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.

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December 2018

QUNO Geneva seeks a Representative for Sustainable and Just Economic Systems

We have an outstanding opportunity in our unique, integrated and friendly team. We seek a committed person with excellent analytical, visioning and inter-personal skills, to scope and pilot an evolving QUNO programme at the United Nations and the World Trade Organization.

The position is presently limited by funding to finish by December 2020. Depending on the outcome of this piloting work and the funds available, QUNO may make a long-term commitment to this type of work. The position is open to Quakers and those sharing Quaker values. The closing date for applications is 7 February 2019. Applicants should follow carefully the instructions provided in the job description below.

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December 2018

QUNO at the COP 24 in Katowice, Poland

QUNO was present for the entire COP 24, in Katowice Poland.  The following article helps outline briefly the COP24 outcome.  During our time, QUNO observed the negotiations and spoke regularly with negotiators to encourage the adoption of an effective, fair and ambitious Rulebook to the Paris Agreement.  While progress was slow and rights-based language nearly absent, the work remains ongoing and QUNO will continue to engage with decision makers next year.  

In addition to the quiet diplomacy work, QUNO staff helped lead a workshop at an Interfaith Talanoa Dialogue, co-hosted and moderated a side event, Building a Spirit of Solidarity to overcome climate crisis, to an audience of some 200 people, supported the operationalization of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples’ Platform, funded and helped to facilitate a Human Rights and Climate Change Working Group Dinner, and organized an Interfaith Trip to Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

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Event of Note
December 2018

The adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration: A QUNO guide for Friends

On 10th December 2018, after a two year negotiation process, States formally adopted the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakech. On 19th December, the Compact was then endorsed with a vote at the General Assembly in New York. 

As an international agreement determined to enhance cooperation on migration policy, the Global Compact provides an unprecedented opportunity to acknowledge that all countries are places of origin, transit and destination, and that States have a shared responsibility in their approach to people on the move. Despite the small number of votes against and “withdrawals” at the General Assembly, and the domination within the surrounding conversation of a racist and xenophobic rhetoric, the Compact is nevertheless an achievement of multilateralism, and deserves to be celebrated.

The reasons it endured some diplomatic difficulty in the run up to its adoption are the same reasons that it remains such a necessary and vital agreement – because the human rights of migrants need to be acknowledge, advocated for and protected, irregardless of the political climate, and existing legal standards that govern international migration must be upheld and respected.

This briefing provides a short guide to the Compact, offering an explanation of the final text, a timeline of how it was developed, some suggestions of how Friends can use the document to support their witness and their activism, and a description of what QUNO’s next steps will be. 

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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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Event of Note
November 2018

Foundations for Implementation: the launch of a new publication for States for the Global Compact for Migration

This December, representatives from the Human Rights and Refugees programme will travel to Marrakesh to attend the 2018 Intergovernmental Conference to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

There they will launch a new publication, entitled 'Foundations for Implementation', a guide to assist States in the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration. The publication brings together explicit existing recommendations drawn from the UN's Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies presented in line with the Compact's 23 objectives. The intention is that this publication will offer authoritative guidance to assist States in meeting the agreed objectives through practical actions. The hope is that this will contribute to a shift in migration governance, and the support of an ambitious, effective and human rights based implementation of the Global Compact.

On Sunday 9th December QUNO will be launching 'Foundations for Implementation' at a side event at Marrakesh entitled 'Advising for Action: Expert Technical Advice and Guidance for Implementation from the UN Special Procedures and Treaty Bodies.

A digital version of Foundation for Implementation is available at the end of this post. 

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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).

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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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November 2018

Nuclear Disarmament or Nuclear Arms Race: The World at Crossroads

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) organised a panel discussion on “Nuclear Disarmament or Nuclear Arms Race: The World at Crossroads” during the Geneva Peace Week featuring:

  • Marc FINAUD, Geneva Centre for Security Policy
  • Peter HERBY, head of “Petersburg Partnerships”
  • Susanne HAMMER, disarmament expert at the Permanent Mission of Austria to United Nations in Geneva.
  • Aidan LIDDLE, UK Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

The panel discussed the emerging landscape in nuclear multilateral non-proliferation and disarmament agreements and regimes, threatened by growing divisions and challenges while global geo-political events have given these developments a sense of urgency.

Looking ahead, the panellists also looked at how to enhance the tentative policy level pushes towards, hopefully, more productive discussions towards nuclear disarmament through the adoption of Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) in 2017, the Conference on Disarmament initiating more substantive work within five thematic subsidiary bodies earlier this year, and last but not least, the UN Secretary General’s new Agenda on Disarmament published in May 2018.

The full article is available below. 

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QUNO Geneva through its Peace and Disarmament Programme continues to explore how mutual trust and cooperative dialogue can uphold the multilateral system to address nuclear disarmament. Alongside this work, the Programme is building bridging initiatives between human rights, disarmament and private sectors in order to better leverage opportunities in respective areas of work towards the common aim of a more peaceful world. 

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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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