I have been working collaboratively with the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) since February 2016 on the topic of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Peacebuilding including Conflict Prevention. Following a successful event in February where I gave the opening address on ‘Linking Human Rights, Peace And Security’ (a regional consultation for the High-Level Debate at the UN General Assembly as part of their review of the Peacebuilding Architecture), QUNO, in collaboration with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES), Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UN OHCHR), invited me to speak at two events in Geneva on Wednesday, 29th June and Thursday 30th June 2016. The first was a Side Event at the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council entitled, ‘Prevention and Early Warning of Conflict: The Role of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights' which was also the launch event for the UN OHCHR new ‘Report on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Early Warning of Conflict’ (June 2016).
The second event was a briefing at the Geneva Peace Platform on 'What role can economic, social and cultural rights play in the prevention of violent conflict?’ Other speakers included Jyoti Sanghera, Section Chief of Human Rights and Economic and Social Issues, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Lynn Gentile (also UN OHCHR) and Zaina Kisongoa, Country Representative for Somalia, American Friends Service Committee. The aim of these events was to explore the links between economic, social and cultural rights and the prevention of destructive conflict and violence; to consider the place of economic, social and cultural rights in approaches to sustaining peace and for others to share experience from practice (Somalia and Kenya) of the role of social, economic and cultural rights in the development of violent conflict.
Both events were well attended with around 80 participants over the two events resulting in some very interesting and productive discussions.
Further details of her research that led to this collaboration can be found here.
Myself, QUNO and associated organisations continue to work on these issues and to collaborate further over the forthcoming year to develop policy and practice in the field. In particular we aim to:
- Assist networking traditional and non-traditional actors in peacebuilding (including ESCRs actors)
- Advance innovative practice and thinking on peacebuilding and ESCRs
- Strengthen the relationship between academia, human rights actors and peacebuilding actors including the UN Peacebuilding Architecture and UN OHCHR, as well relevant UN agencies and departments and NGOs.
- Expand space for dialogue about building peace and resolving conflict across different institutions and sectors.
- To develop an enhanced and broader understanding of promising practices in the peacebuilding and economic and social rights fields.