Expert Meeting 26-28 June 2013

Violence reduction and peacebuilding:
How crime and violence observatories can contribute

Venue: Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) | Geneva, Switzerland

What gets measured, gets done. Accurate and reliable data on the scope, scale, and causes of all forms of armed violence is vital for shaping policy, developing responses, and monitoring progress. Mechanisms for monitoring and analyzing situations of conflict, crime, and violence, such as observatories on crime and violence, or armed violence monitoring systems (AVMS), have helped to improve the effectiveness of armed violence reduction. These institutions are tasked with gathering data on an on-going and regular basis, analyzing it systematically, and disseminating the information to inform decision-making policy. They may also serve as early warning systems.

While good data and analysis is an indispensable ingredient for monitoring concrete programmes on the ground as well as national or sub-national policy initiatives, observatories face real challenges. They are often limited by political interference and by the inherent problems of continuing to collect data in violence-affected or fragile settings. Institutions often struggle to operate in a sustainable manner under these conditions. Finally, maintaining quality standards is essential, and often difficult, for all monitoring systems. Despite these challenges, the operationalization of AVMS as institutions able to define and maintain quality standards, provide opportunities for armed violence reduction and peacebuilding.

The Secretariat of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, the Small Arms Survey, and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP) organized an Expert Meeting which gathered key players involved in observatories and AVMS work. The variety of participants (see list) has enabled to consider different perspectives (such as conflict prevention, peacebuilding, humanitarian, human rights, crime prevention, and public health) and different institutional roles (including those generating, analyzing, and using data and information from AVMS; representing government, civil society, international organizations and academia).