Areas of Work

Disarmament and Arms Control

Over its history QUNO has focused much of its peace-related effort on fostering disarmament negotiations at the UN, for example on chemical and nuclear weapons.

By the mid-1990s QUNO also recognised that tremendous damage to communities and societies was being done by conventional weapons, particularly small arms and landmines, and worked to raise awareness of this problem and seek effective ways to tackle it at international level.

From the late 1990s QUNO worked with the Graduate Institute and UNIDIR as the Geneva Forum, seeking to tackle the problem of trafficking in small arms and light weapons by providing expert input, alternative perspectives and off the record spaces for dialogue and idea generation that could feed into these formal negotiations. The aim of this work was to provide a framework that could encourage and guide national efforts to halt the illicit trade in these weapons.

Up until December 2014 QUNO, through the Geneva Forum, together the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) ran the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) Network based in Geneva to coordinate activities related to the promotion of the Treaty and its implementation. GCSP takes this work forward with new partners.

At present QUNO tracks development in multilateral nuclear disarmament and international discussions and developments around drones and lethal autonomous weapons systems (LAWS).

Recent Timeline Events

November 2018

Nuclear Disarmament or Nuclear Arms Race: The World at Crossroads

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) organised a panel discussion on “Nuclear Disarmament or Nuclear Arms Race: The World at Crossroads” during the Geneva Peace Week featuring:

  • Marc FINAUD, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Peter HERBY, head of “Petersburg Partnerships”
  • Susanne HAMMER, disarmament expert at the Permanent Mission of Austria to United Nations in Geneva.
  • Aidan LIDDLE, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The panel discussed the emerging landscape in nuclear multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament agreements and regimes, threatened by growing divisions and challenges while global geo-political events have given these developments a sense of urgency.

Looking ahead, the panellists also looked at how to enhance the tentative policy level pushes towards, hopefully, more productive discussions towards nuclear disarmament through the adoption of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017, the Conference on Disarmament initiating more substantive work within five thematic subsidiary bodies earlier this year, and last but not least, the UN Secretary General’s new Agenda on Disarmament published in May 2018.

The full article is available below. 

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QUNO Geneva through its Peace and Disarmament Programme continues to explore how mutual trust and cooperative dialogue can uphold the multilateral system to address nuclear disarmament. Alongside this work, the Programme is building bridging initiatives between human rights, disarmament and private sectors in order to better leverage opportunities in respective areas of work towards the common aim of a more peaceful world. 

Related Files

Related Areas of Work

January 2016

VIDEO: Diane Hendrick talks about our Peace & Disarmament programme

In this video, excerpted from a longer film shown at the Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) World Plenary Meeting held in Peru in January 2016, Diane Hendrick explains the work of our Peace & Disarmament programme. 

The Peace and Disarmament programme grows out of a long Quaker history of working for peace, understanding that this means more than the absence of overt violence and has fundamentally to do with social and economic justice and political participation. Where these are denied, the roots of violence can be found. 

Related Areas of Work

November 2014

QUNO chairs event on drones, protection and transparency

In November, QUNO chaired an event of the Geneva Forum entitled New Warfare Challenges: Drone Operations and Protection of Civilians. Moderated by Diane Hendrick, QUNO’s Representative for Peace and Disarmament, the panel consisted of Baher Amzy from the Centre for Constitutional Rights and Kate Hofstra from Every Casualty Worldwide led the discussions.

The discussion addressed the effects on communities of living under sustained drone presence and how the fear of becoming the next victim of a drone strike affects people’s willingness to attend cultural events, public gatherings or even school. Impacts include post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, stress, emotional breakdowns, and physical ailments that that can also have long term effects on societies as well as individuals. In addition, lack of transparency in the use of drones presents a significant obstacle to measuring the civilian impact of drone strikes and issues relating to casualty recording were also discussed at the event.

The panel attracted over 60 State and NGO representatives to address these underexplored issues.

Related Areas of Work