Chair's Summary

Manila, Philippines and Geneva, Switzerland, 10 October 2014. The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Regional Review Conference (RRC) held in Manila, the Philippines, on 8 and 9 October 2014, brought together more than 120 participants from Asia and the Pacific regions, including representatives from governments, regional organizations, UN agencies, and civil society. Participants discussed how measurable reductions in armed violence and improved development can be reached, regionally and globally, both in conflict situations and in contexts of insecurity. They also reflected on how armed violence can be prevented in regions suffering from climate change, such as small island states.

The regional conference underlined that human security impacts on development gains but also stressed that unsustainable forms of ‘development’ and irresponsible resource extraction may contribute to insecurity and violence. The event further recognized that areas afflicted by armed conflict and violence remain consistently low on the human development indexes.

Armed conflict, violence, and insecurity affect both Asia and the Pacific despite their diversity. In Asia, armed conflict takes place mostly at the sub-national level in border regions, not only in areas considered as fragile but also in established democracies. In the Pacific, while firearm violence is widespread, other factors such as climate change can be drivers of insecurity and violence. Impunity and the proliferation of small arms and light weapons were considered as two additional vectors of conflict, violence, and insecurity.

The event stressed that military solutions, in situations of armed conflict, are not sustainable in the long term as they don’t address the root causes of conflict. Hence solutions need to be found through a comprehensive strategy that addresses the reform of security and justice institutions; that involves all stakeholders; that provides a reduction in the availability of weapons; that offers socio-economic incentives; and that invests in preventative measures that consider people’s identity, their political and economic participation, and the role of the state. Interventions should focus on the affected populations, with specific attention to victims and survivors, addressing the trauma caused by armed violence.

The conference further called for raising the prevention of violence on the policy agenda. Participants called for ‘champions’ of the armed violence reduction and prevention (AVRP) agenda to be more visible at all levels.

The event further highlighted the importance of a culture of peace, and education about peace. Participants stressed the importance of including both men and women when addressing armed violence and conflict. While it specific attention should be paid to the presence and capacities of women and youth, effective solutions to insecurity and violence need to be based on principles of dignity for all, recognition, inclusion, participation, accountability, and the fight against impunity. In countries that have not adhered to the Geneva Declaration, civil society can effectively support the armed violence reduction agenda. Furthermore, local authorities, local leaders and the private sector should play a more conscious and active role in preventing violence.

Long-term partnerships and regional cooperation, among affected countries— as well as with donor countries and regional organizations—are seen as an effective approach to sharing experience and strengthening national and local capacities to prevent and reduce armed violence.



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