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Civil Society Process

Organizations of the civil society represent an important partner of the Geneva Declaration and work together to reduce and prevent armed violence and enable development.

The Geneva Declaration recognises the importance of civil society organisations in the prevention and reduction of armed violence, and emphasises their role in diminishing the human, economic and social costs of such violence. Civil society organisations can be valuable partners for both governments and international organisations. On each of the Geneva Declaration’s three pillars, these groups take action and generate knowledge and policy-relevant information. Their activities encourage and facilitate the cross-pollination of ideas and practices between relevant policy sectors. They monitor states’ commitments and encourage non-signatories to the Geneva Declaration to join the initiative.

There are numerous significant collective benefits that arise from the dedicated and continued engagement of civil society in the project of armed violence prevention and reduction. Both within and across settings, civil society organisations are uniquely placed to provide the kind of specialised and technical expertise that has consistently been of enormous added value in informing policies and strategies that aim to prevent or reduce armed violence. By sharing their expertise, highlighting the lessons they have learned, and interacting on the basis of partnership with policy-makers, civil society organisations provide the international community with creativity, sound experience, sensitivity to the roots of violence, and vital alternative perspectives – all in order to enhance global efforts to reduce the burden of armed violence.

The Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) is responsible for coordinating civil society engagement in the Geneva Declaration. The key activities in this regard have been the regional civil society seminars which have occurred in advance of each of the Ministerial Review Conferences of the Geneva Declaration. At these gatherings, organised in association with Action on Armed Violence (AoAV), civil society organisations have been able to inspire and learn from each other, to develop common understandings, to formulate best practices, and to engage with policy-makers at several levels. Each seminar results in a ‘Promising Practices Magazine,’ which collates and publicises the positive lessons shared there. QUNO, in close partnership with AoAV, the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, and the United Nations Development Programme, has taken a leading role in organising and supporting civil society participation in the vital processes of the Geneva Declaration.