Timeline

Peacebuilding & Prevention of Violent Conflict

QUNO seeks to encourage a more holistic approach to peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict at the UN that takes into account local perspectives and the rebuilding of relationships. This includes a focus on the connections between peace, development, and the environment.
May 2017

Preventing Violence - Community-based approaches to Early Warning and Early Response

On 22 May, QUNO, as one of the co-facilitators of the Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform, hosted a publication launch and discussion on: “Preventing Conflict: Community-based approaches to Early Warning and Early Response.”  The lead author of the publication, Steven Leach, reflected on the report’s key findings and recommendations. He brought to attention the importance of building trust-based relationships when developing and implementing community approaches to Early Warning and Early Response. Additionally, he noted that promoting an inclusive approach, mainly to involve communities from the margins, is essential. Marginalized communities often experience escalated tensions and violence first, and excluding such communities risks reinforcing cycles of violence that they experience. 

Joined by various panelists from the Office of Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations and the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the UN, the discussion offered a broad range of views and reflections drawing from their experiences in community-based approaches to early warning and early response.  Participants emphasized the importance of early response as a critical prevention tool. It was also acknowledged that effective peacebuilding in a community setting takes a significant amount of time and relies on inclusive dialogue, community engagement and trust building. The Civil Society – UN Prevention Platform has continued to hold thematic discussions to support the prevention agenda at the UN and create an interactive platform for civil society, UN actors, and member states to exchange information and share best practices. 

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May 2017

QUNO hosts the Friends Church Peace Teams

An essential part of QUNO’s work to promote peacebuilding and prevention at the UN is to ensure that diverse voices inform discussions, particularly practitioners working at the local level and communities that would be impacted by policies. In May, QUNO hosted, Getry Agizah, a Kenyan Quaker, and Coordinator of the Friends Church Peace Teams (FCPT)/ Transforming Communities for Social Change (TCSC) to share her work on peacebuilding at the community level. Getry, a proud peace builder, works tirelessly to transform societies in the western Kenya region. During her visit, Getry shared her perspectives on local-level peacebuilding by highlighting examples of how she has successfully used her training in Alternatives to Violence (AVP) and Healing and Rebuilding our Communities (HROC) to support the communities she works with in the areas of healing, and reconciliation.

On the first day of her two-day visit to New York, Getry took part in a meeting with a diverse group of New York-based civil society organizations to explore key themes that she has found in her work. Some of the emerging themes were the need to build trust with and work directly with communities, as this supports efforts to build peace. Additionally, she brought attention to the need to fully understand the context of the environment one is working in, including recognizing the challenges facing marginalized communities such as extreme poverty and post-conflict trauma. Getry noted the value and impact of including women and youth in peacebuilding and shared her experiences with projects she has led working with orphans, and women in the community. On the second day, she took part in bilateral meetings with member states and UN actors to further discuss and explore the need for inclusivity and reconciliation in local peacebuilding initiatives. QUNO was glad to have hosted her and hopes she will return to provide updates to UN, civil society and member state colleagues on the impact of her work and share more on local peacebuilding perspectives.

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May 2017

Strengthening the link between Human Rights and Peacebuilding Through the UPR

Since the beginning of 2017, in close collaboration with the Human Rights and Refugees programme and our colleagues at QUNO New York, the Peace and Disarmament programme has been working on a project linking human rights and sustaining peace. The yearlong project aims to strengthen the links between the peacebuilding and human rights communities within the UN and on the ground through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a UN  process that reviews the human rights records of all 193 UN member States in a five-year cycle. The UPR was designed as a mechanism to improve the human rights situation in every country by encouraging and supporting states to effectively implement and protect human rights at every level. To support this process, information from UN agencies and civil society organisations are compiled to provide recommendations to the state under review and background for other states to create recommendations and questions.

For our project, we have chosen six test case countries, each facing particular challenges to differing degrees in human rights, conflict and violence from the Syria in the throes of war to Guatemala facing chronic and destabilising violence. For the upcoming UPR Sessions, we chose to focus on Indonesia and Brazil and we invited two peacebuilding civil society representatives - Ruslan from KOMPAK (Kupang Peacemakers) in Indonesia and Ivan Marques from Sou da Paz in Brazil- to attend briefing sessions for diplomats and off the record meetings organised by QUNO in Geneva. They were able  to discuss their work and explore ways in which the UPR could better support peacebuilding and violence reduction and elimination.

Both organisations produced briefing documents, highlighting their work around peacebuilding and human rights, country specific issues and key recommendations targeted toward their respective countries that can be used for the upcoming UPR Sessions in May.

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April 2017

QUNO takes part in a Dialogue and Exchange Program on Somalia Refugees

“During my tenure, I hope to move towards a time where refugee camps are no more”.

Amb. Mohammed Affey, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ Special Envoy for the Refugee situation in Somalia, stated this goal in his opening remarks at the American Friends Service Committee’s Dialogue and Exchange Program (DEP) focusing on Somalia Refugees. QUNO participated in the timely meeting, which took place on April 3rd - 5th, 2017 in Nairobi, Kenya. The meeting brought civil society, and government, regional body, and UN representatives together to share perspectives on issues surrounding forcibly displaced populations. Through interactive group work sessions, participants explored the implications of voluntary return, local integration, and resettlement of refugees and internally displaced people. During the three days, it was acknowledged that despite the limited resources in the horn of Africa, it’s the region that produces and hosts the most refugees globally.

QUNO’s UN Representative and Program Assistant working on the Prevention of Violent Conflict Program, Rachel Madenyika and Hafsa Maalim, participated in the DEP, including through leading on the reporting of group session outcomes to the plenary. QUNO staff shared perspectives on actions that could be taken by asylum and host countries to ensure protection of refugees, as well as reported on the challenges facing local integration efforts for refugee populations. QUNO staff also highlighted potential entry points to overcome such challenges, including the development of trauma healing and reconciliation programs that can bring communities together.

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March 2017

Linking Peacebuilding and Human Rights: QUNO Delivers Oral Statement at the High-Level Mainstreaming Panel

For the 34th Session of the Human Rights Council, QUNO was welcomed the focus of the High-Level Mainstreaming Panel on the “The contribution of human rights to peacebuilding through enhancing dialogue and international cooperation for the promotion of human rights”. QUNO has longstanding programmes on both Peace and Disarmament and Human Rights and Refugees with relation to the UN and has been working for several years, in collaboration with our colleagues in New York, specifically to promote and strengthen the link between human rights, peacebuilding, and sustaining peace.

In light of the panel’s focus on peacebuilding and human rights, the Peace and Disarmament programme submitted a written statement and made an oral statement. Both statements, provided several recommendations to address the fragmentation in the UN system to improve the work on effective prevention of both human rights violations and destructive conflict, with our core message addressing the importance of better collaboration between the human rights and peacebuilding communities, to support long-term sustainable peace.

Our statements, highlighted recent progress in the UN, as the term sustaining peace was used in the parallel Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the review of the UN peacebuilding Architecture. The resolutions emphasise the importance of addressing root causes of destructive conflict and recognises that the peacebuilding process occurs through all stages of the conflict cycle (before, during and after), which need to be continually supported for sustainable peace.

The oral statement, delivered by Diane Hendrick, Peace and Disarmament Representative at the Mainstreaming Panel, can be found at 1:49:30 on the video of the panel.

The written statement can be found below.

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March 2017

Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace

On March 28th, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform hosted a meeting entitled "Prevention and Mediation: Towards More Effective Collaborative Approaches and Strategies for Sustaining Peace." This meeting was in collaboration with the Mediation Support Network, a global network of twenty-one non-governmental organizations that support mediation in peace negotiations.

QUNO co-facilitates the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, which aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda by strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society and the UN. This meeting provided the Platform with an opportunity to use its diverse network to better inform the conversation on harnessing the synergies between prevention and mediation.   

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform brought together UN actors, civil society organizations, and member states to discuss concrete examples of how civil society actors are promoting mediation and prevention practices and processes in addressing political tensions and armed conflict.

To open the discussion, a few members of the Mediation Support Network shared their experiences using examples from Colombia, Myanmar and Mexico. The participants highlighted the role of civil society in armed conflict and the important role they play in bridging UN actors and the local people. The use of mediation as an early warning tool was echoed in several presentations. One of the major challenges highlighted was that it was difficult for societies to transition into peace if they are not used to living in peace. Therefore, due to the ever-changing nature of conflict, the participants agreed that innovative measures of mediation are more important than ever. 

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March 2017

QUNO and the Centre for International Cooperation Cohost a Discussion on the 'Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies'

On 15 March, QUNO and the Center for International Cooperation (CIC) of New York University cohosted a meeting at Quaker House where CIC presented a discussion paper: Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies: A Call to Action to Change our World. The meeting encouraged an in-depth discussion of the paper’s proposals and their overall expected impact, and participants shared their insights and expertise with the authors.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development declares, “there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.” While SDG 16 seeks to “foster peaceful, just, and inclusive societies,” there are strong links and connections across many of the Agenda’s goals that, together, contribute towards the promotion of peace, justice, and inclusivity. The linkages between these different goals have often become referred to as “SDG16+.” The interconnected and universal nature of the SDGs was a key point made by Mr. Andrew Tomlinson, UN Representative and QUNO Director, who facilitated the meeting’s discussion. Mr. Tomlinson also reflected on how moving the 2030 Agenda forward, particularly SDG16+, has the potential to be transformative for global affairs, and have the most far reaching impact across people’s lives throughout the world.

Participants discussed how the paper aims to provide a starting point for a roadmap to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s “peaceful, just and inclusive societies” mandate, which seeks to turn the ambition of the SDG16+ targets into reality. During the meeting, Mr. David Steven of CIC provided an overview of why a roadmap is needed and what impact it can deliver, setting out several recommendations for its structure and content. This roadmap process is being led by The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, a group of UN member states, international organizations, and other partners, convened by the governments of Brazil, Sierra Leone and Switzerland, in cooperation with CIC.

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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

Chinese Perspectives on Africa's Peace and Security Challenges: Views from the Field

QUNO, the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), and the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) convened a two-day workshop in New York that provided a forum for academics from various Chinese institutions to share their research and perspectives on peace and security issues in Africa with a broad policy audience. With support from a joint SSRC-AFSC pilot fellowship program, six Chinese PhD scholars completed research in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Zimbabwe and at the African Union where they looked at China’s engagement in UN peace operations, regional partnerships, and the role of China’s commercial interests in sustaining peace. In addition to co-sponsoring the workshop, QUNO’s UN Representative for the Prevention of Violent Conflict, Rachel Madenyika, participated as a discussant, sharing her reflections on the role of business in prevention and sustaining peace.

China continues to rapidly increase its participation in UN peace operations, and is becoming more involved in supporting peace operations and peacebuilding efforts in conflict affected countries and regions, especially in Africa. During the workshop, participants reflected on how in China there is an increasing focus on the importance of investing in development projects as a way to foster peace and address root causes of conflict. Chinese development actors and investors moving these projects forward face challenges with identifying and understanding the drivers and root causes of conflict. 

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February 2017

A briefing for diplomats on Human Rights and Peacebuilding

The Geneva Peacebuilding Platform held a briefing for diplomats on Human Rights and Peacebuilding on 15th February, which QUNO organised, moderated and presented. This briefing drew on the work QUNO has been doing on human rights, peacebuilding and sustaining peace through our Peace and Disarmament and Human Rights and Refugees Programmes, and in close collaboration with our colleagues at QUNO  New York.  The briefing session aimed to provide useful background to diplomats ahead of the Mainstreaming Panel on the contribution of human rights to peacebuilding at the Human Rights Council on 27 February.

During the briefing session, Diane Hendrick and the other panelists illustrated areas in which human rights interacted with peacebuilding processes and approaches, and how human rights can be mainstreamed throughout the peacebuilding work of the UN system, including on the ground. A key aim was to present the concept of “sustaining peace” in which peacebuilding is understood as a process that takes place (and needs to be supported) before during and after conflict, as reflected in recent UN resolutions on the UN peacebuilding architecture. QUNO underlined that economic, social, and cultural rights are integral to addressing the root causes of destructive conflict.

For further information please refer below to our Handout on Human Rights and International Peace and Security.

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January 2017

QUNO lays out next steps in implementing the peace commitments in the 2030 Agenda

"If we are to faithfully work for peace, justice and inclusion, then we must ourselves act peacefully, justly and inclusively"

On 23 January, 2017, the QUNO New York Director was a speaker at the Third Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, on the topic of "Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Peace". 
Governments and other development actors made ground-breaking commitments to fostering peace under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the challenge now lies in implementation.

The QUNO intervention set out what will be needed:
- Normatively, to stay focused on the core issues, the heart of sustainable peace
- At a local and national level, to uphold inclusive national planning, implementation and reporting
- At a global level, to foster external support for peace, justice and inclusion, and
- At home and in our own organizations, to reflect critically on our own processes and actions

Video of the presentation can be found here, starting at minute 28:25

 

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January 2017

Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda: Opportunities for Prevention

On the occasion of the High Level Debate, “Building Sustainable Peace for All”, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform held an informal, off the record lunch discussion on “Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda: Opportunities for Prevention” to further explore avenues for strengthening prevention at the UN through leveraging synergies between Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda. The meeting sought to identify what opportunities exist for promoting civil society-UN cooperation, and how to ensure that such efforts can have a direct impact on the populations in focus. The conversation brought together CSO perspectives and experiences on the ground, UN actors and Member States. 

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December 2016

QUNO Representative interviewed by QuakerSpeak to reflect on Quaker approach on Sustainability

QUNO UN Representative, Rachel Madenyika, had the opportunity to sit down with QuakerSpeak and share her insight on Quaker work on and approaches to sustainability. 

In her interview, Rachel shares that, to her, sustainability centers on simplicity and the quest for lasting peace. She notes that in her capacity as a UN Representative for QUNO she has worked on peace and sustainability issues on different tracks. From this she has found that what makes the Quaker approach to sustainability unique is the ability to not only work in their communities, but also to bridge gaps and work with people from all walks of life.

Watch the whole video here.

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November 2016

QUNO participates at the UNDP High Level Seminar on Conflict Prevention, Dialogue and Reconciliation in Africa

QUNO participated in a 3-day seminar in Johannesburg South Africa, on conflict prevention, dialogue and reconciliation in Africa. Hosted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the seminar gathered UN experts, private sector practitioners and civil society actors to provide UNDP leadership at the country level with new thinking and approaches to facilitating conflict prevention efforts, national dialogue and reconciliation mechanisms in Africa.  The Seminar created an opportunity for participants to address the critical questions regarding successes, challenges, opportunities for conflict prevention, dialogue and reconciliation as structures for providing democratic governance, preventing violence and peacebuilding in the continent. QUNO UN Representative on Prevention, Rachel Madenyika presented in a workshop entitled “Who ‘does’ dialogue and where? Exploring the key stakeholders and their approaches.”  The presentation highlighted the importance of linking local, national, regional and global actors in conflict prevention as well as looked at the role of Quakers in reconciliation and dialogue.

QUNO welcomed the opportunity to be part of this High Level event and is looking forward to the outcomes and next steps of this important agenda.

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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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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

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 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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