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  Newsletter on Integrating Armed Violence Prevention and Reduction Issue 11, April 2010  
 
  Advocacy   Measurability   Programming  
  Advocacy   Measurability   Programming  
 

Oslo Conference Cancelled due to Air traffic Problems

GD Networking Event at the World Urban Forum in Brazil

Geneva Declaration Panel at the UN Crime Congress in Brazil

  

Geneva Declaration (GD) Expert Workshop on Violence against Women

The Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) Project

Oxford Research Group: Recording Casualties of Armed Conflict

  

Brazil: By catering to youths, homicide rates drop

Kenya: Oxfam GB’s programming integrates conflict reduction and development

Sierra Leone: Inter-Agency Retreat on Small Arms

International: Dialogue on youth violence and knives

 
                         
  Publications  
 

Rising from the Ashes of Conflict

Poster Boys No More: Gender and Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste

Land Tenure and Violent Conflict in Kenya

Guinea: Tackling the Crisis

EU-UN Cooperation in Peacebuilding: Partners in Practice?

Call for Documentary Content

 
 
 
  Advocacy Advocacy  
 
 

To date the Geneva Declaration has been adopted formally by 108 states, Luxemburg being the latest country to sign up. Commitment to the Geneva Declaration requires states to subscribe to measurable reductions in armed violence by 2015. It also means that states are expected to be transparent and open about the character and severity of armed violence within their borders.

 
 
     
 
 

Oslo Conference Cancelled due to Air traffic Problems

 
 
         

Due to the ongoing and unprecedented air traffic problems in Europe caused by the volcanic eruption in Iceland, the Oslo Conference on Armed Violence: Achieving the Millennium Development Goals is cancelled and will not take place as planned. In its place, the organizers, the Government of Norway and UNDP, will organize an event on Armed Violence and Development in Geneva on Wednesday 12 May 2010 in order to facilitate an opportunity to present and endorse the Oslo Commitments as of the latest version sent out to all delegations 16 April 2010. The Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs will chair the meeting. For more information on the cancelation and follow up see the conference website. Four very useful Background Papers are on the same site.

 

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GD Networking Event at the World Urban Forum in Brazil

 
 
         

The Geneva Declaration (GD) Secretariat, along with Small Arms Survey, UNDP and the Quaker United Nations Office, hosted a panel discussion on March 24 for participants in the World Urban Forum being held in Rio de Janeiro. Around 80 persons attended the event. The panel, “Urban Violence Reduction: From Local to Global,” presented experiences from researchers and practitioners working on urban violence prevention and reduction in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paolo and Baltimore. The panelists pointed out that urban violence and insecurity are related to a complex web of risk factors, including rapid urbanization and socio-economic inequalities, and that safety and freedom are intimately related. The discussion clearly underlined that although there are no simple solutions to complex problems, cities can play an extremely important role when it comes to violence reduction and prevention. The event also provoked critical reflection on how metropolitan institutions and local actors can influence and mobilize national policies as well as multilateral programmes (like the UNDP) and initiatives like the Geneva Declaration. As a global process the GD will give more attention to the capacities and experiences of mayors, public servants, and civil society actors in cities seriously affected by armed violence.

 

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Geneva Declaration Panel at the UN Crime Congress in Brazil

 
 
         

On April 15, the Geneva Declaration (GD) secretariat, UNDP and QUNO supported a six-person panel at the 12th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Salvador, Brazil. The international Congress gathered together more than 3,000 participants from the police, justice and penal sectors. The panel included representatives from state and non-governmental agencies Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the GD and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The goal of the panel was to highlight effective local/community-led activities that drew on "developmental" approaches to preventing and reducing crime. More information on the GD panel is here. For a short report on the UN Conference see the UNODC website.

 

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  Measurability Measurability  
 
 

A central pillar of solid advocacy and programming is evidence. Good evidence is based on solid research. The Geneva Declaration process is committed to supporting national and local-level research to inform interventions, but also to promote awareness and understanding of the risks and dangers posed by armed violence and underdevelopment. The following are examples of innovative and path-breaking research that shed light on the interconnections of armed violence and development.

 
 
     
 
 

Geneva Declaration (GD) Expert Workshop on Violence against Women

 
 
         

Armed violence is highly gendered in both its causes and consequences. Across all affected societies, young males are the most common perpetrators, as well as immediate victims, of armed attacks, but women suffer disproportionally from sexual and intimate-partner violence. At a workshop in Geneva, hosted by the GD on 25 and 26 March 2010, experts discussed the methodological challenges and the state of research on the costs, consequences and manifestation of violence against women. Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, was one of over 35 participants. The Workshop considered how to use research and evidence for programming purposes and how to foster a global, regional and national measuring and monitoring system on violence against women and its impact on development. Download the report here.

 

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The Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment (HSBA) Project

 
 
         

This is a multi-year research project administered by the Small Arms Survey, an independent research project of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. Through the active generation and dissemination of timely empirical research, the project supports violence reduction initiatives. The project publishes its findings regularly in two separate formats, Issue Briefs and Working Papers, as well as in occasional op-eds and practitioner articles. Issue Briefs and Working Papers are available in English as well as Arabic and French (in the case of research on the Central African Republic and Chad). For more on the HSBA project see the webpage.

 

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Oxford Research Group: Recording Casualties of Armed Conflict

 
 
         

Currently, most available data on casualties of armed violence and conflict is based on aggregate numbers and estimations. This ambitious project, led by Oxford Research Group, aims to build the technical capacity and political will to comprehensively record every individual victim of armed conflict. Such complete data would support more effective policy making and programmatic action to reduce armed violence. Additionally, it would act as “a memorial for posterity and a recognition of our common humanity across the world”. As a first step, an international practitioner network was launched in 2009 to bring together the many locally-based organizations working to individually record casualties of conflict in zones of violence around the world. Currently, most such organizations work in isolation, and the practitioner network will allow them to devise common approaches, tools and recording formats. The project also advocates for the active participation of states and international bodies in casualty recording, and ultimately its codification as a binding obligation for parties to conflicts. For more information see the project website.

 

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  Programming Programming  
 
 

The Geneva Declaration process encourages all UN member states and NGOs to adopt a proactive and comprehensive approach to armed violence prevention and reduction on the ground. Fortunately, there are literally thousands of efforts underway around the world that aim to reduce violence. Many of these explicitly draw on “developmental” approaches to day-to-day violence. The selection included below only scrape the surface of what is going on every day in affected communities. To encourage learning and to improve practice, the Geneva Declaration Core Group is supporting a number of “focus countries” plan, design, implement and evaluate violence reduction activities. Information on these activities is available at the Geneva Declaration website.

 
 
     
 
 

Brazil: By catering to youths, homicide rates drop

 
 
         

Nine hundred youths now take part in art, sports and culture workshops at Cabana do Pai Tomás in a low income neighborhood in Belo Horizonte, capital of Brazil’s landlocked state of Minas Gerais. With the aim of lowering the homicide rate, these workshops and a number of similar initiatives have been launched as the Fica Vivo! (which translates as Be Smart/Stay Alive!) programme since 2002, by the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and by the State Government – a successful example of public policy in violence prevention….In 2002 there were a recorded 36 homicides in a region with 24 thousand inhabitants. In 2006 recorded homicides dropped to 12, echoing a trend in neighboring communities. Over all, of the 19 regions that received the program (nine in the capital) showed significant lowering in the homicide rates, while the capital an increase, according to dada provided by the Center for Public Security and Criminality Studies and the State Office for Social Defense. Download the article here.

 

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Kenya: Oxfam GB's programming integrates conflict reduction and development

 
 
         

Working in Kenya since 1963, Oxfam have addressed both long-term development and the promotion of a more peaceful, less conflictual society. As the post-election violence of 2008 illustrated, poverty, inequality, unemployment and corruption are key underlying factors for violence. Oxfam focuses on two of the poorest areas: the arid north, and the Nairobi slums. In both areas, the lack of peace and security is a major barrier for development and the achievement of the MDGs. In response, Oxfam implements programmes to enhance communities’ ability to resolve conflict peacefully, through peace councils and traditional justice mechanisms. These interventions are undertaken alongside development projects that address the underlying issues of poverty and inequality, such as income generation in Nairobi, or supporting a fair price for cattle in the arid north. This integrated programming targets both the conflicts that are the immediate causes of violence, and the underlying drivers. For more information see the webpage.

 

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Sierra Leone: Inter-Agency Retreat on Small Arms

 
 
         

The Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms completed a two-day Inter- Agency Synergy Retreat in Makeni, northern Sierra Leone on 11 and 12 March 2010. The theme was “Building Effective Partnership and Co-ordination for the Establishment of the Sierra Leone Small Arms and Light Weapons Commission.” The meeting attracted stakeholders from the security and development sectors, including government officials, security forces, the news media and others. The speakers admitted that the availability and use of illegal fire-arms has continued to threaten national security and stability, even many years after the cessation of the conflict in Sierra Leone. They noted that ninety-two chiefdoms in the country had voluntarily surrendered arms in exchange for development and appreciated the contributions made by the Arms for Development Programmes organized with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). (Awareness Times, Sierra Leone, Mar 17, 2010). See the full news item.

 

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International: Dialogue on youth violence and knives

 
 
         

An international policy dialogue on youth violence and knives was organized by the WHO Regional Office for Europe and hosted by the Department of Health England on 14-15 September 2009 in London. Policy makers, researchers and practitioners from eight countries considered presentations on the scale of knife violence, risk factors, and interventions. The participants acknowledged that secondary and tertiary measures to decrease knife carrying and dealing with at-risk groups and situations were important. Nevertheless, there was an overwhelming need to tackle the root causes of violence by promoting “best buys” for the primary prevention violence, including programmes to enhance parenting, social skills training, tackling harmful alcohol and other substance use, reducing access to lethal means, and promoting greater equity. A European report on youth violence and knives will be prepared and launched during the Safety 2010 conference that takes place in London in September 2010. For further information, please contact Dr Dinesh Sethi (din@ecr.euro.who.int).

 

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  Publications  
 
 

For more publications, also consult the Geneva Declaration website.

 
 
     
 
 

Rising from the Ashes of Conflict

 
 
         

Most conflict studies focus on the national level, but this volume focuses on the community level. This book, published in December 2009 by the World Bank, explores how communities experience and recover from violent conflict, and the surprising opportunities that can emerge for poor people to move out of poverty in these harsh contexts. Rising from the Ashes of Conflict reveals how poor people’s mobility is shaped by local democracy, people’s associations, aid strategies, and the local economic environment. Over 100 communities across seven conflict-affected countries (Afghanistan, Assam in India, Colombia, Indonesia, Philippines, Cambodia and Sri Lanka) are examined. (Narayan, Deepa, and Patti Petesch, eds. 2010. Moving Out of Poverty: Rising from the Ashes of Conflict. New York: Palgrave Macmillan; Washington, DC: The World Bank. See the webpage.

 

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Poster Boys No More: Gender and Security Sector Reform in Timor-Leste

 
 
         

Gender analysis of actual Security Sector Reform (SSR) processes is sorely lacking in the literature on security sector reform. In this new publication the author examines the gender dimensions of the DDR and SSR processes in Timor-Leste, with a focus on the establishment of the police and armed forces. The paper explores issues such as: how men’s roles relate to gang violence and relationships of patronage that undermine the security services, how women have been incorporated into the new security services and how the security services are addressing gender-based violence. It shows how a gender perspective can add to our understanding of many of the social processes at work in Timor-Leste and help to find solutions to some of the main security issues in the country, making recommendations for Timor-Leste’s ongoing SSR processes. See webpage for details.

 

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Land Tenure and Violent Conflict in Kenya

 
 
         

This conference report, published by the African Centre for Technology Studies, argues that the status quo of land tenure in Kenya inevitably leads to violent outcomes. However, no single meta-narrative can explain the shifting nature of land conflicts in Kenya, or in Africa generally, with greed, grievances and other factors at play. In many of Africa’s post-colonial agrarian societies, the colonial legacy is a drastically skewed pattern of land distribution in the elite’s favour. States such as Kenya are slowly working to reverse this history, giving customary systems a legal basis or trying to create new “hybrid” land tenure systems. The authors identify some initial policy implications, which have clear relevance to development programming, including: collecting more perspectives from affected people in local communities; reducing the current reliance on legislative solutions; and shaping land governance through new or revived structures at the local level. Download from the GFN-SSR document library page.

 

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Guinea: Tackling the Crisis

 
 
         

A Policy Brief on Guinea published by the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) highlights that the military factor, along with governance reform, drug trade controls and trauma recovery are fundamental issues that must be taken into account when proffering solutions to the country's ongoing crisis and its continuing threat of violence. WANEP says Guinean security forces need urgent reform and restructuring since indiscipline and anarchy are supreme within the ranks of the armed forces. Report on Guinea.

 

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EU-UN Cooperation in Peacebuilding: Partners in Practice?

 
 
         

This is a new report about peacebuilding published by the United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR). The report traces the evolution of the European Union and United Nations peacebuilding policies and provides an overview of global trends in funding for fragile sates. Download the report.

 

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Call for Documentary Content

 
 
         

In March 2010 Oxfam launched “Shooting Poverty,” a film competition that invites young filmmakers to submit their written vision for a short documentary focusing on the impact on development of armed violence and the arms trade. Three winning proposals will receive full production support. Deadline: 1 June. Information in English, Hindi, Portuguese and Spanish can be found at the webpage.

 

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  Your Feedback  
 
 

Need for More information: Do you want to share information about activities that are ongoing in your country? Do you have any relevant publications that show the connections between armed violence prevention and reduction with development? If you have some information about successful projects—previous or ongoing—that you think would be relevant, please share them with our readers. To contact the editor, send an email to newsletter@genevadeclaration.org.

This newsletter is edited and distributed by the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO) in Geneva in order to build awareness on issues relating to development and armed violence and to increase engagement with the Geneva Declaration process. QUNO is mandated by the Geneva Declaration Core Group of states to inform civil society about the Geneva Declaration process.

 
 
 
 
  

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