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

March 2019

UN Reform in Practice: Tangible Impact On Prevention?

As of 1 January 2019, Secretary-General Guterres’s hard-won reform proposals officially took effect. To strengthen the delivery of its mandate, the United Nations has introduced sweeping changes to the Peace and Security Architecture, the Development System, and the Management System. These reforms are designed to strengthen coherence within the system, make it more field-focused, and support the implementation of sustaining peace and prevention. 
This month, to support an inclusive approach to prevention, and as a follow up to the 2018 series, the Platform held its first of a series of events with UN and civil society to discuss the real and practical impacts of the reforms.
This meeting provided a space for civil society to reflect, two months into its official implementation, on the impact of the peace and security architecture reform on the UN and its civil society partners and to consider concrete areas for civil society to better engage with the UN to advance preventive approaches within the new structures. Civil society heard from UN colleagues playing key roles in the implementation of the reforms on the major shifts that have taken place since the start of the reform process, the practicalities of the remodeled regional structures, as well as expectations for opportunities and challenges moving forward. 

Participants reflected on the reform’s potential to contribute to the effective implementation of  the Secretary General’s prevention agenda and agreed that key to this will be better operationalization of links between prevention, peace and security and development. The group considered how the reforms can best strengthen the capacity for prevention at the field level and the role of the reinvigorated Regional Coordinator will play in this. It was agreed that the reform represent an opportunity to bolster the narrative around prevention so that it is more welcomed by member states and to strengthen recognition among peace and security actors of the importance of meaningful engagement of local actors, including women and youth, at all levels.

The second part of this event series will be held in early April and will consider the implications of, and opportunities arising from, the reform of the UN’s Development System.

Related Areas of Work

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.

Related Files

Related Areas of Work