Timeline

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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November 2018

The role of decentralized renewable energy in peacebuilding

Can energy ever be used as a tool for peacebuilding instead of a cause of conflict? What peacebuilding tools are already at our disposal for reducing the likelihood of violent conflict related to energy extraction and natural resource stress related to climate change?  

This QUNO publication by Isobel Edwards explores the role of decentralized renewable energy as a peacebuilding tool, in global efforts for a net-zero carbon energy transition. 

Click below to download the full publication.

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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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October 2018

IPCC presents its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C

In October, the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) met in Incheon, South Korea, to present its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C, and to work with States to finalize the Report’s Summary for Policy Makers. The full Report took nearly two years to prepare, included 91 authors and review editors from 40 countries, contributions from thousands of expert and government reviewers, and cited over 6,000 scientific references. 

QUNO was an expert reviewer and was present at the IPCC meeting in Incheon. We worked with scientists to engage negotiators, and made four interventions to strengthen what we considered significant research findings in the Report. This included findings that human behavior change, including diets, consumption and land-use, would make profound contributions to reducing GHG emissions, and reduce a reliance on geo-engineering that remain unproven on a large scale. QUNO calls for personal witness alongside political engagement with decision makers, to ensure humanity acts in time to protect the most vulnerable, and all future generations, from catastrophic climate change. Our report is available below.

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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.

As noted by QUNO NY's Director, Andrew Tomlinson, “in many cases, governments are pursuing security using militarized approaches, either in the absence of, or in isolation from, policies that decrease exclusion and inequality – core drivers of conflict. If we are to have a hope of eliminating extreme poverty, fostering peaceful and prosperous societies, and addressing the root causes of conflict, then governments need to urgently re-align their priorities."

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

Additionally, QUNO distributed a press release on the statement, which was shared widely with media contacts covering the United Nations.

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September 2018

Joint NGO Statement delivered at the 39th Human Rights Council concerning the Global Compact on Migration

On Tuesday 11th September QUNO delivered a joint NGO statement during the general debate on the first oral update from Michelle Bachelet, the new High Commissioner for Human Rights.  

The statement focused on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and called on states and the High Commissioner to make concrete efforts to ensure a human rights based implementation, follow up and review of the compact.

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September 2018

Statement delivered at the 39th Human Rights Council concerning the arbitrary detention of migrants

On Wednesday 12th September QUNO delivered a statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on arbitrary detention, focusing on the revision and update of Deliberation 5, on deprivation of liberty of migrants.

The statement focused on the clarity on criteria for lawful use of immigration, and highlighted elements of the deliberation focused on the prohibition of the deprivation of liberty of children, the duty of individualised assessment, and the presumption of alternatives to detention. It tied these aspects of the Deliberation to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular migration, and asked the Working Group to consider how they will work with States to support and advise them on the implementation of the Compact.

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September 2018

"We only have the Global Compact for Migration because of the witness of Human Rights defenders" : QUNO speaks at an OHCHR side event

On Thursday 27th September at the 39th Human Rights Council, Human Rights and Refugees representative, Laurel Townhead, spoke at a side event on migrants' Human Rights defenders, organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and sponsored by the Permanent Mission of Paraguay. Laurel centered her presentation on the crucial role Human Rights defenders play in offering a counter narrative of compassion in an increasingly xenophobic global climate. She stressed how vital the witness of migrants' Human Rights defenders has been in creating the Global Compact for Migration, and how important it is now to celebrate its adoption, to ensure it has tangible power in improving the lives of people on the move. QUNO will be at the Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh this December, where the compact will be formally adopted.

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September 2018

QUNO delivers statement at the 39th HRC, calling for a shift in mindset and practice to improve prevention through the UPR

In September, QUNO delivered a statement during the 39th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council, calling for a shift in mindset and practice to improve prevention through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process. As human rights violations are often at the root of destructive conflict, the UPR constitutes an important entry point to collaboratively address violations, that if left unaddressed, could lead to violent conflict. However, the lack of participation by peacebuilders throughout the process as well as concerns about the motives of closer coordination across silos undermines the effectiveness of the UPR to sustain peace. The full text of the statement is available below.

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August 2018

The SDGs and Prevention: Beyond the Obvious

On 1 August, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was pleased to convene a meeting entitled “The SDGs and Prevention: Beyond the Obvious”. Held a few weeks after the High Level Political Forum, the UN platform for reviewing the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), this meeting provided a timely opportunity for civil society, Member States and UN agencies to discuss innovative ways of doing prevention within the framework of the SDG). 

Held at Quaker House, this event brought together various actors to discuss practical examples of how to do prevention work in the context of the SDGs. Participants agreed that for prevention to be successful, it must be both permanent and intentional, and carried out far in advance of the onset of a conflict. Architecture and urban design have the potential to be tools for effective and efficient prevention. Likewise, it was agreed that best practices from work in the field of disaster-risk reduction, as well as public health, nuclear non-proliferation (please click here  to see more about Social Science Research Council’s recently released report- “Making Prevention Everyone’s Business: Lessons Learned from Disaster Risk Reduction, Nuclear Nonproliferation, and Public Health”) and community engagement with equity at its heart, all offer potential lessons for prevention. 

Established in 2016, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform aims to support the UN’s prevention agenda through strengthening coordination and information sharing between civil society organizations (CSOs) and the UN at all levels. The Platform looks forward to continuing the conversation on how best to think innovatively about prevention and to continue to support the UN on its work on this issue. 

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July 2018

QUNO Participates in 2018 FGC Gathering Quaker Truth Talks

QUNO NY's Director and Quaker UN Representative, Andrew Tomlinson, was invited to give one of three Quaker Truth Talks at a plenary session of the 2018 Friends General Conference Gathering in Toledo, Ohio. Andrew joined Friends Paula Palmer and Oskar Castro with a presentation entitled "From Spirit to Action: Examining the Roots of Quaker UN Work".

Weaving together the strands of the history of Quaker social action, the work of QUNO and personal transformation, the presentation concludes: "..the things that Quakers do well in social action have their roots in Quaker spiritual practice, and  the fruits of that practice, in the qualities of insight, fellow-feeling, groundedness, integrity, inclusivity, hope and love, are the same things that have characterized Friends’ unique contribution over hundreds of years.."

The video for Andrew's presentation can be found here

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July 2018

QUNO publishes ‘Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration – Paper #4 Compilation of Agreed Language’.

QUNO is working to support the adoption of an ambitious, effective and human rights based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.  The Compact is the opportunity for States to strengthen the implementation of International Human Rights Law and build on the commitments they have made in the past. 

With this in mind, 'Paper #4' contains a compilation of agreed language that relates to the human rights of migrants from treaty law, General Assembly resolutions and Human Rights Council resolutions.  It has been compiled to provide an easy-to-use source to assist State representatives in ensuring that the Global Compact for Migration does not fall below or undermine existing standards.

This paper is part of QUNO’s paper series, “Towards a Human Rights Based Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration,” a set of contributions to the global compact on migration process.  You can find the other papers in the link below. 

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June 2018

Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace - The Role of the Universal Periodic Review

On 26 June, QUNO, in collaboration with the Permanent Missions of Germany and Switzerland, who co-chair the cross-regional Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses in New York and Geneva, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), co-hosted a discussion on “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace – The Role of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR)”. As the 2016 sustaining peace resolutions adopted by the Security Council and General Assembly, and the Secretary-General’s 2018 Report on the same subject, call upon Member States and the UN to consider the human rights dimension of peacebuilding, this event provided a timely opportunity for civil society, UN agencies, and Member States to discuss how the UPR can contribute to better integrating human rights and sustaining peace. 

Hosted at UN Headquarters, this high-level meeting began with a presentation by Florence Foster of QUNO-Geneva on a recent study entitled “Integrating Human Rights and Sustaining Peace” exploring how the UPR is an inclusive, universal and the least contentious Human Rights Council process, and how its recommendations can be developed and implemented to prevent human rights violations that if left unaddressed could lead to conflict. The report recommends greater attention to be paid to conflict analysis throughout the UPR process, a shift in mindset away from the fragmented perception of human rights as a prerogative of Geneva versus peacebuilding and security as a prerogative of New York, and the levelling of dialogue spaces for human rights conversations addressing sustaining peace matters. 

The presentation was followed by an interactive panel discussion including Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) Andrew Gilmour, Head of the OHCHR Office in New York, ASG Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Head of the Peacebuilding Support Office, and Katy Thompson, Governance & Peace Building, Conflict Prevention Team Leader at the UN Development Programme, as well as the Permanent Representative of Guatemala to the United Nations, Ambassador Jorge Skinner-Klee. 

QUNO looks forward to its continued collaboration with all actors on better integrating human rights and sustaining peace, in particular with both Human Rights/Conflict Prevention Caucuses. 

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June 2018

What's Next in Peacebuilding?

Recent developments in peacebuilding policy have given us new global commitments, such as the commitment to foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies in the 2030 Agenda, and the Sustaining Peace resolutions. Yet these commitments are extremely broad, presenting significant challenges in follow-up and implementation. If peace is everything, then how does a government, a civil society group, a donor or an agency prioritize between different programmatic, budgetary and policy alternatives? 

QUNO hosted a group of peacebuilding organizations from 18-20 June for our annual gathering on “What’s Next in Peacebuilding?”. The meeting, which encouraged new insights from peacebuilding leaders around the world, set the stage for an informal discussion and exchange of views. Participants addressed the central issues of peacebuilding from the perspectives of practitioners, donors, and policy experts. 

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June 2018

Strengthening a comprehensive and inclusive approach to countering incitement and preventing violent extremism

On 25 June 2018, the Civil Society-UN Prevention Platform was pleased to convene a meeting on “Strengthening a Comprehensive and Inclusive Approach to Countering Incitement and Preventing Violent Extremism”. Held at the onset of a week at the UN focused on counter-terrorism approaches of Member States and the Review of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, this meeting provided a timely opportunity for UN agencies and civil society organizations to come together to understand the context, and set expectations for the week’s upcoming events.

Held at Quaker House, this event brought various actors together to discuss how to work productively and collaboratively on this issue. The objectives of this meeting were to discuss key actors in countering incitement and preventing violent extremism, to explore ways to better engage local civil society communities; and to consider the lessons learned at local levels and within the UN system. Participants agreed that as the international community attempts to adapt to violent extremism, a more holistic, people-centered approach should be prioritized.

The Platform was pleased to host this discussion and looks forward to continuing to convene meetings between civil society, UN actors and Member States to support the UN on its prevention agenda.

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Event of Note
June 2018

Programme Assistant Reunion in New York

From 7-11 June, 2018, the Quaker United Nations Office in New York hosted a gathering of past and present New York Programme Assistants. As part of the American Friends Service Committee’s centennial celebrations, this reunion provided an opportunity for past Programme Assistants to gather in person to officially launch the QUNO Alumni Network (QAN). 

Over the very exciting four days, PAs from the UK, Ireland, the US, China, France, and Zimbabwe convened at the historic Quaker House in New York to hear about the current state of the UN, learn of new QUNO program work on peacebuilding and prevention, and to share and reminisce about their experiences whilst at QUNO. Program Assistants reflected upon how their experiences at QUNO impacted their professional career paths. Participants represented a wide array of careers, including law, diplomacy, policy campaigning and advocacy, leadership facilitation and peacebuilding, to name a few. By the end of the weekend, the enthusiastic group officially launched the QUNO Alumni Network (QAN), as a means to stay connected with both QUNO and each other, to provide guidance and professional support to one another and to spread the word of QUNO’s work. 

The Programme Assistant position provides an invaluable opportunity for Quakers and those in sympathy with Quaker ideals who have recently completed a degree to experience a year-long service involving everything from attending UN meetings to report writing, research, event planning and routine administration in QUNO's offices in Geneva or New York. To learn more about the role of a Programme Assistant, click here.  

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