Guidelines on Programming

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is actively involved in establishing guidelines on how to prevent and reduce armed violence.

In 2005, the OECD-DAC High-Level Meeting of Ministers and Heads of Aid Agencies agreed that official development assistance should also be used for conflict prevention and peacebuilding activities, including the international combat against the illicit trade in and abuse of small arms and light weapons. Based on this decision, OECD-DAC published a report entitled Armed Violence Reduction: Enabling Development in 2009.

The publication features a framework for armed violence reduction (AVR) programmes. Given the complexity of the issue and the risk to do further harm, it is important that development programming be AVR-sensitive. This requires programming to be informed by an understanding of armed violence dynamics, underlying risk factors, and effects in order to avoid exacerbating any of these elements.

The report finds that early analysis can help development practitioners avoid generating negative and unintentional consequences. Examples include ensuring that the provision of clean drinking water does not aggravate inter-pastoral or pastoral–local community tensions; understanding when a disarmament programme might render a community vulnerable to attack by other armed groups; and identifying when development assistance provided to one group (such as refugees or ex-combatants) can exacerbate tensions between that group and the broader community. Conflict-sensitive approaches can often be adapted to non-conflict situations in order to anticipate how development interventions could potentially reduce (or exacerbate) armed violence.

Analysis for AVR sensitivity requires the input and perspectives of local actors and beneficiaries. This should not be a one-time assessment. An impact review should be conducted when decisions are made about the programming portfolio on the national, municipal, or local level, when programmes and projects are designed and planned, and after these programmes and projects are implemented. The analysis should be conducted at the national level as well as at the level of programme implementation. Beyond AVR sensitivity, programming can be:

  • Direct, meaning programming that specifically targets the prevention and reduction of armed violence and its effects. New AVR direct programming approaches are currently emerging.
  • Indirect, meaning development programming streams that are not focused solely on reducing or preventing armed violence, but that mainstream AVR elements so that programming is AVR-sensitive and includes AVR sub-goals.