QUNO's presentation, "The UN’s role in maintaining international order: preventing violent conflict and fostering peaceful and inclusive societies", which calls for using a prevention lens across development, humanitarian assistance, economic and security activities, was well received.

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July 2015

QUNO interviewed for ACUNS podcast on peace and post-2015

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson was interviewed by the Academic Council on the UN System (ACUNS) for their "Current Issues" podcast series, where he discussed his recent article, Peace and Post-2015: Into the Home Stretch, which is focused on Sustainable Development Goal 16: “Promote peaceful and inclusive institutions at all levels.”

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July 2015

QUNO co-organizes Beijing workshop on UN Peace Practices

QUNO New York, together with the United Nations Association of China (UNA-China), the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and the Conflict Prevention and Peace Forum (CPPF) jointly held a workshop entitled “Emerging Views on Global Peace Practice: New Directions in UN Peace Operations at the Occasion of the 70th Anniversary” in Beijing. The workshop brought together Chinese academics, civil society practitioners, and experts from Africa, Europe, and the United Nations to discuss current UN peace strategies and practices. The participants actively engaged in discussions over the current reviews of the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture and Peace Operations, shared various country-focused experiences, and held an inspiring dialogue on gender perspectives in peace endeavours. More broadly, the workshop provided an opportunity for exchanging perspectives and promoting better understanding among Chinese, Western, African, and UN-based experts on UN peace operations and peacebuilding practices.

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July 2015

QUNO co-hosts discussion on the transition from conflict to development

QUNO New York, together with Club de Madrid, as part of their Shared Societies project, co-hosted an informal conversation at Quaker House with Mr. Abdurrahim El Keib, former Prime Minister of Libya and Mr. Zlatko Lagumdzija, former Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting focused on the importance of connecting high-level policy discussions to the realities of countries in transition, and that well-thought out mechanisms to support political inclusion are vital components to consolidating development and progress in a post-conflict context.

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June 2015

UNRWA at 65: Overcoming Hardship and Sustaining Hope

Following a High Level UN Conference to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Quaker House hosted an Israel Palestine NGO Working Group meeting with UNRWA titled "Overcoming Hardship and Sustaining Hope.” The meeting featured five Palestine refugees from the West Bank, Gaza, and Syria who traveled to New York City to share their stories with the UN community. 

There was an added poignancy to the meeting as QUNO’s sister organization, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), preceded UNRWA as the UN mandated organization to coordinate relief efforts to Palestinian refugees. On the 65th anniversary of this transfer, a packed room listened to the testimonies of each speaker, to reflect and further ideas to continue to advocate for a just and durable peace in Israel and Palestine. 

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June 2015

Funding for Peace: Lessons Learned

The Quaker United Nations Office and the NYU Center on International Cooperation (CIC) hosted an informal discussion at Quaker House on lessons learned in funding for peace. The event involved representatives from the UN, Member States and civil society, and sought to identify how such lessons might be reflected in the outcome document, the Addis Ababa Accord, of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in July 2015. 

Many participants noted the imperative need to provide mechanisms to fund the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies. Funding Goal 16 will be critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and will require flexible, risk-tolerant and coordinated approaches that will promote resilience by addressing the root causes of violence and instability, reducing humanitarian need and building institutions in a sustainable and inclusive manner. 

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June 2015

QUNO launches new report with GPPAC on civil society inclusion in UN peacebuilding

QUNO hosted a series of discussions at Quaker House in New York to launch a new report by QUNO and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) entitled Filling the Gap: How civil society engagement can help the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture meet its purpose. The report is a contribution to the 2015 review of the UN's Peacebuilding Architecture and includes concrete recommendations for how the UN can improve the way in which it collaborates with civil society on peacebuilding, both in New York and in country. In the launch events, the two co-authors from QUNO and GPPAC were joined by local researchers from Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Liberia, who shared their experiences with peacebuilding and conflict prevention in their own countries.

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June 2015

QUNO co-hosts "Moving away from the Death Penalty" side event at the 29th session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO will co-host the side event "Moving away from the Death Penalty: Protection of the rights of persons facing death penalty abroad, including migrants" at the 29th Session of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday, 17 June 2015 at 11am.

The side-event will provide a platform for the exchange of information and views on persons who face the death penalty aboard, including migrant workers; and to share good practices, lesson learned and challenges in the implementation of relevant international human rights standards. 

Further details on the event and panelists can be found in the flyer available below.

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June 2015

QUNO co-hosts panel event on promoting conflict sensitive business practice

QUNO and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform and hosted "Promoting conflict sensitive business practice - Reflections on experience," a lunch-time panel discussion on civil society efforts to engage business on the impacts of investment on conflict and changing approaches of Northeast Asian business stakeholders, particularly from China. 

The event was moderated by Diane Hendrick, QUNO's Representative for Peace and Disarmament, and speakers included Jason Tower, a Quaker International Affairs Representative in Beijing, and Andreas Graf, Program Officer with swisspeace.

Further details on the event are available in the PDF document below.

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June 2015

QUNO presents at WIPO seminar on Intellectual Property Rights, Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Traditional Cultural Expressions

The issue of genetic resources or traditional knowledge that are shared among different countries was discussed at a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) seminar last week. The seminar took place from 23-25 June at WIPO headquarters in Geneva. Susan Bragdon, QUNO's Food and Sustainability Representative, was asked to talk about other international legal instruments that relate to genetic resources and intellectual property, in particular to discuss the story behind the treaties; how they came to be, what they say and the challenges presented by the regime complex.

The panel was webcast live and can be viewed at the below URL. Susan’s talk can by selecting the afternoon session of 24 June. She is the first speaker after the moderator’s introduction. 

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May 2015

QUNO goes to Washington: Alliance for Peacebuilding Conference Meetings

QUNO New York Director Andrew Tomlinson participated in the Alliance for Peacebuilding 2015 Annual Conference, Peacebuilding and Democracy in a Turbulent World, to provide a UN perspective on peace and development issues, including leading a group discussion as part of a session on the State of the Peacebuilding Field. QUNO has sought to reinforce links between peacebuilding policy discussions at the UN and other policy centers, such as Washington DC. 

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May 2015

UNITAR Seminar: "The Nexus of Reconciliation and Peacebuilding"

In May, QUNO New York Director, Andrew Tomlinson, spoke during a UNITAR Seminar for mid-level UN Diplomats, on the subject of "The Nexus of Reconciliation and Peacebuilding." The Seminar which aimed to familiarize the participants with the principles of reconciliation as a process for peacebuilding, was well attended by representatives from many member state missions. 

The presentation during the session stressed that "Reconciliation can be usefully viewed as the process of transforming relationships in divided societies. 
It is a multi-generational process, applicable at any level of development, whether societies are marked by violent conflict or not." 

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May 2015

QUNO co-hosts side event at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna

QUNO, together with Friends World Committee for Consultation and Penal Reform International, hosted a side event at the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna on Friday, 22 May 2015. The event presented an opportunity for further discussion following the presentation to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice​ (CCPCJ) of the ninth quinquennial report of the UN Secretary-General on "Capital punishment and implementation of the safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty." Further details are available in the flyer below. 

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May 2015

QUNO supports peace and reconciliation in Burundi

QUNO New York, along with nine other Quaker organisations, have jointly issued a statement on Burundi entitled "Standing for Peace and Reconciliation." This statement draws attention to the current crisis in the country, highlights the important work of Friends in Burundi on trauma healing, reconciliation, and violence prevention, and lifts up the views of Burundian Friends on the need for a political resolution to the crisis, on the importance of dialogue, and that true peacebuilding is a process that needs support in the long-term. 

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May 2015

Negotiations on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration

QUNO Geneva have produced a new publication that focuses on the potential of environmental rights agreements to prevent destructive conflict around natural resources. “Building Peace through Principle 10, Access rights and the prevention of environmental conflict”, is a contribution to the ongoing negotiations to conclude a regional agreement for Latin America and the Caribbean on the right to information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice, in environmental matters. It uses case studies from the region to illustrate how public participation in decision-making around natural resources contributes not only to sustainable but also to peaceful and equitable development. This publication was sent personally to each of the country delegates, and civil society representatives, to the negotiations in Santiago de Chile.

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May 2015

QUNO holds first expert consultation on small-scale farmer innovation

From the 26th – 27th May, QUNO held its first expert consultation on small-scale farmer innovation in biodiverse food systems. 16 professionals, including academics, development practitioners, civil society actors, small-scale farmers and UN officials, from 12 different countries (such as Peru, Zimbabwe, China and Sri Lanka) attended the consultation, which took place at the Château de Bossey near Geneva. For one participant, a Kenyan farmer-innovator, the trip represented his first time outside of Africa.

The consultation, similar in form to those QUNO has held for its agricultural trade and investment work strand, sought to move beyond QUNO’s traditional focus on intellectual property to get to the heart of on-farm innovation. What drives small-scale farmers to innovate? What can impede them? What role can public policy play in developing a supportive environment for such innovation? The discussion yielded a variety of proposals for potential ways forward, both for QUNO and the group as a whole.

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