Areas of Work

Peace and Development

Peace is not only an enabler of development; it is a development objective in itself.  QUNO's approach to peace and stability, in the context of sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is rooted in the acknowledgment of violence as a fundamental dimension of human suffering. The need to address the drivers of violence is most clear in the case of societies impacted by chronic instability and violent conflict, where development objectives cannot be achieved without paying attention to issues such as governance, strengthening institutions, and inclusion, as well as a range of external factors. However, the universal nature of the new goal framework requires us to consider approaches to promoting peace across all societies.

Ongoing Activities

  • QUNO is working in coordination with civil society organizations from around the world to promote  recognition of the central role of peace and stability in the new framework for sustainable development. This includes hosting events, making presentations, bilateral discussions with member states and UN officials, and strategy coordination.

Recent Timeline Events

November 2018

QUNO brings attention to peacebuilding issues at UN meetings on the Sahel

During meetings held on November 13-14, Member States and UN actors came together to discuss strategies for peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the Sahel region. This began with the annual session of the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC), a full day, interactive meeting that focused on themes of partnerships, and the role of women and youth in peacebuilding in the Sahel. The annual session was then followed the next day with a joint half-day meeting of the Peacebuilding Commission and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) as it held a discussion centered on the topic of the linkages between climate change and challenges for peacebuilding and sustaining peace in the region.

QUNO joined a small number of organizations who spoke at the PBC’s annual session, with New York Director, Andrew Tomlinson, representing the organization. Joining Member States and UN colleagues as they reflected on the UN Support Plan for the Sahel, Mr. Tomlinson reminded participants of the centrality of inclusion in the development and implementation of strategies for peace. He noted that “the emphasis…on the need to have a single, shared theory of change for external accompaniment for the people of the Sahel is vital, but while moving to consensus and coherence from the top down is important, we also cannot forget the need to build our analysis from the bottom up, to involve affected communities, including women and youth, in our understanding of the drivers and dynamics of the situation.”

As the only civil society organization to participate in the joint PBC-ECOSOC meeting, QUNO brought forward reflections on the impact of peacebuilding for discussions on and strategies to address climate change. Mr. Tomlinson shared that, “this morning we have heard a lot about resilience – ways of supporting communities to be more robust in the face of stress. (…) And what a peacebuilding lens provides here to the climate change discussion is the insight that resilience is also enhanced by accompanying communities and societies in supporting their ability to process and transform climate-related disagreements, disputes and grievances. In this way, part of the support needed is to identify what capacities exist within these communities for dispute resolution and mediation, including the important role of women, and then to provide training and resources to grow those endogenous resources.”

QUNO looks forward to continuing its engagement with these bodies to support sustainable peacebuilding policy development and implementation that addresses key drivers of conflict and fragility and includes a diversity of voices – particularly affected communities.

To watch QUNO’s intervention at the PBC, please view this link, beginning at 1:32:34.

To watch QUNO’s intervention at the joint PBC/ECOSOC meeting, please view this link, beginning at 2:34:40.

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November 2018

Integrating Human Rights, Nonviolent Action & Peacebuilding to Sustain Peace

This panel, organized by ​the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Berghof Foundation and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) during Geneva Peace Week, discussed how we can integrate human rights, nonviolent action and peacebuilding to sustain peace by bridging the silos and shifting the mindset of how civil society participates through nonviolent action and peacebuilding.

Examples of how this is done came from practitioners as well as policy level experts:

  • Veronique Dudouet, Program Director for Conflict Transformation Research, Berghof
  • Lisa Schirch, Research Director, Toda Peace Institute
  • Millicent Otieno, Founder and the Director of Local Capacities for Peace International
  • Shaazka Beyerle, Senior Research Advisor, Program on Nonviolent Action, United States Institute of Peace
  • Florence Foster, Quaker United Nations Office representative for Peace and Disarmament

All agreed that to leverage true transformation towards sustaining peace, the complementarity of the human rights legal framework, political/elite peacebuilding processes and social movements needs to be acknowledged and put into practice at all levels.

The full article is available below (PDF document).


QUNO Geneva through its Peace and Disarmament Programme continues to promote integrated action between peacebuilding and human rights actors on the ground and in the UN system. A pilot initiate notably brought together both peacebuilding and human rights civil society organisations to interact and engage in the UPR process and to promote input by UN Peace and Security agencies to the process and increased use of UPR outputs and awareness of implementation processes in the work of those UN agencies. Similar follow-up projects are being developed.

The full report of the pilot imitative is available below (hyperlink).

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