Meeting Report

I. BackgroundII. Event overview  |  III. Session summaries  |  IV. Moving Forward

 

Session summaries

 

 

Building indicators towards a common frame for conflict, crime and violence (CCV) monitoring

Interventions at various levels need indicators in order to show the evolution of violence and the impact of the programs. This final thematic session addressed the question of working towards building coherent common indicators for CCV relevant for policies and programming. In addition, the session aimed at discussing the need for comparability versus adaptation to local needs.

In the first presentation Luigi De Martino, coordinator of the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, discussed the role of ‘peace and security’ in the post-2015 development agenda [See presentation]. While the right to peace and security were acknowledged in the UN Millenium Declaration in 2000, peace, conflict and violence were then absent from the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), mostly due to political sensitivity. As an example of the impact of insecurity on development, as of 2011, no low income or conflict affected country had achieved a single MDG. Now that the post-2015 development agenda is being discussed, it is a time to advocate for the inclusion of peace and security. A challenge is to settle common indicators of violence, crime, and conflict that can be reliable from global to local levels. In the past, one problem has been a lack of data. In addition, some factors are hard to measure. However since 2006 when the Geneva Declaration was launched, measurability concerning conflict and violence has improved and the Secretariat will continue its work in support of the improvement of the measurability ‘pillar’ of the Geneva Declaration. Even though information is increasingly available, there is still a large space for improvement. For example in getting data on conflict casualties. The UN Secretarty General’s High Level Panel published a report in May 2013 in which it recognized the need for peace and good governance as a development goal. Goal 11 in the HLP report aims at ensuring stable and peaceful societies. It includes “to reduce violent deaths, violence against children, ensure justice institutions, and address external stressors that lead to conflict.” In addition, Goal 10 aims to ensure good governance and effective institutions while Goal 2 is linked to empowerment of girls and women as well as achievement of gender equality. Other goals are related to addressing risk factors of violence, such as job creation. De Martino added that there had been a number of consultations on indicators to examine the proposals of the High Level Panel. Experts agreed on the need for disaggregated data (by place, region, sex, social variables, etc.) as a part of the new development framework. The ongoing consultations and the starting (suggest “the start of the”) negotiation process at the UN with member states is important to set the post-2015 development agenda--the problem of armed violence will not disappear after 2015. Independently from the inclusion of ‘peace and security’ related goals, targets and indicators in this global agenda, observatories and AVMSs have an important role to play not only to demonstrate that these issues can be measured but also to inform policies and interventions at local level that will provide concrete solutions for the lives of communities.

Andrea Arteaga, from the Organisation of American States (OAS)-Inter-American Observatory, gave a regional perspective from Latin America regarding conflict, crime and violence (CCV) indicators [See presentation]. The goals of the observatory were to strengthen hard data collection, standardize indicators, and assist the development of national observatories, notably with tool kits, manuals and trainings. Arteaga presented information that showed that in 2010, a total of 351,000 people met violent death—including homicides, traffic fatalities and suicide—in the Americas. Nineteen countries in the region have a homicide rate above the world average (6.9 violent death per 100,000 population in 2010), including five countries with a rate above 40 per 100,000 population. The Americas suffer largely from organised crime activities where one out of four crimes in the region are due to organised crime. Eight out of ten homicide victims are male (on regional as well as national levels), and 75 per cent were killed with firearms. Violence is correlated with the trafficking of narcotics. A total of 263 prohibited substances are circulating. Drug prices are increasing as the product crosses borders; the economic benefits of drug trafficking creates public security problems as well as an increase in corruption and money laundry. Arteaga underlined that the main role of the OAS regional observatory is to work with official data produced by the countries and be the source of information to end-users. This should be not only quantitative but also qualitative information. It should also stimulate discussion at various levels on public policies. The observatory works with different national and regional authorities. As an international data institution, the observatory can best identify which countries need more assistance or offer the safest environment.

In her presentation, Camilla Schippa from the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) introduced the concepts of positive and negative peace and how to measure them [See presentation]. She pointed out that, while conflict and violence were important to examine, there was a general lack of interest in measuring peace. The drivers of peace might not necessarily be the opposite of conflict drivers, and she suggested a shift in focus from conflict to peace. As peace is multidimensional, the absence of violence can be represented in different cultural, political and economic forms. In order to measure peace, it first needs to be defined. By defining it as absence of violence and absence of fear of violence, it would be measuring the indicators of negative peace. Using the Global Peace Index (GPI) scores over time we can understand trends in negative peace and observe how since 2008 peace has become more dispersed. Violence is affecting countries in all development contexts, low, middle and high income. Schippa noted that her institution used the comprehensive base of data that GPI provides to statistically analyse the key institutions and factors that are associated with countries that are more peaceful. Taking the available stock of data on formal and informal institutions IEP has developed a framework to think about the key factors associated with peace over the long term. These 8 key factors include acceptance of the rights of others, free flow of information, sound business environment, high levels of human capital, and low levels of corruption. Based on those elements, a new index, called Positive Peace Index (PPI) has been developed to help understand longer term resilience and capacity building. The Institute plans next to compare the indicators of positive peace (PPI) with the GPI indicators of negative peace. The comparison can help identify where a lack of violence might be illusory, or where current violence may be short term.

Tarik Weekes, from the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) in Jamaica, presented his local experience with the Kingston West Crime Observatory (KWCO) and lessons learnt on common indicators on conflict, crime and violence [See presentation]. Jamaica is a country with a rich history of violence, a strong presence of gangs and a high homicide rate. In that particular context, the Observatory operates within one police division where both the police and community are committed to solving the problem of crime. The data on serious crime (e.g., murder, rape, shooting) are collected from the police while injuries-related information is collected from hospitals. The Observatory then analyses and shares the data. Consultation is key in this reporting system. The police first present a data report on serious crimes committed within the last month. Members of the group—which includes public departments, peace initiative, community organizations, and church—then comment and discuss the data together in order to identify adequate activities and interventions. Main challenges encountered are the poor hospital capacity to use the data; limited use of  the lessons learnt; lack of Memoranda of Understanding among the actors to facilitate the exchange of information; cultural factors; and technological constraints. In concluding, Weekes underlined that the Observatory successfully helped change the complexion of crime management both at the community and divisional levels, improving community policing and community safety strategies.

Discussant for the session, Bernardo Arévalo de León from Interpeace, summarized its key points. The comparison bezween positive and negative peace is interesting, but the question remains on how this type of data can be translated into decisions and actions. The capacity to develop sophisticated information needs to be accompanied by the capacity to translate information into policies and programmes. Understanding the limitations of the indicators used by a measurment system was noted as a key element to the use of data for programming. The case of Trasnparency International illustrates the value of using focused and clear information; there is no doubt about the impact they had towards decreasing corruption; however the limitations of the statistics are also evident. Furthermore, the presentations emphasized the need for inclusive national processes. For example, the post-2015 development process resides in the capacity of local actors to realize what needs to be done and to take actions. The discussant acknowledged that regional observatories have the faculty to generate regional capacities to understand and act against violence. The Kingston Observatory represented a mechanism that seemed to work well at national level, with different institutions present. The violence decrease in the targeted areas proves that when the data is correctly used, it can have a real impact.