Timeline

November 2016

QUNO moderates for the FAO Event on Peace and Food Security

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

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

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

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November 2016

An Insight on Geneva Peace Week 2016

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

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

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

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November 2016

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

Recording of side event


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

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

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

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November 2016

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

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

 

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

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

What are your expectations for the consultation? 

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

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

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November 2016

Read QUNO's latest Geneva Reporter newsletter

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

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

The full publication is available below.

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October 2016

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

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

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

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October 2016

QUNO Attended Symposium on UPOV and ITPGRFA

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

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

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

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October 2016

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

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

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

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October 2016

Sustaining Peace

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

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

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

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

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October 2016

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

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

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October 2016

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

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

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

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

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October 2016

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

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

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

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

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September 2016

QUNO Attends WTO Public Forum 2016 on Inclusive Trade

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

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September 2016

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

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

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

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

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

The database can be found at www.crccip.com

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

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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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September 2016

QUNO submits statement to 31st session of WIPO's committee on IP and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore

© WIPO 2016. Photo: Emmanuel Berrod

QUNO attended the opening of the 31st session of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) in Geneva on Monday September 19, 2016.

Following a panel discussion of Indigenous Peoples on a draft text and international legal instrument to ensure the effective protection of genetic resources, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, QUNO submitted a written statement to emphasize the importance of small-scale farmers in that discussion.  

In its statement, QUNO acknowledged and appreciated the essential representation of Indigenous Peoples present at the 31st WIPO IGC session. However, it called upon the IGC and those who take part in it to also encourage the participation of small-scale farmers, whether or not they identify themselves as Indigenous.

The statement was submitted on September 22, 2016. 

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Event of Note
September 2016

Peacebuilding Statement for International Day of Peace

In honour of the International Day of Peace, QUNO and peacebuilding organisations from around the world have issued a shared statement to UN member states on the importance of embracing the new global framework for peace. 

Over the last year, states have made significant new commitments to addressing the root causes of conflict and displacement, in both the 2030 Agenda and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. The statement calls on governments to embrace this new mandate and to mainstream peace policy, implement peace at home, foster peace around the world, support funding for peace and to protect and support civil society inclusion.

 

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September 2016

QUNO delivers oral statement on the rights of children of incarcerated parents at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council

QUNO delivered an oral statement on the rights of children of incarcerated parents at the 33rd Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The statement marked the five-year anniversary of the Committee on the Rights of the Child’s Day of General Discussion on Children of Incarcerated Parents (held in September 2011), and recognised the importance of this event in contributing to improved international and national standards on the issue. 

QUNO called upon the Council to focus on implementing the relevant resolutions and to consider the situation of children of parents sentenced to death or executed ahead of the upcoming General Assembly resolution on moratorium on the use of the death penalty.

Catherine Baker, Programme Assistant for Human Rights and Refugees delivered the statement during the General Debate discussion on Friday 16th September

 

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