Building peaceful and inclusive societies as part of the 2030 development agenda

World leaders to convene this week-end to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals

After nearly three years of global consultations and negotiations, the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be adopted by UN Member States at a special summit convened at the UN Headquarters in New York from 25 to 27 September.

The SDGs will serve as the international development framework to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The seventeen proposed universal goals and associated targets are planned to guide international and national policies until 2030. Among them, Goal 16 focuses on peaceful and inclusive societies, access to justice, and accountable institutions. More specifically, targets related to Goal 16 aim to: reduce all forms of violence and violent deaths; strengthen the rule of law and access to justice; reduce illicit financial and arms flows; tackle organized crime and corruption; and promote transparent and responsive institutions.

The Geneva Declaration as a contribution towards the adoption of Goal 16

This progress of the global agenda on peace and development has been made possible through several processes, including the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which since 2006 has called ‘to achieve measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence by 2015.’ The Geneva Declaration—currently endorsed by 113 States—has stressed the importance of considering violence and insecurity as universal issues affecting people’s well-being in all countries, not just those affected by conflict.

Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developmentwhich will be adopted at the UN Summit—is a recognition of the will of States and societies to consider peace and human security as crucial elements for development.

What’s next?

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the inclusion of Goal 16 integrate a key goal of the Geneva Declaration into the global development framework. The political process for the inclusion of violence reduction and prevention into development can now make way for a concerted effort to address the new challenges of implementation and measuring progress of Goal 16.

‘What gets measured gets done’

The Geneva Declaration has always considered measurability as one its main working pillars. This call has been repeated and supported by the participants of its 2014 five Regional Review Conferences that were organized to gather support for the meaningful integration of armed violence reduction in national and international processes, including the post-2015 development agenda.

The Global Burden of Armed Violence (GBAV) reports prepared by the Small Arms Survey for the Geneva Declaration in 2008, 2011, and 2015 provided strong evidence of the impacts of armed violence globally and served as monitoring instrument for the Geneva Declaration’s stakeholders.

The reports focused on lethal violence in both conflict and non-conflict situations, developed indicators (such as ‘violent deaths’) and refined a methodology for data collection and analysis. As measurability and access to relevant data are also at the core of the SDGs, the GBAV tools are realistic instruments for monitoring and the experience gathered is of great value to the discussion around targets and indicators for Goal 16.

‘No one left behind’

The 2030 development agenda has prompted a call for a ‘data revolution’ to improve the quality of statistics and information available to ensure that all social groups are taken into consideration when delivering public policies: to ensure that ‘no one is left behind’. The GBAV research and analysis, and associated work on the effectiveness of violence reduction and prevention interventions, will continue to provide evidence to policy makers and practitioners.

The inclusion of Goal 16 creates momentum for development donors and partner countries to foster approaches recognizing the links between security and wider development interventions. The focus on peaceful and inclusive societies requires a holistic and cross-cutting approach to development: one that that includes arms proliferation, violence reduction and prevention, insecurity, and public safety perspectives.

Countries already have a wealth of experience that can be used to develop policies and programmes aligned with Goal 16. The experiences gathered in implementing the Geneva Declaration will provide pertinent lessons and inspiration for the future work on Goal 16.

More information:




New Public Event

Every Body Counts: Launch of the Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015

Monday 11 May 2015, 12:00 - 14:00
Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Maison de la paix, Geneva 

Every Body Counts, the 2015 edition of the Global Burden of Armed Violence, provides a wealth of data relevant to security and the post-2015 sustainable development framework. It estimates that 508,000 people died violently—in both conflict and non-conflict settings—every year in 2007–12.

The report offers new evidence of the global distribution of lethal violence and its trends since 2007. It benefits from increased availability of disaggregated data enhancing knowledge of context and characteristics of lethal violence, especially incidents involving firearms. The report also includes in-depth analysis of gender aspects of lethal violence and provides a fine-grain picture of the economic costs of homicide.

The third volume in the Global Burden of Armed Violence series examines how a comprehensive approach to violent deaths can serve to track progress towards a peace and security goal—whether as part of the post-2015 development framework or as a goal within a national strategy.

The Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts will be launched at the Maison de la Paix, Geneva, at 12:00 on 11 May 2015. The event will include presentation on the research findings, followed by a panel discussion.



    New Publications

    Measuring violent deaths and illicit arms flows for the Sustainable Development Goals

    Jointly with the Small Arms Survey, the GD Secretariat has published in March 2015 two Research Notes related to the post-2015 development framework and specifically the measurement of its suggested Goal 16.



    International Women's Day 2015 | 8 March


    60,000 women are killed by armed violence each year

    The forthcoming Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts finds that 60,000 women were victims of lethal violence each year from 2007 to 2012. Intimate partner violence is widespread, and can easily become lethal.

    International Women’s Day, 8 March 2015, gives occasion to pause and reflect on the many lives taken by femicide and intimate partner violence. There have been some positive developments: Earlier this week Brazil approved draft legislation to include femicide into its Criminal Code, officially recognizing the seriousness of violent crimes against women.

    Countries that witness the highest rates of femicide tend to have the lowest share of intimate partner violence-related homicide. In these countries, the proportion of women who are killed outside of the private sphere—as opposed to the ‘intimate circle’—is greater than elsewhere. 

    While men comprise the majority of homicide victims in countries with high levels of violence, a woman’s risk of being killed is also highest in these settings. Wherever there are heightened rates of firearm violence, the risk of victimization increases for the entire male and female population.

    Intimate partner violence is widespread and rarely limited to an isolated episode. As part of an abusive relationship, it can easily become lethal. Prolonged exposure to intolerable levels of violence at home can also lead a victim to commit ‘forced suicide’.

    Recent findings by the Small Arms Survey & the Geneva Declaration Secretariat include:

    Small Arms Survey 2014: Women and Guns
    The 2014 edition of Small Arms Survey's flagship publication considers the multiple roles of women in the context of armed violence, security, and the small arms agenda. It examines violence against women and girls—with a focus on post-conflict Liberia and Nepal—and discusses convergence of the small arms agenda with that of women, peace, and security.

    Video on women’s role

    At the Geneva Regional Review Conference, Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia at UN Women and former Foreign Minister of Iceland, addresses women key role in peace agreements.

    Research Note on femicide

    Femicide: A Global Problem, a Research Note from the Small Arms Survey, in collaboration with the GD Secretariat (2012) (also available in Arabic).



    New Member

    Chad adheres to the Geneva Declaration!

    24.12.2014 The new year starts in a positive manner. The Secretariat welcomes Chad as a new member state of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development. To date 113 states have adhered to the Declaration. 

    La nouvelle année commence de manière positive. Le Secrétariat accueille le Tchad parmi les états membres de la Déclaration de Genève sur la violence armée et le développement. A ce jour la Déclaration compte 113 états membres.