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

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

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