Meeting Report

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


Event overview

The Geneva Declaration Secretariat, the Small Arms Survey, and Geneva Peacebuilding Platform organized an Expert Meeting on Violence reduction and peacebuilding: How crime and violence observatories can contribute? on 26 to 28 June 2013 in Geneva. The meeting aimed at gathering representatives of armed violence monitoring systems (AVMSs) and observatories on violence, crime, or injuries from different regions of the world in order to share practical experiences, compare existing challenges and explore ways/strategies to best incorporate data into successful programing. Whether an AVMS calls itself a crime or violence observatory, an injury surveillance system, or an early warning system largely depends on the theoretical approach of the experts who established the system and on the geographical setting (Gilgen and Tracey, 2011).

Objectives of the Expert Meeting

The main objective of the Expert Meeting was to share experiences on how various types of observatories can successfully influence policy making and programming, and so promote violence reduction and peacebuilding. More specifically, the event aimed to (1) identify effective strategies to strengthen observatories as institutions capable of providing the necessary evidence base for policy-makers and practitioners; (2) gather practical lessons learned from observatories in the fields of armed violence reduction and prevention (translation of data into policy and programmes); and (3) draw together a set of indicators and methods necessary to define minimal quality standards applicable to armed violence and crime observatories.

Participants and structure of the Expert Meeting

The organizers aimed to have as balanced a regional, organizational and gender balance as possible for this Expert Meeting.  In the end, a total of 39 participants from 19 countries took part in the two-day meeting. Among these were participants from governments, non-governmental organizations, academic bodies and others, representing a diversity of orientations (crime, health, peace and others) (see: Participants).

The core of the meeting was structured around a series of core thematic sessions, organized as panels and group work sessions. Time was given for both formal and informal exchanges and opportunities for networking learning from one another. In addition, a half-day optional training session on “Population-based surveys as a tool to measure armed violence: Quality vs. value for money” was given by the Small Arms Survey, preceding the formal start of the Expert Meeting. The Expert Meeting concluded with a public lunch-time event on the theme “Peacebuilding in the City: Learning from Urban Safety Practitioners” on Friday, 28 June (see: Programme).

External support

The Expert Meeting was made possible by the financial support of the Government of Switzerland. In addition, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) provided logistical and financial support to allow several participants to travel to Geneva and participate in the event. Finally the Geneva Centre for Security Program (GCSP) kindly made available the conference room in the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Building for the meeting to take place.

Aim and structure of this report

This Meeting Report aims to give a short overview of the various sessions and to highlight the key points which were discussed throughout the event. Brief summaries of the thematic sessions and working groups are provided. In addition, a final section of the report outlines core findings, ongoing needs, and next steps beyond this event. On this dedicated webpage for the meeting (see more detailed information on the meeting, short biographies of the participants, links to observatories, as well as presentation outlines, photographs, and podcasts from the event may be be found.