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

June 2024

QUNO advocates for ethical climate action at climate negotiations

QUNO’s Human Impact of Climate Change (HICC) team, Lindsey and Anna, spent the past two weeks at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Bonn, Germany, advocating for urgent, equitable, near-term available-at-scale climate policies. Negotiations were tense and Parties disagreed over key issues on climate finance and mitigation.

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March 2024

Human Rights Council urged to promote a ‘human rights economy’

HICC Programme Assistant Anna Aguto delivers statement at the 55th Session of the Human Rights Council.

Global economic system transformation is needed to ensure businesses operate within planetary boundaries to secure a sustainable environment and protect human rights.

This was a key message from the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) at the recent 55th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC). QUNO delivered its statement on behalf of the Friends World Committee for Consultation which represents Quakers, Soka Gakkai International, the World Council of Churches and Anglican Communion.

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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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