In recognition of the impact of COVID-19 on the world and global peace and security, the United Nations (UN) Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO) has convened a series of conversations that have welcomed UN staff working at both the country level and headquarters level to share insights on their understanding of peacebuilding in the context of the pandemic. QUNO Director, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to be interviewed for such a discussion, with QUNO serving as the first civil society organization to share reflections in this series. Andrew’s conversation with Marc-André Franche, Chief of Financing for Peacebuilding Branch, touched on QUNO’s reflections on both the challenges and opportunities for peacebuilding that have come out of the pandemic, as well as ways that the UN can contribute to coordinated humanitarian, development and peace responses.
Mr. Tomlinson emphasized that we are all facing a global crisis that has exposed the fragility of economic and political structures and has been further complicated by the challenges of isolation and a lack of international consensus on a unified way forward. Despite this, it is important to recognize opportunities to promote cooperation and collaboration within the United Nations and at the local level. Andrew said that for QUNO, “we see the heart of this discussion being about finding effective ways to align the humanitarian response of the UN and other actors with longer-term peace and development goals.” This means connecting the short-term response to COVID-19 with the longer-term goals of sustainable peace and development.
When considering ways for the UN to contribute to a coordinated response to the pandemic, Andrew noted the importance of prioritizing inclusive, conflict-sensitive and risk-informed approaches in response to COVID-19. This recommendation has also been affirmed in the International Day of Peace Statement coordinated by QUNO and is a call to action for the international community by over 170 Peacebuilding organizations.
QUNO appreciates the opportunity to have participated in the series and looks forward to our continued partnership with the Peacebuilding Support Office. If you would like to see the recording of the conversation, please watch it here.