Meeting Report

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

 

Session summaries

 

 

Why it matters

The introductory session focused on the important links between measuring and monitoring, programming and policy-making and served to identify common objectives from local, regional, and global levels. The session did this by first looking at the overall role of observatories worldwide and then examining experience from two specific cases--an established observatory in Sudan and a future observatory in Nepal.

Keith Krause, Programme Director at the Small Arms Survey, opened the session by arguing that a unified and integrated approach was needed. The adoption of an integrated approach to armed violence based on the data supplied by AVMS is crucial to obtaining a comprehensive assessment of the scope, scale, and sources of violence and insecurity, which is a prerequisite for effective violence prevention and reduction programmes and policies. While AVMS can help provide a general assessment of the problem before treating it, various common challenges render their work more difficult. One major challenge is to define the scope of the assessment. How to gather different and impartial data is complicated due to political interests and sensitivities. Observatories and monitoring systems matter because they provide useful toolkits, support policy development, and generate both cost-effective programs and dissemination of information in different contexts.

Shankar Koirala, from the Ministry of Home Affairs of Nepal, presented the future Nepali observatory on armed violence, currently under development (see: Speech). Following a decade of armed violence, Nepal is now going through a transitional phase and needs strong follow-up and support. Violence, fear, and terror negatively impact on human development. After launching different policy instruments (e.g. small arms policy), a new project on armed violence was developed with the support of UNDP. One of its main components is the creation of an observatory able to assess and monitor armed violence. Koirala concluded by highlighting the importance of sharing experiences in order to improve the effectiveness of armed violence reduction and prevention interventions.

Maximo Halty works as technical advisor for the UNDP-sepported Crime and Risk Mapping Analysis (CRMA). In his presentation, he explained what could compel us to measure, produce, analyse, and share data. Halty highlighted some important questions that needed to be asked—and most importantly answered—at the beginning of a project. ‘How to produce and distribute information? Who wants the information? What will they do with it?’ He shared two challenges experienced in the Sudan initiative. Firstly, the programme struggled in identifying  the necessary initial information(the definition of the problem that would become the starting point for the CRMA initiative). Secondly, crime and insecurity are sensitive issues and need political will as a base to develop long-term solutions.  In many cases, political will may need to be constructed over time, and this can be a challenging process. Policy actors need to be convinced of the value of the products and introduced to the use of data for programming. Data systems such as the CRMA may be perceived as limiting the power of certain actors and of specific interests. To minimize political risk, the CRMA adopted the strategy of providing and disseminating only data (without the analysis). This had two advantages: CRMA would not get into conflict with policy actors while the latter could build their own analysis capacities. Halty highlighted the fact that even in violence and conflict ridden settings data exists. The challenge resides in finding where the data is, who owns the data, collecting it  in a coherent system able to bring together data on violent events and contextual information and make it available. Also each project needs to address and respond to the specific needs of a given setting. For programming, real time information is needed. He concluded by stating that the distance between information production and its use in concrete project activities should be reduced, for instance  by using a proper management information system.