Peacebuilding policy and practice continues to evolve at the UN, and while support for national ownership and building local capacity are frequently highlighted, UN peacebuilding often takes a top down, rather than a bottom up, approach. QUNO continued to engage with the UN work in Burundi, contributing to discussions on peacebuilding and transitional justice. We worked with Chinese academics to explore the UN’s approach to peacebuilding and peacekeeping, including jointly hosting delegation visits to the African Great Lakes region and to New York. We actively participated in policy debates about UN peacebuilding practice in a year of significant developments.
We believe that peacebuilding should address the harm that has been caused by violent conflict and work to heal and rebuild relationships at all levels of society. We also aim to create greater inclusiveness in UN peacebuilding processes, particularly of civil society and local actors engaged in peacebuilding at a grassroots level.
Through our partnership with American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) programme in Burundi, we continue to highlight the concerns of local civil society at the UN. Following our participation in a workshop facilitated by AFSC in Bujumbura on the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in August 2011, QUNO organised several informal, off-the-record discussions on Burundi with UN policy makers in New York. Through our connections with a group of leading restorative justice and peacebuilding scholars from around the world, in November 2011 we facilitated an exploratory discussion with UN experts and diplomats on how the UN can better incorporate restorative justice values in its peacebuilding activities.
In April 2011, AFSC and QUNO collaborated to facilitate a study tour to Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for six of China’s top scholars on the UN and peacekeeping. The two-week trip allowed the scholars to see peacebuilding first hand, particularly the work of local civil society. In November, we hosted a follow- up visit by four leading scholars from China to the UN in New York, which included a focus on the Peacebuilding Commission and UN peacebuilding more broadly.
Throughout the year, QUNO played an important role in bringing together NGOs and experts from inside and outside the UN around topics that address current peacebuilding policy debates. In February 2011, QUNO co-hosted a workshop for new country members of the Peacebuilding Commission.
The publication of the World Bank’s World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security and Development, as well as the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, have changed the landscape of peacebuilding at the UN. QUNO staff are engaged in the policy discussions about these new ideas, facilitating informal meetings and appearing as panel speakers.