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

June 2019

QUNO facilitates discussion on the first six months of the UN development system reform

June marks the sixth month of the implementation of Secretary-General Guterres’ dynamic reform of the United Nations system. Taking effect on 1 January, 2019, the development system reform seeks to strengthen leadership, capacity, and the accountability mechanisms of the UN system to better enable it to provide essential assistance to countries in the most effective and efficient manner. 

As Co-Facilitator of the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform, QUNO hosted an informal, off-the-record meeting to support the UN development system reform process to effectively advance the Secretary-General’s prevention agenda and uphold the contribution of civil society. During the discussion, civil society, UN colleagues and member states collectively considered the impact of the development system reform on the UN and its civil society partners so far, as well as key points of progress and challenges in its implementation. 

Headway made towards the effective repositioning of the development system includes the adjustments made by staff in country teams to the new organizational structure, which positions the Resident Coordinator as lead. Another success has been the contribution of Peace and Development Advisors (PDAs) to prevention efforts at the country level within the new structure, made evident by plans to further expand the PDA program to cover more geographic regions. Meanwhile, restructuring of regional offices is set to enable stronger engagement with actors at the regional level. At the headquarters level, constructive collaboration between the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, the UN Development Program, and the newly named Development Coordination Office has played a critical role in setting the development system reform process off to a positive start.

It was agreed that the UN system has been experiencing an important stage of flux since the reform process commenced in January. However, substantial challenges remain in incentivizing more support from key actors to increase innovative financing. Other areas identified as essential to the UN’s transition included an increased focus on conflict prevention, strengthened monitoring and evaluation of country contexts, and streamlined information flow to the Resident Coordinator. UN colleagues also highlighted the importance of forming partnerships beyond those with national government to include civil society actors who often have valuable direct access to local contexts. Participants also identified a need to look at what partnerships mean in practice.

The Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform looks forward to continued constructive engagement with the UN and civil society during this critical stage of transformation to collectively support effective prevention within the reformed UN system.

Related Areas of Work

April 2019

QUNO hosts discussion on the impact of UN transitions on peacebuilding and development

Transitional periods are very sensitive and dynamic times for countries emerging from conflict, bringing hopes and concerns to places with a history of political instability and violent conflict. In the past decade, a number of UN peacekeeping missions have closed down leading countries to the next step in their transformation processes, and shifting how the UN and international community supports peacebuilding and development. 

In April at Quaker House, QUNO hosted an expert-level conversation on the impact of UN transitions on peacebuilding and development. The gathering provided an opportunity for members of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and UN colleagues to openly and constructively talk about best practices and challenges as the UN implements a cross-pillar, peacebuilding approach to transitions. The discussion also welcomed participation from a Liberian civil society organization, bringing real life perspective and experience on the impact and challenges for peace and development following the closing of the UN peacekeeping mission in Liberia – UNMIL. From this, participants also reflected on the impact of the Peacebuilding Commission's role in supporting peacebuilding approaches in those transitions. There was  consensus that there is the need for planning earlier for UN transitional processes; the critical role of inclusive national ownership; and the importance of sustaining political and financial engagement throughout and following transition processes.

This will be the first in a series of thematic conversations hosted by QUNO to support and contribute to the work of the Peacebuilding Commission and its membership, with the aim to uplift and deepen peacebuilding knowledge and experience. 

Related Areas of Work

April 2019

Conversation on the progress, challenges and opportunities for the UN’s efforts to build and sustain peace

In 2016, United Nations Member States adopted the dual resolutions on peacebuilding and sustaining peace, marking an important step in shifting the UN’s understanding of what is at the core of building and sustaining peace. This year, the UN Secretary-General will release a report that will provide updates on the progress, challenges and opportunities experienced in the past three years. The report will be a step towards developments next year, which will include the next comprehensive review of the United Nations peacebuilding architecture.  

In April, QUNO, in partnership with the Peacebuilding Support Office, hosted a conversation on the progress, challenges and opportunities for the UN’s efforts to build and sustain peace. This informal gathering provided an opportunity for conversation between civil society and United Nations colleagues to reflect on those topics, share learning and experiences on peacebuilding, consider the political and operational environments facing peacebuilding and, looking forward, identify what opportunities exist to build on progress and address known challenges. 

Conversation brought forward a range of issues, including the importance for the UN, and especially the peace and security pillar, to work more coherently; the need to improve and strengthen sustainable financing for peacebuilding; and the centrality of inclusive national ownership for building peace. Discussants also emphasized that some aspects of implementing the resolutions will take time and require long-term and behavioral change, meaning some outcomes may not be immediately visible. Looking ahead, participants noted the importance of the next review of the peacebuilding architecture and how this will be a key opportunity for taking stock of the UN’s efforts for peacebuilding and sustaining peace. 

Related Areas of Work