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High Level Policy Engagement

May 2020

QUNO Directors' Letter on the Impact of COVID-19

“We hold in the light those made ill by the new virus, their families and friends, and the dedicated people caring for all of us.” (…) “In the midst of rapid change, QUNO staff will continue to work quietly with international policymakers, guided by Quaker principles of peace, truth, justice, equality, stewardship and simplicity, and upheld by your encouragement and support.”

In this letter, the Directors of our New York and Geneva offices reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on peace, multilateralism and Quaker work at the United Nations.

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April 2020

Towards a people-centered and sustainable approach to COVID-19

The UN was born out of the global crisis of the second world war. Now, 75 years later, another crisis faces us. How can we both reaffirm the Charter commitment to collective action and bring to this crisis the lessons we have learned about offering integrated support in partnership with the communities we accompany, leaving no one behind? In this statement, QUNO New York provides key messages to support the UN and its membership as they seek to respond to the ongoing global health and peace crisis caused by the spread of COVID-19.

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March 2020

In & Around the UN

Read QUNO New York's March 2020 newsletter, In & Around the UN, featuring articles on:

  • Bridging the Gap between Peace and Human Rights
  • Civil-Society UN Prevention Platform Launches a Discussion Series on Prevention
  • Future of the Peacebuilding Fund

and more from New York.

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December 2019

QUNO NY Director addresses the annual session of the Peacebuilding Commission

Every year, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) holds an annual session that brings together UN and Member State colleagues to focus on timely and key peacebuilding challenges and opportunities. This year's meeting, held on 4 December, focused on peacebuilding in Africa, particularly in the Sahel, Lake Chad Basin and Mano River Union regions. Key issues in focus included the transborder threats of armed extremism, underdevelopment, climate change and gender-based violence. As in past years, QUNO was one of a small number of civil society organizations that participated, lending our voice and expertise to this UN discussion.

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October 2019

In & Around the UN

Read QUNO New York's newsletter, In & Around the UN, featuring articles on:

  • Opening of the High-Level Political Forum
  • The Quaker Peace & Social Witness visit to New York
  • QUNO's participation in New York Yearly Meeting summer sessions

and more from New York.

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September 2019

People, Planet…and Peace: A shared statement by peacebuilding organizations

21 September marks the International Day of Peace, which was established in 1981 by a unanimous resolution in the UN’s General Assembly. To mark the day, QUNO and over 100 additional peacebuilding organizations from throughout the world issued a statement to United Nations Member States that brings attention to peace concerns.

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September 2019

QUNO NY Director speaks at high-level panel discussion on peace and political transitions

On 25 September, QUNO’s NY Director, Andrew Tomlinson, spoke at a high-level panel discussion arranged in the sidelines of the 74th Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. The Ministerial level event, Delivering on Peace: Peace and Political Transitions, held at UN headquarters and convened by the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Kenya to the UN, examined country-specific approaches to targeting the root causes of violence and furthering the peacebuilding and conflict prevention agendas.

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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 remark, 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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September 2018

Development and Security Rely on Peace, Justice and Inclusion: Statement by Peacebuilding Organizations

September 21 marks the International Day of Peace, which was established in 1981 by a unanimous resolution in the UN’s General Assembly. To mark the day, QUNO and over 80 additional peacebuilding organizations from throughout the world issued a statement to United Nations Member States that brings attention to peace concerns.

The statement calls on governments and the international community to:

  • Fully embrace the commitments to peace in the 2030 Agenda
  • Reaffirm a commitment to human rights, the foundation for human dignity and just societies
  • Foster social resilience by strengthening inclusion and addressing inequality
  • Think local and act global: recommit to multilateralism as a safeguard for the most vulnerable
  • Protect and support civil society in fostering sustainable peace

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September 2018

In & Around the UN

Read QUNO New York's quarterly newsletter, In & Around the UN, featuring articles on:

  • The newly established QUNO Alumni Network (QAN)
  • Shared security
  • Integrating human rights and sustaining peace

...and more from New York.

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March 2018

The Peacebuilding Commission: Purpose, work, and opportunity

The International Peace Institute (IPI) and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), with support from the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), convened a half-day workshop on March 16, 2018, to contribute to advancements in, and the ongoing work of, the Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) and its membership. The workshop, which included approximately forty participants, provided an off-the-record space for PBC members to continue to strengthen their understanding of peacebuilding, including best practices and lessons learned for policy development; identify strategies and opportunities to build upon progress made in the PBC; address new or ongoing challenges that impact the Commission’s work; and reflect on and identify the capacities needed to strengthen the PBC. The below key issues emerged from the discussion:

1. Peacebuilding must be informed by and maintain a focus on the field, measuring success by impact at the country or regional level. To support this goal, policymakers will benefit from a strengthened practical understanding of factors that foster peace and of how to translate this knowledge into policy and programming.

2. Progress in the PBC, combined with increased attention on the Commission’s work, has reaffirmed its relevance as the central UN body for peacebuilding and the potential of its unique convening power.

3. The PBC’s increasingly flexible working methods, particularly with regards to country situations, provide both opportunities and challenges for countries as they build peace.

4. Recognition of the peace and development nexus needs to result in greater coherence and coordination of peacebuilding policy across the UN system, which can in part be supported by work carried out by the PBC.

5. Sustained financing for short and long-term programming is critical in assisting states to build peace, and more initiative should be taken to explore innovative financing and partnership opportunities.

IPI and QUNO look forward to a continued partnership that will allow our organizations to provide further support to the PBC and its membership by holding a series of strategic and output driven discussions exploring the above-mentioned topics, among others. Our organizations will continue to work with UN and Member State stakeholders to develop and provide a forum for frank discussion on issues related to the PBC’s work, with a focus on innovative thinking, idea sharing and peer-to-peer learning.

Full meeting note is below.

For more information, contact Megan Schmidt, UN Representative at the Quaker UN Office  (MSchmidt@afsc.org), and Lesley Connolly, Senior Policy Analyst at IPI (connolly@ipinst.org).

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September 2017

International Day of Peace Statement

September 21 marks the International Day of Peace, which was established in 1981 by a unanimous resolution in the UN’s General Assembly. To mark the day, QUNO and 131 peacebuilding organizations from throughout the world issued a statement to United Nations Member States that brings attention to peace concerns.

As noted by QUNO NY’s Director, Andrew Tomlinson, “while international attention lurches from crisis to crisis, global peace-building organizations focus on long term work to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies. On the International Day of Peace, we encourage governments gathering in New York for the start of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly to join us in these efforts to sustainably address the root causes of violent conflict around the world.”

The statement calls for Member States to:

  • Fully embrace the commitments to peace in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Balance national efforts with a focus on external drivers of peace, justice and inclusion
  • Mainstream prevention, including in development, humanitarian action, and crisis response
  • Protect and support civil society inclusion

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July 2017

QUNO Director delivers a statement during the UN High-Level event on Human Security and its contribution to the Agenda 2030

"The human security approach is instrumental to sustainable development, inclusive peace, justice and the well-being and dignity of all people and it is, in fact, central to the 2030 Agenda" - UN Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohamed

QUNO New York's Director, Andrew Tomlinson, delivered a statement at the UN High-Level Event on "Human Security and its Contribution to Agenda 2030" held on 7 July in New York. Organised by the UN Human Security Unit in close collaboration with the Friends of Human Security, the event provided an opportunity for participants to share experiences and best practices on how human security contributes towards implementing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals. 

This high-level meeting was timely as the world currently faces multiple humanitarian crises, with over two million people displaced or living in conflict affected areas. The theme of the meeting emphasized resilient societies which are at the core of the 2030 agenda, promoting a world “free from poverty, hunger, disease and want”. 

A number of UN actors and Member State representatives spoke on the panel, as well as Thera Boubacar from the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP), a member of the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC). QUNO also participated from the floor, as the only civil society organization formally requested to speak during the discussion. Mr. Tomlinson echoed the timeliness of the event, saying "agenda 2030, which all states have committed to, provides a roadmap, which is in line with the human security approach and supports resilience.” He took the opportunity to remind the room that the 2030 Agenda includes a commitment by all member states to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and that the biggest challenge being faced is uneven implementation. Additionally, he brought attention to the continued challenge of the shrinking of space for civil society working to advance these agendas. 

In his statement, he noted that "We are at a critical point where precedents and patterns are being set," and called for all stakeholders to urgently recommit to the peace mandate within the 2030 Agenda, which provides a clear road map by which humanitarian and development objectives can be achieved. 

Mr. Tomlinson’s oral statement can be found at 1:56:09

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June 2017

In & Around the UN

Our New York office is happy to share our most recent Newsletter, "In & Around the UN," featuring articles on our recent visit to the Middle East; QUNO's participation in the Women's March; reflections on Somali refugees, and more. 

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June 2017

Statement at the UNDP-DPA Joint Programme High-Level Event

On 19 June, the Quaker UN Representative for the Prevention of Violent Conflict Program, Rachel Madenyika, made a statement on behalf of the Civil Society - UN Prevention Platform. The event was attended by the Member States, UN actors, and Civil Society representatives. The Quaker UN Office was the only civil society organisation formally asked to speak at this event, organized by the UNDP-DPA Joint Programme on Building National Capacities for Conflict Prevention (the Joint Programme), which works to develop and implement conflict prevention initiatives in 45 different countries. 

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May 2017

Remarks on Reconciliation, Beirut

On a recent visit to Beirut, Andrew Tomlinson, Director of QUNO New York, was invited to offer some reflections on reconciliation to a group of experts engaged in regional humanitarian and development action.

The presentation emphasized that reconciliation is a multi-generational process, that it is applicable wherever there are divided societies (at any level of development), that it has as much to do with prevention as it does with post conflict recovery, with the future as much as the past. Furthermore, while reconciliation is intimately connected with structural issues of inclusion and social justice in the longer term, at any one point in time the key is often to identify practical and realistic actions that, while consistent with the longer term ends, can move ahead irrespective of the ebb and flow of the larger political dynamics, and that such approaches can usefully combine the application of a restorative lens to a wide range of humanitarian, development, and commercial actions.

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January 2017

Remarks at the third annual symposium on the role of religion and faith-based organizations in international affairs

"If we are to faithfully work for peace, justice and inclusion, then we must ourselves act peacefully, justly and inclusively"

On 23 January, 2017, the QUNO New York Director  was a speaker at the Third Annual Symposium on the Role of Religion and Faith-Based Organizations in International Affairs, on the topic of "Just, Inclusive and Sustainable Peace". 
Governments and other development actors made ground-breaking  commitments to fostering peace under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: the challenge now lies in implementation.

The QUNO intervention set out what will be needed:
- Normatively, to stay focused on the core issues, the heart of sustainable peace
- At a local and national level, to uphold inclusive national planning, implementation and reporting
- At a global level, to foster external support for peace, justice and inclusion, and
- At home and in our own organizations, to reflect critically on our own processes and actions

Video of the presentation can be found here, starting at minute 28:25.

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September 2016

Peacebuilding Statement for International Day of Peace

In honour of the International Day of Peace, QUNO and peacebuilding organisations from around the world have issued a shared statement to UN member states on the importance of embracing the new global framework for peace. 

Over the last year, states have made significant new commitments to addressing the root causes of conflict and displacement, in both the 2030 Agenda and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. The statement calls on governments to embrace this new mandate and to mainstream peace policy, implement peace at home, foster peace around the world, support funding for peace and to protect and support civil society inclusion.

 

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