Areas of Work

High Level Policy Engagement

Complementing its work on specific themes and countries, QUNO also engages in broader policy debates on the shape and future of peacebuilding and the prevention of violent conflict at the UN.  QUNO frequently works with leaders in peacebuilding practice around the world to bring their experience to inform UN policymaking.  QUNO is often asked to speak at both public and informal events, and will also occasionally comment publicly on subjects of particular importance to Friends.

Ongoing Activities

  • QUNO partners with a wide network of peacebuilding practitioners and think tanks around the world, bringing their expertise to inform UN debate. Combining practitioner experience with the perspectives of local voices from conflict-affected communities helps to broaden the discussion at the UN and root it in the reality of the lives of those affected by violence.
  • Since 2012, QUNO has engaged with the high-level UN discussion around the role of peace and stability in sustainable development and the successor framework to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
  • QUNO coordinates the New York Peacebuilding Group (NYPG), a gathering of organisations engaged on various peace related issues at the UN and in country.
  • QUNO is a founding member of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), together with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP), the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding (CCDP), and Interpeace. The platform aims to build bridges between International Geneva, the United Nations peacebuilding architecture in New York, and peacebuilding activities in the field. It facilitates interaction on peacebuilding between different institutions and sectors, and seeks to advance new knowledge and understanding of peacebuilding issues and contexts.
  • From time to time, QUNO engages with emerging issues and situations where its constituents are looking for information and insight on UN perspectives. For example, QUNO New York has followed the bid for Palestinian Statehood at the UN and has issued various resources on the topic.

Recent Timeline Events

January 2019

QUNO co-hosts civil society briefing with Under-Secretary-General Menéndez

To support an inclusive approach to the prevention agenda between the UN and civil society, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform held an informal, off the record meeting with Under-Secretary-General (USG) and Senior Policy Advisor, Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez, who has played a central role in Secretary-General António Guterres’s focus on prevention since she was appointed in June 2017. The meeting provided an opportunity for open and constructive dialogue on how civil society can contribute to the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda in an evolving UN system.

USG Ms. Ana Maria Menéndez briefed civil society participants on the Executive Office of the Secretary-General’s current approach towards prevention as an opportunity to strengthen the ability of all states to confront risks, including violent conflict as well as underlying causes such as climate change and human rights violations. Ms. Menéndez outlined key shortcomings of the UN system that must be addressed to fulfil the prevention agenda, emphasizing the importance of strengthening coordination at the regional level and adopting a bottom-up approach to prevention starting at the field level. The USG situated the Secretary-General’s normative and operational vision for prevention in the context of UN-wide reforms in peace and security, development and management, which commenced on 1 January, 2019. Additionally, she stressed the centrality of gender to all three reforms and that prevention would be impossible without the inclusion of women.

The discussion saw representatives from civil society organizations engaging with the USG on issues including how civil society can most effectively work with with Member States on prevention, the challenges of operationalizing prevention, and opportunities for civil society engagement arising from UN reform.

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform sees great potential in growing and developing this relationship and there is interest and demand within civil society for enhanced cooperation with the UN. We are delighted with the positive response from Ms. Menéndez’s office to engage more meaningfully with civil society. The Platform stands ready to assist in whatever way possible to nurture and grow with partnership.

Related Areas of Work

December 2018

QUNO NY Director speaks on high-level panel discussion on the role of human rights in UN reform

On 3 December, QUNO NY Director, Andrew Tomlinson, spoke as the only NGO representative on a high-level panel discussion, The place of human rights in a reformed United Nations: A transatlantic human rights dialogue, held at UN headquarters.  The panel was convened by  Switzerland and Germany as the Co-Chairs of the Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucus, the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) and Universal Rights Group (URG). 

In his remarks, Mr. Tomlinson sought to underscore that  the promotion  and protection of human rights is both the foundation of peace and security, sustainable development, and conflict prevention, and is the key force to achieving the 2030 Agenda’s aspiration of fostering peaceful, just and inclusive societies.  At this meeting, attended by member states and UN colleagues, Mr. Tomlinson reflected that, not only are human rights the backbone to prevention, sustainable peace, and sustainable development, human rights also codify our common humanity, providing the foundation for human dignity and just societies. Human rights, he said, "give us the words to say I see you, I know you, I am you, to every child, woman and man". 

The UN derives much of its relevance and legitimacy from its embrace of human rights as an organizing principle and a moral driver. QUNO is honored to have contributed to this, and future, dialogues.

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Related Areas of Work

December 2018

UN-AU Strategic Partnership and its implications for Prevention

In April of 2017, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Moussa Faki Maham, signed the Joint UN-AU Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security. The partnership has since developed a shared understanding of the root causes of conflict, collaborated closely in preventive diplomacy and inclusive mediation efforts, protected human rights, and enhanced coordination and effective utilization of early warning systems to reduce the impact of disasters. 

This month, one day after the Chairperson of the AU and the Secretary-General of the UN signed a Joint Declaration renewing their commitment to strengthening the strategic partnership, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, co-facilitated by QUNO, brought together representatives from the AU, the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and the UN Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) for an informal, off the record meeting with civil society actors, member states and the broader UN community. The conversation provided an opportunity for participants to hear more about the UN-AU strategic partnership and its vision and approaches to conflict prevention, and for the UN, AU and civil society to collectively contribute to the UN’s prevention agenda broadly.

The discussion saw speakers reflect upon examples of successful partnership between the two organizations, including in preventive mediation, support for transitioning governments and engagement of women and youth in peace processes. There was broad consensus among participants that the UN-AU partnership has seen remarkable progress since its formation in 2017 and serves as a demonstration that mutually beneficial relationships built on shared values and comparative advantages are central to the peace and security pillar of the UN. Avenues that were identified as opportunities to further strengthen the partnership included ongoing AU reform, increased collaboration with regional economic communities and enhanced monitoring of progress. All participants encouraged meaningful dialogue  with civil society in order to identify concrete avenues for strengthened civil society engagement with the partnership.

As co-facilitator of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, QUNO looks forward to continuing the conversation on how best to think innovatively about prevention and to continue to support the UN on its work on this issue. 

Related Files

Related Areas of Work