Areas of Work

Climate Change as a Peace and Justice Concern

QUNO approaches climate change as a peace and justice concern.  We advocate for the integration of human rights-based approaches within climate policy to create more legitimate, peaceful and sustainable climate policy, benefitting people and the planet, and receiving more public support.  Human rights-based approaches integrate biodiversity protection, gender, youth, Indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights, and meaningful participation in decision-making, which are all peace-building elements.

Alongside human-rights based approaches, QUNO advocates for climate action and environmental protection as critical to peacebuilding by averting higher temperature rises predicted under insufficient policies and financing worldwide.  We stress the peacebuilding role of shifting unprecedented levels of military spending to in turn fund energy, economic and agriculture transformations essential for safer societies. We also advocate for States to sufficiently report their military emissions, estimated at 5% of global emissions.  We also have a watching brief to support efforts in Geneva on promoting an Ecocide law and Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

QUNO supports efforts at the Human Rights Council to uphold States’ obligations to protect people’s human rights, including the rights of Indigenous Peoples and environmental defenders, and ambitious and equitable policies. We highlight risks to human rights when States seek reliance on geoengineering approaches, including carbon dioxide removal (CDR), carbon capture storage (CCS), and Solar Radiation Management (SRM) over rapid reduction of emissions at source. Reliance on these geoengineering techniques are not proven-to-scale, are less effective, less equitable, more expensive, and fail to transform root causes driving climate change. Throughout, we work to integrate reports from the Human Rights Council into the UNFCCC and IPCC processes. 

In 2023, QUNO, as part of a global coalition, was recognized with the UN Human Rights Prize 2023 for our involvement in the UN General Assembly recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. At the Human Rights Council, we advocate for urgent, equitable, and transformative climate action, grounded in this right. 

We also work alongside human rights colleagues from both the Geneva and international spheres, publish briefing papers on related topics, and hold side events in support of topics explored in the negotiations. We deliver statements at the Human Rights Council focused on the link between human rights and the protection of the natural world and prepare submissions to support work of the Special Rapporteurs. In our publications, we share information on how human rights law can support greater action on climate change. We are a part of the Human Rights and Climate Change Working Group and Geneva Climate Change Consultation Group. We are also on the Advisory Committee of the Platform for Disaster Displacement, formerly the Nansen Initiative.  

Recent Timeline Events

September 2023

Climate change Global Stocktake must focus on human rights

As the United Nations-led Global Stocktake is being finalised, the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) has offered two submissions to this assessment of international action on climate change.

QUNO’s submission — available for download here — was made on behalf of the Quaker organisation, Friends World Committee for Consultation, which it represents at the United Nations (UN).

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January 2023

Quaker United Nations Summer School 2023 - Applications Now Open

We are excited to announce the return of summer school! This year's program will be in person for the first time since 2019. Our 12-day residential programme takes place at the heart of international governance in Geneva, Switzerland.  Summer school together a diverse group of individuals to learn about pressing international concerns, develop professional skills, and build a like-minded community. Participants will be equipped with the skills to think constructively about the value of the multilateral system and international politics while enjoying opportunities to discover Geneva.

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March 2022

QUNO Delivers Interventions on Behalf of FWCC at IPCC's 55th Session - Impacts , Adaptation, and Vulnerability

The Quaker United Nations Office in Geneva, under the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC), is the only accredited faith-based observer organisation actively engaged at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).  From 14-27 February, the IPCC held an intergovernmental meeting to finalise a Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) of its report, Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

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