Chair's Summary

Nairobi, Kenya, 28 November 2014. On 2627 November 2014 the Government of Kenya and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Government of Switzerland and the Secretariat of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development (GD), convened a Regional Review Conference in Nairobi to discuss how to affect measurable reductions in armed violence, and improve development, both in the Sub-Saharan Africa region and globally. The event brought together more than 140 participants from 30 countries, regional organizations, United Nations agencies, and civil society.

After a period of hope, with many conflicts in the Sub-Saharan region coming to an end, investment in education, strengthening of democratic systems and parallel economic development, the region is witnessing a new phase of armed conflicts and violence. Existing fault lines include elites competition for power; struggles over natural resources (especially competition for resources like water, grazing land, and mineral resources); socio-economic inequalities; and inadequacies of basic services, and security and justice institutions. These  fuel deep-rooted grievances and unrest. In addition, recent dimensions such as religious fundamentalism, rapid and unplanned urbanization, climate change, and transnational organized crime are creating new dynamics that compound armed violence across the continent.

The conference underlined the fact that, while lack of development may be a risk factor for violence, development gains allow for security expenditures by states and communities  to be reallocated as investment in education and in priority sectors of the economy. In considering the nexus between development and armed violence, conference participants emphasized the importance of putting people and their needs at the center of both development and security strategies.

The debates on the solutions to armed violence showed a large consensus on the need for multi-sector, multi-actor responses and policies that go beyond the use of force. In particular, the conference highlighted the importance of dialogue and cooperation with all forces of society but especially with women and youth as engines of change. The conference further underlined the need for specific attention to border regions and to urban areas; for increased regional and sub-regional cooperation in the fight against illicit trafficking of small arms and financial flows; for a strengthened role of local actors and municipalities; and for improved access to fair, effective and accountable justice and security systems.

The following documents provide a summary and main points from the conference