Resources for:

Peacebuilding & Prevention of Violent Conflict

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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April 2020

QUNO and PBSO convene a discussion on the impact of COVID-19 and the Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative

On 16 April, the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO), in partnership with the United Nations (UN) Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), convened an off-the-record virtual discussion with peacebuilding organization representatives from throughout the world. The discussion addressed two interrelated themes: firstly, the Peacebuilding Fund’s (PBF) annual Gender and Youth Promotion Initiative (GYPI) funding calls; and, secondly, the impacts of COVID-19 on peacebuilding. This document provides an overview of the key themes, issues and ideas that emerged during the discussion, with no attribution to participants given the off-the-record nature of the meeting.

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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

QUNO participates on AFSC-led panel on restricted civic space at annual Peace Con event

Focusing on the theme, “Seizing the Moment for Peace in a Disrupted World,” the annual Alliance for Peacebuilding gathering, Peace Con, provided a timely opportunity for convening the peacebuilding community to explore a range of issues impacting the field, such as the challenge of closing civic space. QUNO NY’s UN Representative for Peacebuilding participated in the American Friends Service Committee’s panel on this issue, under the theme of “Unrestricting Space for Peacebuilding and Social Justice.”

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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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April 2018

Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace

This report brings together the learning from a project undertaken from February 2017 to April 2018 to explore the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) as a vehicle for better linking human rights and sustaining peace. The aim of this project was to contribute to overcoming the fragmentation within the United Nations (UN) and promoting the value of integrated action between peacebuilding and human rights actors on the ground and in the UN system by using the UPR to explore present practice and untapped potential within a specific process. This report is intended to provide input to the discussions following the Secretary-General’s Report to the General Assembly on Sustaining Peace1 and to consideration of how to take this work forward in the UN. 

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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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January 2018

Threats to United States Support for the United Nations: An Overview

The international community of Friends set up the Quaker UN offices 70 years ago to support the United Nations (UN) in its work to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war”. 

Recent proposals from the new US administration and from the US Congress to reduce the country’s engagement with the UN could damage its ability to carry out its life-saving work. These proposals include draft Executive Orders and legislation in the House and Senate proposing significant funding cuts and other forms of disengagement with the UN. Building on such legislation, in March, the White House released a proposed budget for 2017 that calls for reductions in financial support to the UN budget and peacekeeping operations, and for the end of support of UN climate change programs.

Global military spending is $1.6 trillion, dwarfing the $8 billion UN peacekeeping budget and total UN-related spending of $48 billion. While the US is the largest financial contributor to the United Nations, its annual total contribution to the UN and its agencies represents only 0.1% of the total Federal Budget. Cuts in US funding would put at risk the UN’s important work to address the most critical and pressing issues facing the world.

While it remains to be seen if or how the various draft bills, draft Executive Orders, and proposed White House budget will move forward, the existence of such measures shows the growing uncertain environment facing the UN and global efforts for peace more broadly. 

QUNO has produced the below background document, which will be updated as appropriate, to provide additional information and resources to learn more about this pressing issue.

For those in the United States, FCNL, the Better World Campaign and the UN Association of the USA provide avenues for action in support of the UN, including ways to contact legislators.

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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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