Timeline

August 2018

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

The latest issue of the QUNO Geneva newsletter features: perspectives on the recently concluded negotiations for a Global Compact on Migration, a brief overview of the current state of international nuclear disarmament discussion, an update on our work on climate change, and a QUNO Q&A  with Rhiannon Redpath.

The full publication is available online below.

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July 2018

QUNO Participates in 2018 FGC Gathering Quaker Truth Talks

QUNO NY's Director and Quaker UN Representative, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to give one of three Quaker Truth Talks at a plenary session of the 2018 Friends General Conference Gathering in Toledo, Ohio. Andrew joined Friends Paula Palmer and Oskar Castro with a presentation entitled "From Spirit to Action: Examining the Roots of Quaker UN Work".

Weaving together the strands of the history of Quaker social action, the work of QUNO and personal transformation, the presentation concludes: "..the things that Quakers do well in social action have their roots in Quaker spiritual practice, and  the fruits of that practice, in the qualities of insight, fellow-feeling, groundedness, integrity, inclusivity, hope and love, are the same things that have characterized Friends’ unique contribution over hundreds of years.."

The video for Andrew's presentation can be found here

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June 2018

What's Next in Peacebuilding?

Recent developments in peacebuilding policy have given us new global commitments, such as the commitment to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the 2030 Agenda, and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. Yet these commitments are extremely broad, presenting significant challenges in follow-up and implementation. If peace is everything, then how does a government, a civil society group, a donor or an agency prioritize between different programmatic, budgetary and policy alternatives? 

QUNO hosted a group of peacebuilding organizations from 18-20 June for our annual gathering on “What’s Next in Peacebuilding?”. The meeting, which encouraged new insights from peacebuilding leaders around the world, set the stage for an informal discussion and exchange of views. Participants addressed the central issues of peacebuilding from the perspectives of practitioners, donors, and policy experts. 

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June 2018

Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review

On 26 June, QUNO, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Germany and Switzerland, who co-chair the cross-regional Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses in New York and Geneva, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), co-hosted a discussion on “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)”. As the 2016 sustaining peace resolutions adopted by the Security Council and General Assembly, and the Secretary-General’s 2018 Report on the same subject, call upon Member States and the UN to consider the human rights dimension of peacebuilding, this event provided a timely opportunity for civil society, UN agencies, and Member States to discuss how the UPR can contribute to better integrating human rights and sustaining peace. 

Hosted at UN Headquarters, this high-level meeting began with a presentation by Florence Foster of QUNO-Geneva on a recent study entitled “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace” exploring how the UPR is an inclusive, universal and the least contentious Human Rights Council process, and how its recommendations can be developed and implemented to prevent human rights violations that if left unaddressed could lead to conflict. The report recommends greater attention to be paid to conflict analysis throughout the UPR process, a shift in mindset away from the fragmented perception of human rights as a prerogative of Geneva versus peacebuilding and security as a prerogative of New York, and the levelling of dialogue spaces for human rights conversations addressing sustaining peace matters. 

The presentation was followed by an interactive panel discussion including Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Andrew Gilmour, Head of the OHCHR Office in New York, ASG Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, and Katy Thompson, Governance & Peace Building, Conflict Prevention Team Leader at the UN Development Programme, as well as the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations, Ambassador Jorge Skinner-Klee. 

QUNO looks forward to its continued collaboration with all actors on better integrating human rights and sustaining peace, in particular with both Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses.  

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June 2018

Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism

On 25 June 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was pleased to convene a meeting on “Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism”. Held at the onset of a week at the UN focused on counter-terrorism approaches of Member States and the Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, this meeting provided a timely opportunity for UN agencies and civil society organizations to come together to understand the context, and set expectations for the week’s upcoming events.

Held at Quaker House, this event brought various actors together to discuss how to work productively and collaboratively on this issue. The objectives of this meeting were to discuss key actors in countering incitement and preventing violent extremism, to explore ways to better engage local civil society communities; and to consider the lessons learned at local levels and within the UN system. Participants agreed that as the international community attempts to adapt to violent extremism, a more holistic, people-centered approach should be prioritized.

The Platform was pleased to host this discussion and looks forward to continuing to convene meetings between civil society, UN actors and Member States to support the UN on its prevention agenda.

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Event of Note
June 2018

Programme Assistant Reunion in New York

From 7-11 June, 2018, the Quaker United Nations Office in New York hosted a gathering of past and present New York Programme Assistants. As part of the American Friends Service Committee’s centennial celebrations, this reunion provided an opportunity for past Programme Assistants to gather in person to officially launch the QUNO Alumni Network (QAN). 

Over the very exciting four days, PAs from the UK, Ireland, the US, China, France, and Zimbabwe convened at the historic Quaker House in New York to hear about the current state of the UN, learn of new QUNO program work on peacebuilding and prevention, and to share and reminisce about their experiences whilst at QUNO. Program Assistants reflected upon how their experiences at QUNO impacted their professional career paths. Participants represented a wide array of careers, including law, diplomacy, policy campaigning and advocacy, leadership facilitation and peacebuilding, to name a few. By the end of the weekend, the enthusiastic group officially launched the QUNO Alumni Network (QAN), as a means to stay connected with both QUNO and each other, to provide guidance and professional support to one another and to spread the word of QUNO’s work. 

The Programme Assistant position provides an invaluable opportunity for Quakers and those in sympathy with Quaker ideals who have recently completed a degree to experience a year-long service involving everything from attending UN meetings to report writing, research, event planning and routine administration in QUNO's offices in Geneva or New York. To learn more about the role of a Programme Assistant, click here

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June 2018

QUNO publishes ‘Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – Paper #4 Compilation of Agreed Language’.

QUNO is working to support the adoption of an ambitious, effective and human rights based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  The Compact is the opportunity for States to strengthen the implementation of International Human Rights Law and build on the commitments they have made in the past. 

With this in mind, 'Paper #4' contains a compilation of agreed language that relates to the human rights of migrants from treaty law, General Assembly resolutions and Human Rights Council resolutions.  It has been compiled to provide an easy-to-use source to assist State representatives in ensuring that the Global Compact for Migration does not fall below or undermine existing standards.

This paper is part of QUNO’s paper series, “Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” a set of contributions to the global compact on migration process.  You can find the other papers in the link below. 

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June 2018

UN Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty – Call for Input

Research is currently underway on a UN Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty and your help is needed.

The Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty (called for in UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/69/157) will shed light on the scale and conditions of children deprived of liberty, identifying good practices and making recommendations for effective measures to prevent human rights violations against children in detention and reduce the number of children deprived of liberty.

One of the chapters of this Study will focus on children detained with their parents in the criminal justice system.  The Study will draw on data from governments but it will also be based on existing research and on the experiences of children who have been deprived of their liberty with a parent and those who work with them. 

A call for input has therefore been issued to help provide the chapter’s Research Group with resources including research and reports on this issue, data on the numbers of children living with a parent and case studies.  Please click on the link below to read the call for input in full. 

If you do have any of the requested information please send it to Stephen Browne sbrowne@quno.org who will compile it so it can be shared with the research leads on behalf of QUNO and COPE, the NGO Focal Points for the Research Group.    

Finally, for updates on the Study please join the NGO Panel for the Study: https://childrendeprivedofliberty.info/   

 

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May 2018

What UN Development Reform means for Prevention

On 10 May 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform (the Platform) was pleased to convene a meeting on what the UN Development Reform means for the Secretary-General’s Prevention agenda. Held days after the resolution concerning the proposed UN Development Reform was negotiated in the General Assembly, this event provided a timely opportunity for civil society and UN actors to constructively discuss the Development Reform. The objective of this meeting was to discuss the impact of the reform on the UN, its civil society partners and on the Secretary General’s vision for prevention, and to provide a space for an open and constructive dialogue on how UN and civil society cooperation can support the UN’s work on prevention.

Hosted at Quaker House, this event was the second in a series of discussions held by the Platform on the various UN reform streams. The Development Reform addresses the Secretary-General’s proposals for the UN’s development system to better deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, with prevention as a cross-pillar priority. Subsequently, at the core of the recent resolution is system coherence and coordination at all levels; country, regionally and globally. 

While the Development Reform offers opportunities and challenges for the operationalization of prevention, the natural interlinkages of the peace and security, development and management reform streams remain important. The reform pushes for a more collected in country approach with more empowered Resident Coordinators and less regional duplication. 

By convening this meeting, the Platform informed civil society actors on the Development Reform process. QUNO looks forward to continuing its work co-facilitating the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform and working with its core-partners and its larger networks of civil society experts to support the UN’s prevention agenda though strengthening, coordinating and information sharing with the UN at all levels.
 

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May 2018

Navigating Inclusion in Peace Processes

Following the launch of the joint World Bank and United Nations Report, Pathways for Peace, in March, the High-Level Event on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace in April and the launch of the Global Study of Youth Peace and Security, inclusion has been brought back to the forefront. On 14 May, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform (the Platform) found it timely to host one of its core-group partners, Conciliation Resources, in New York to launch their ACCORD publication, Navigating Inclusion in Peace Transitions. The publication, which resulted from four years of research, explores how inclusion is negotiated in countries in transition from war to peace, the common barriers to and trade-offs between inclusion and stability and the types of external and internal support that have been possible and effective in peace processes.

Hosted at Quaker House, this off-the-record conversation provided an opportunity for civil society actors in New York to hear the experiences of colleagues from Colombia and Nepal and discuss more concretely what inclusion looks like the in the various contexts. The research highlights that if inclusion is not talked about in the initial stages of a transition, it tends to be sidelined throughout the process if not totally disregarded. The research also highlights the fact that political transitions are points for renegotiation because transitions and political unsettlement create opportunities for change. However, when aiming for political stability is the focus for a country in transition, it can also be challenging to introduce inclusion policies. Often, the prioritization of stability can lead to a return of the old guard and continued exclusion of marginalized groups.  

The research also reflected on the strategies used by different groups, in particular marginalized groups such as women, to influence these processes of political transition. The report draws on practical experience that Conciliation Resources and its partners have learnt from working on these challenges.

The Platform was pleased to host this discussion and looks forward to continuing to convene meetings between civil society, UN actors and Member States to enhance the UN and civil society organizations’ collective capacity to carry out preventive work. 

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May 2018

WEBCAST: "Why aren't we really mitigating?" a QUNO side-event at SB48 climate change conference in Bonn

Side Event Poster

Watch the webcast of the QUNO side-event on Tuesday 8th May 2018 at the SB48 climate change meeting in Bonn. The event is titled "Why aren't we really mitigating? Honest conversations on effective climate action". 

What are the most effective and ethical mitigation approaches, and why are they not being sufficiently implemented? Which approaches help us shift from resource exploitation to ecological integrity, and help us avoid reliance on unproven geo-engineering, which may fail to address root causes while damaging ecosystems further?

Featuring Guy Lomax from The Nature Conservancy, Paul Allen, from the Centre for Alternative Technology, John Brinkman from the Maryknoll Catholic Community, Martin Frick who is Senior Director of UNFCCC, Santa Meyer-Nandi from Finding Sustainia - Think & Action Lab, Dr. Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, Frank Ettawageshik from National Congress of American Indians and Valeriane Bernard from Brahma Kumaris.

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April 2018

New York Peacebuilding Group holds timely and impactful civil society meetings in sidelines of UN peacebuilding event

The United Nations (UN) Secretariat held a much-anticipated High-Level Event on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace from 24-26 April. This event, convened by the President of the General Assembly (PGA), provided a forum for Member States and the UN system to assess efforts undertaken so far and the opportunities that are available to strengthen the UN’s peacebuilding work. The HLE and the many side events surrounding the meeting provided a space for civil society organizations (CSO) working on peace issues to engage with the UN and Member State stakeholders. To support the building of relationships and partnership opportunities, and to support strategic discussion on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the New York Peacebuilding Group (NYPG), facilitated by the Quaker UN Office, held two CSO-focused meetings throughout the week. 

NYPG began the week by hosting an informal breakfast at Quaker House to provide a space for CSO colleagues from New York and visiting globally to connect with one another ahead of the HLE. This informal platform allowed for participants to meet and mingle with fellow peacebuilding practitioners, and supported the building and strengthening of partnerships amongst this diverse peacebuilding community. Following the HLE, NYPG held a reflection and strategy lunch discussion, which provided an avenue for CSO colleagues to share observations and analysis from their experiences throughout the week. Conversation focused on expectations and next steps for peacebuilding and sustaining peace, the linkages with other peace agendas such as the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the importance of the inclusion of women and youth, and of national ownership for peacebuilding. 

By convening these two meetings at Quaker House, NYPG was able to provide space for colleagues to openly exchange and reflect on the HLE and side events, and the next steps for peacebuilding at the UN. QUNO looks forward to continuing to facilitate NYPG and to working with the group’s members to continue to provide avenues for strategic engagement across the global CSO peacebuilding community.
 

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April 2018

QUNO publishes second edition of "A Negotiator's Toolkit" featuring concise arguments for urgent climate action

"A Negotiator's Tookit" was created to support climate negotiators in their work to engage busy Ministries with reasons for urgent, rights-based climate action. Ministers and other decision makers face competing demands and priorities, but they may also be more receptive to one argument over another. One person may better respond to economic concerns, for example, another to scientific findings. The booklet offers ten concise summaries compiled from expert voices in climate change related sectors. We hope these summaries help negotiators engage with colleagues back home on why urgent, rights-based climate action is critical to the long-term well-being and stability of their countries. 

The summaries are based on presentations given by experts at a side event in May 2017, during the climate change conference in Bonn. The Healthier World Argument was compiled following this event. We are thankful to colleagues at Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University and at Newcastle University, for co-hosting this side event in May 2017. 

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March 2018

The Peacebuilding Commission: Purpose, work, and opportunity

The International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), with support from the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), convened a half-day workshop on March 16, 2018, to contribute to advancements in, and the ongoing work of, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and its membership. The workshop, which included approximately forty participants, provided an off-the-record space for PBC members to continue to strengthen their understanding of peacebuilding, including best practices and lessons learned for policy development; identify strategies and opportunities to build upon progress made in the PBC; address new or ongoing challenges that impact the Commission’s work; and reflect on and identify the capacities needed to strengthen the PBC. The below key issues emerged from the discussion:

1. Peacebuilding must be informed by and maintain a focus on the field, measuring success by impact at the country or regional level. To support this goal, policymakers will benefit from a strengthened practical understanding of factors that foster peace and of how to translate this knowledge into policy and programming.

2. Progress in the PBC, combined with increased attention on the Commission’s work, has reaffirmed its relevance as the central UN body for peacebuilding and the potential of its unique convening power.

3. The PBC’s increasingly flexible working methods, particularly with regards to country situations, provide both opportunities and challenges for countries as they build peace.

4. Recognition of the peace and development nexus needs to result in greater coherence and coordination of peacebuilding policy across the UN system, which can in part be supported by work carried out by the PBC.

5. Sustained financing for short and long-term programming is critical in assisting states to build peace, and more initiative should be taken to explore innovative financing and partnership opportunities.

IPI and QUNO look forward to a continued partnership that will allow our organizations to provide further support to the PBC and its membership by holding a series of strategic and output driven discussions exploring the above-mentioned topics, among others. Our organizations will continue to work with UN and Member State stakeholders to develop and provide a forum for frank discussion on issues related to the PBC’s work, with a focus on innovative thinking, idea sharing and peer-to-peer learning.

See full meeting note here.

For more information, contact Megan Schmidt, UN Representative at the Quaker UN Office  (MSchmidt@afsc.org), and Lesley Connolly, Senior Policy Analyst at IPI (connolly@ipinst.org).

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March 2018

A new article: Healthy Planet, Healthy People

Writing for the newsletter of New York Yearly Meeting of Quakers, Susan H. Bragdon explains how small-scale farmers are essential to food and nutrition security, climate resilience, rural livelihoods, critical ecosystem services, and the health of the global population. Innovation by small-scale farmers needs to be actively included in conversations about the future of agricultural production. Read the full article at the link below.

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March 2018

Pathways for Peace - Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict: A Reflective Conversation

In March, QUNO, in collaboration with Club de Madrid, hosted a reflective, off-the record conversation on the recently launched United Nations-World Bank Report, Pathways for Peace: Inclusive Approaches to Preventing Violent Conflict. Launched in Washington D.C at the 2018 World Bank Fragility Forum, the report is the first joint study between the UN and the World Bank. Hosted at Quaker House, the event provided a timely opportunity to reflect upon the contents of the report and the difficulties that come with meeting the challenges of prevention. 

Participants reflected upon the findings of the report, the changing nature of contemporary conflict, the need to address grievances before they metastasize, and the need for states, as well as other actors, to pursue inclusive and dialogue centered policies in times of crisis. It was noted that the report should be viewed as a tool for prevention and early-action, and that its findings clearly highlight the business case for prevention, which states that prevention is economically beneficial even in the most pessimistic scenario and that the benefits of prevention increase over time, whereas the costs fall.  It was agreed that for peace processes to be successful, both drivers of peace and drivers of conflict must be addressed.

Participants recognized that the report reflects a cultural shift in the politics of prevention as it marries both political and technical aspects. Crucially, it was expressed that what is most important is that the UN and World Bank have highlighted their partnership and shared responsibility to carry out prevention effectively. QUNO looks forward to continuing its partnership with Club de Madrid, and the authors of the report.

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March 2018

QUNO speaks at a side event on 'Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants'

On 2nd March Laurel Townhead, QUNO’s Human Rights and Refugees Representative, spoke on a panel on ‘Protecting the Human Rights of Migrants’ on the margins of the Human Rights Council.  The Panel aimed to highlight the pressing need for the human rights of migrants to be respected in the face of the restrictive environment that is prevalent in many countries with respect to migrants. Full video of the panel event is available below.

The other panelists were Nils Melzer, the Special Rapporteur on Torture, and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Michel Forst, the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders and Pia Oberoi, an advisor on migration and human rights in the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  Opening remarks were given by Ambassador Zellweger, from the Permanent Mission of Switzerland.

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March 2018

Meeting the Challenge of Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Through Partnerships and Inclusivity

The dual resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace adopted in April 2016 by the United Nations (UN) Security Council and General Assembly (S/RES/2282; A/RES/70/262) marked a fundamental shift in the UN’s understanding of peacebuilding. Before peacebuilding was understood as taking place after conflict. However, by declaring sustaining peace as “a goal and process…aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict,” Member States now universally recognize that efforts to build peace must be taking place before, during and after conflict. 

Starting in 2017, the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) undertook a dynamic research project to increase the practical understanding of what sustaining peace means; assess the progress and remaining challenges facing peacebuilding practice; and articulate recommendations for the way forward. The research led to a joint report, Building Sustainable Peace: How inclusivity, partnerships and a reinforced UN Peacebuilding Architecture will support delivery

To share their findings, on 9 March QUNO and GPPAC organized an informal conversation amongst Member States and UN colleagues to reflect on how inclusivity is and can be fostered, and how partnerships for building peace are practically developed and sustained. The event, titled Meeting the Challenge of Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace Through Partnerships and Inclusivity, focused the challenges that hinder peacebuilding on the ground and at the regional and international levels. The meeting also provided an opportunity for peer to peer learning amongst participants as they shared examples of inclusive programming and reflected on challenges that have or continue to occur when seeking to develop and implement inclusive, partnership-based peacebuilding policies. 

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March 2018

QUNO, in partnership with GPPAC, releases new report, Building Sustainable Peace

Following extensive interview and desk based research, QUNO and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) released their report, ‘Building Sustainable Peace: How inclusivity, partnerships and a reinforced UN Peacebuilding Architecture will support delivery.’

This report builds upon our past peacebuilding body of work, including our 2015 report Filling the Gap, and serves to contribute towards the forward momentum on peacebuilding and sustaining peace. It is the result of desk research as well as interviews with over 35 diverse Member State and UN representatives at UN Headquarters, which provided ample opportunity to learn first-hand how the resolutions have shaped policy and practice by those intimately involved in these processes.

GPPAC and QUNO have a long-standing history engaging with the UN’s Peacebuilding Architecture, and seeking to support and enhance the normative, political, and operational advancement of peacebuilding at the UN. We have continued to lend our voices and expertise during this dynamic time as peacebuilding and prevention have been brought to the fore of the UN’s work following the adoption of the sustaining peace resolutions, as well as other milestones such as the progress made on the 2030 Agenda, the welcoming of the new UN Secretary-General (UNSG), and steps taken with regards to the UNSG’s reform processes.

From our research report, we identified 5 key messages and developed practical recommendations for the UN, Member States and peacebuilding practitioners that will contribute towards the ongoing efforts to build sustainable peace. Our key messages include:

  1. Sustaining peace should be recognised as an evolutionary development that builds upon decades of progress in the UN’s understanding of peacebuilding and conflict prevention. It is also based on the UN’s experience accompanying these processes at the regional and country level around the world.
  2. Member States, with UN support, should now focus on turning words into action to deliver sustainable peace in a comprehensive, integrated and coherent manner at UN Headquarters and regional and country levels.
  3. Sustaining peace provides an opportunity to learn from and build upon the work of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), but far more remains to be done to enhance the PBC’s capacities.
  4. Inclusivity and partnerships are critical to sustaining peace but remain under-utilised in practice.
  5. Barriers and fragmentation that persist must be overcome.

To read the full report, please click here.

To read the post on this report on GPPAC's "UN Insights" blog, please click here.

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March 2018

QUNO gives an oral statement on environmental rights at the 37th session of the Human Rights Council

During the clustered interactive dialogue discussing the Special Rapporteurs' reports on the issue of human rights obligations relating to the enjoyment of a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment (by Mr John Knox) as well as on the right to food at the 37th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva; Isobel Edwards, on behalf of QUNO Geneva, gave a statement on human rights and the environment. Please take a look at the full recording, with Isobel Edwards speaking at 27 minutes in, as well as the written oral statement below.

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