Timeline

Human Impacts of Climate Change

QUNO views climate change as an environmental, political and economic challenge that interconnects with its work on peace and justice issues. We seek to highlight the human impacts of climate change at a time when communities worldwide are experiencing its consequences, yet man made greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) continue to rise at dangerous rates.
September 2017

QUNO attends 46th Session of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Lindsey Fielder Cook

Under the Friends World Committee for Consultation, QUNO is now an accredited observer of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This official observer status enables us to nominate authors and engage in the development of IPCC Reports, which provide decision makers worldwide with the most extensive collection of climate science research.

QUNO prioritizes inclusion of research on climate justice and sustainable behavior/economic systems in addressing the root causes of anthropogenic climate change. During the 46th Session of the IPCC, held in Montreal Canada from 6-10 September, QUNO encouraged research on the role of lifestyle/behavior/consumption change, sustainable economies in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.

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July 2017

QUNO participation at YMG 2017 in Warwick

QUNO is excited to join Friends this coming week at Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG) 2017 in Warwick. YMG is a week-long event held every three years by Quakers in Britain, that brings together Quakers, friends and families for an exciting week of community and movement-building. QUNO will be represented at YMG by Lindsey Fielder Cook, Andrew Tomlinson, Laurel Townhead and Jonathan Woolley, and will be participating in four workshops, as well as both nights of the Groups Fair. 

You can find us and add our events to your itinerary by searching for "Quaker United Nations Office" at quaker.org.uk/ym/timetable, or you can download the complete list of our #YMG2017 activities below.

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July 2017

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

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.

The full publication is available below.

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May 2017

QUNO co-hosted a side event at the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference

On the opening day of the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference (SB46) in Bonn, QUNO co-hosted a side event titled, ‘A Negotiator's tool kit: Engaging Ministries with effective arguments for urgent climate action’.  The event, co-hosted with DeMontfort University, Newcastle University and the Brahma Kumaris, with our Human Impacts of Climate Change Representative, Lindsey Fielder Cook, who moderated the discussion. 

The aim of the side event was to support negotiators’ work to convince their respective and busy Ministries of the need for urgent action, by offering a wide range of clear and concise arguments for urgent climate action from the perspectives of climate science, peace and security, economics, food security, civil society engagement, human rights, ethics, and seasoned negotiator experience.  

For those who were unable to attend or missed the live stream, the event was recorded. Unfortunately, the sound does not work, however you will still be able to see the PowerPoint presentations used by our speakers. Please follow this link to watch the event.

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March 2017

QUNO deliveres statement on climate change and child rights at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO climate change programme delivered an oral statement at the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council during the Panel Discussion on Climate Change and the Rights of the Child. QUNO welcomed this panel discussion, for at its heart, climate change is an intergenerational justice concern.

Our statement referred to the root causes of climate change caused by human activities. We briefly described how current rates of temperature rise and species extinction, as well as the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are unprecedented in our human history.  Drawing on elements from other QUNO programmes, and we highlighted the interconnection between climate change and human rights as well as peace, noting that rising temperatures have serious repercussions on sustaining peace.

However, our message was not to create fear, but rather hope and empowerment.  We emphasised that with urgent and fair climate action, catastrophic global temperature rise does not have to happen.  We reiterated the work of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, in particular, the critical role of a rights-based approaches in climate action to establish more coherent, legitimate, and sustainable climate policies. 

The oral statement, delivered by Cassandra Moll, Peacebuilding and Climate Change Programme Assistant, can be found at 1:32:50 on the video of the panel.

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March 2017

QUNO Review March 2017 now available

Our new, March 2017 edition of the QUNO Review is now available for download. The annual report provides a brief introduction to QUNO and our way of working, as well as an overview of each of our programme areas. Learn more about our past year of our work and see where we are headed in 2017.

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February 2017

Building trust at climate talks

Faith and science communities met on the 30th and 31st January, as Quakers set out to build communication and support between them. Quakers in Britain and QUNO held two interfaith luncheons on these days with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Quakers are motivated by a moral duty to cherish Creation for future generations and to speak out against climate injustice that causes huge inequalities across the world.  They have a long history of quiet diplomacy work with diverse groups to encourage in-depth discussion in which understanding may grow. These meetings at Friends House in London were informal and off-the-record.

Paul Parker, Recording Clerk for Quakers in Britain said: “We are aware that humanity has a short window of time to help ensure against catastrophic climate change. We observe that current political will is not sufficient to address the root causes of climate change caused by human activities, effectively, urgently and fairly. However, we have faith that change is possible.”

QUNO has observer status at both the IPCC and the climate negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Jonathan Woolley, QUNO Geneva Director, said, “While technical fixes may address some symptoms, they may not address human behaviours at the root cause of climate change, behaviours often exacerbated by economic and political priorities. Faith communities offer an empowering voice of hope over fear, of compassion over indifference, and urgent and fair action as a moral obligation.”

For further perspective, one participant has written a blog post about her experience.

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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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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

1.5C: Meeting the Challenges of the Paris Agreement

In September, Lindsey Fielder Cook, QUNO's Representative for Climate Change, attended the Oxford University conference, 1.5C: Meeting the Challenges of the Paris Agreement. QUNO applauds the Paris Agreement commitment to "pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels," yet we are aware this chance will be lost in some 5 years under the current greenhouse gas emission rate. QUNO is concerned that geo-engineering (climate engineering) is receiving more attention than sustainable behavior and economic system transformation, the latter which can empower civil society and our decision makers more effectively to address the root causes of anthropogenic climate change.

More information about the 1.5C conference can be found at the link below.

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September 2016

QUNO attends Public Consultation on Biodiversity and Human Rights at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council

On September 22, 2016, QUNO attended a public consultation on biodiversity and human rights obligations at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, John Knox, presented his approach for his report to be introduced at the upcoming Human Rights Council session in March 2017. The release of the report, which will focus on human rights obligations as they relate to the protection of biological diversity and ecosystems, will be closely followed by QUNO.

While attending the public consultation, QUNO intervened to emphasize the importance of agricultural biological diversity and small-scale farmers in this discussion. QUNO stated its opinion that the unique characteristics of agricultural biological diversity could usefully be elaborated upon in the upcoming report. 

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September 2016

QUNO attends discussion on Children's Rights and the Environment

On the 23rd September, QUNO attended a day long "General Discussion" on the Rights of the Child and the Environment, held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. QUNO advocates greater integration of human rights and rights-based approaches in climate action. Climate change has impacts on the human right to life, health, food, water, adequate housing and self-determination. There is currently no human right to a "healthy environment," yet children and all our future generations will face the greatest consequences if we fail to address the root causes of anthropogenic climate change. This day long discussion gave voice to these concerns, and colleagues from QUNO's climate change, peace and human rights programmes were present.

More information can be found at the link below.

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May 2016

QUNO organizes events at the international climate change negotiations in Bonn

QUNO was again present at the international climate change negotiations (SB44), recently held in Bonn, Germany from 16-26 May. Our Human Impact of Climate Change programme held two quiet diplomacy dinners in which negotiators from a diverse group of 23 countries discussed, in an off-the-record setting, their hopes and concerns following adoption of the Paris Agreement in December 2015. We also sponsored a side event in which a panel representing NGO, Climate Scientist and UNFCCC negotiator voices, spoke about the role of ethics and human behavior in climate change action.

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April 2016

QUNO participation at the 31st session of the Human Rights Council

The 31st session of the Human Rights Council (29 February to 24 March) provided new opportunities for QUNO to raise issues relevant to several areas of ongoing concern, such as the human impacts of climate change, criminal justice reform and the rights of children of incarcerated parents.

QUNO followed the negotiation of a number of thematic resolutions - including those on the rights of minorities, human rights and the environment, torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and the freedom of religion or belief - and delivered oral statements during several debates and discussions. Full details of each of these statements, including links to video recordings, are available here.

QUNO’s Peace and Disarmament programme also organised a well-attended side event during the session, hosting a panel discussion on environmental rights and the prevention of destructive conflict, further information on which is available here.

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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.

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March 2016

QUNO delivers oral statement on human rights and climate change at HRC

In response to the report of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, QUNO delivered an oral statement stressing the importance of incorporating a human rights perspective into states' climate action.

Focusing on the role of human rights in producing coherent, legitimate and sustainable policies, as well as the importance of ensuring citizens' participation in climate policy, the statement was delivered by Patrick Endall, Programme Assistant for Food & Sustainability and Climate Change, during the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. 

A video recording of the session is available online - QUNO's statement can be viewed by scrolling to Chapter 51 on the right of the video player.

The text of the statement can be viewed following the link below.

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January 2016

VIDEO: Lindsey Fielder Cook talks about our Human Impacts of Climate Change programme

In this video, excerpted from a longer film shown at the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting held in Peru in January 2016, Lindsey Fielder Cook discusses the work of our Human Impacts of Climate Change programme.

The Quaker United Nations Office is concerned about the impacts of climate change on people’s lives, and works to ensure that the rights and dignity of all are upheld while emphasising the need for urgent action. We contribute towards this by emphasizing the human impact of decisions made at the international climate negotiations, collaborating with civil society and engaging with the latest climate science, and exploring linkages between climate change and our other areas of expertise, such as human rights, food policy and peacebuilding.

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January 2016

Interview: QUNO and Joseph Rowntree Foundation reflect on COP21

With the dust settling on December's climate negotiations in Paris, QUNO's Lindsey Fielder Cook and Katherine Knox from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation were invited by journalism platform the IPF to share their reflections on the conference.

In the interview, they discuss the climate change work that QUNO and JRF have been undertaking and some of the implications of the outcome document, as well as sharing their experiences of the tense, dramatic and ultimately successful two weeks.

Link to article: http://the-ipf.com/2015/12/27/reflecting-cop21-environment-experts-clima...

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October 2015

QUNO publishes timely briefing papers ahead of COP21 in Paris

Between November 30 and December 11, 2015, international negotiators will meet at the Conference of Parties (COP) 21 in Paris. The annual COP is the main decision making session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This particular meeting is historic: in the context of increasingly strong and urgent calls to tackle anthropogenic climate change, the participants will seek to agree on a new agreement applicable to all Parties.

The four papers attached are intended to provide a comprehensive briefing for those concerned about the outcomes of COP21. The subjects are covered as follows:

Paper 1: The UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris 2015.
Paper 2: The importance of grassroots action to influence international climate negotiations.
Paper 3: Questions to ask policy makers.
Paper 4: What can we say, briefly, about the findings from climate science?

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September 2015

From Geneva to Paris: One voice on rights for a just climate agreement

On September 24th 2015, QUNO is co-sponsoring a side event as part of the 30th session of the Human Rights Council.

In its last Resolution on climate change, the HRC has "expressed concerns that climate change has contributed to the increase of both sudden-onset natural disasters and slow onset events, and that these events have adverse effects on the full enjoyment of all human rights". Climate change is more and more likely to constitute one of the greatest human rights challenge of the century. The outcome of the UNFCCC COP21 in Paris can vitally contribute to the response to this challenge. Incorporating an effective human rights dimension in the universal and legally binding Agreement under negotiation at COP21 in Paris is thus of crucial importance.

The side event offers an opportunity to hear the joint call of constituencies of the civil society to include strong and effective human rights language in the Agreement in Paris and views of the States leading the UNFCCC process.

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