Meeting Report

I. Background | II. Event overview  |  III. Session summaries  |  IV. Moving Forward



The human, social and economic costs of armed violence are extensive and far reaching: direct violence claims more than 500,000 lives each year and slows or even reverses progress in socio-economic development. Governments, development practitioners, and United Nations agencies are increasingly looking for ways to ensure that resources for development programmes and humanitarian interventions are used effectively and to support interventions with a proven record of success. Such evidence-based policy-making has also gained currency in relation to the prevention and reduction of armed violence both in situations of armed conflict and in non-conflict settings. At the international level, several instruments call for effective reduction of armed violence and better control over the tools of violence, but the efforts of systematically measuring armed violence and developing clear ‘goals, targets and indicators’ to monitor and measure armed violence prevention and reduction within and across countries are still fragmentary, leaving many questions open in terms of their impact.

Effective strategies to prevent and reduce violence need to target context-specific drivers of violence, and hence need to be informed by a clear analysis of its nature and scope. The use of baseline assessments and the creation of crime and armed violence monitoring systems (AVMSs)/observatories make important contributions to armed violence reduction and prevention efforts. Within this frame of reference, the Small Arms Survey and the Geneva Declaration Secretariat have demonstrated increasing engagement and conducted further research over the past four years to better examine the potential, opportunities and challenges of AVMSs (see: Papers and resources). The organization of the June 2013 Expert Meeting was in line with these recent efforts.