More Violence, Less Development: Examining the relationship between armed violence and MDG achievement

On 13 September 2010, the Geneva Declaration Secretariat launched a new publication that offers an innovative statistical assessment of the two-way association between armed violence and under-development. The study demonstrates how armed violence obstructs development across many fronts. In a sentence – it severely compromises the skills and assets that are essential to living a productive life and shortens planning and investment horizons. But it also takes the debate further than this. It highlights how underdevelopment – expressed as unemployment or income inequality – tends to be correlated with higher rates of armed violence. Meanwhile, developmental progress tends to be associated with lower rates of armed violence.


Faces of Violence: A Non-Fiction Story

Armed violence is hard to define but easy to describe. The short documentary Faces of Violence: A Non-Fiction Story examines the many dimensions of violence and its implications for the development sector. In focusing on key risk factors and impacts of armed violence, it shows how it is fundamentally a development challenge. Faces of Violence features the stories of a former drug trafficker from Brazil and an ex-combatant from war-torn Southern Sudan. It highlights how both were once perpetrators of violence, then victims and ultimately, part of the solution to achieving lasting peace in their communities. Faces of Violence is a reminder of the poignant human stories behind the statistics, and a call to action for development practitioners around the world.


An international dialogue on peacebuilding and statebuilding

There is a growing consensus amongst donors and partners that fragile contests require “special approaches” that are a different than ostensibly stable situations. At a minimum, coherent national and international approaches to peacebuilding and statebuilding are considered essential. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and its Development Assistance Committee (DAC) have sponsored a series of high level forums on aid effectiveness. These have sought to formulate realistic peacebuilding and statebuilding priorities. To facilitate the process, an inclusive international dialogue was launched in December 2008.

The international dialogue offers opportunities to share ideas, consolidate priorities and build consensus. A particular focus is on south-south cooperation and identifying new ways of working together. The outcomes will feed into the MDG Review Process and be presented in Seoul in 2011. A recent outcome of the international dialogue is the Dili Declaration agreed in April 2010 that sets out a series of priorities agreed by donor and partner states and civil society to foster peacebuilding and strengthen safety and security.


Geneva Declaration at the 12th UNODC Congress in Salvador, Brazil 

On April 15, the GD secretariat, UNDP and QUNO supported a panel with six participants at the 12th UNODC Congress 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 UNODC. It also featured a candidate for the post of the future USG of UNODC. The goal of the panel was to highlight effective local/community-led activities that drew on "developmental" approaches to preventing and reducing crime.

Attended by more than two dozen observers, the panel generated a number of important findings. First, it focused on the limits of police- and penal-focused approaches in contexts where wider fundamental rights are not respected.  Second, it considered the fundamental limitations of repressive and crack-down approaches to criminal violence prevention and reduction with examples of alternative developmental approaches from Sao Paolo, Rio de Janiero, St Kitts and Nevis, and elsewhere. Third, it emphasised the importance of  supporting experimental approaches initiated at the middle-ranks of police forces as well as women police.

Overall, the panel called for more support to "developmental"  programmes that target systemic risks facing youth and children in areas sensitive to criminal violence. Examples include school-based programmes, recreation/sports activities, and other full spectrum activities. These activities should be data-driven/evidence-based and carefully monitored - suggesting a need for more emphasis on comparative data collection. Related, the panel highlighted the causal correlation between "more guns and more crime" and noted the effects of arms reduction on enhancing security.


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.


Los Angeles Mayor Interview

In an interview with the New York Times, Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa explains his strategy to break apart the city's most violent street gangs.


Merida Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention

A Meeting of Ministers of Health of the Americas on Violence and Injury Prevention occurred in Mexico in March 2008 with support from PAHO/WHO, CDC and the Mexican government. The meeting sought to draw attention to the wide-ranging impacts of violence in the world, primarily in Latin-America countries. One outcome of the meeting was a Ministerial Declaration on Violence and Injury Prevention in the Americas that was widely praised by represented Ministries of Health, the WHO and PAHO.

At the time, the Director of PAHO noted that "The Declaration of Mérida has been drafted in consultation with all the countries, which have made valuable contributions and suggestions. Its signature will be a historic moment in the commitment of the Ministers of Health of the Americas and the beginning of a new stage of effort and energy to tackle this enormous problem that affects the health, well-being, and harmonious survival of society as a whole."


Blog of the World Bank on 'Conflict and Development'

The blog on 'Conflict and Development' is hosted by the team working on the World Bank’s upcoming World Development Report 2011 'Conflict, Security, and Development'. This forum debates practical suggestions on how to address conflict and fragility at the local, national, regional and global levels