The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development: A Vision of Hope

Kyrgyzstan: The violence that erupted in 2010 caused grave humanitarian consequences, including the separation of families. Photo: Marko Kokic/ICRC

More than 1.5 billion people around the world face the horrifying reality of an existence affected by war, violence or high levels of crime. Armed violence destroys lives and communities, and extinguishes any hope of eliminating poverty for millions of people. Although the incidence of armed conflict has declined in recent years, the number of people killed by armed violence has not. More than 740,000 men, women, and children die each year as a result of armed violence. The majority of these deaths—490,000—occur in countries that are not affected by armed conflicts.

Highlights

  • More than 740,000 men, women, and children die each year as a result of armed violence.
  • To help address a political solution to this challenge, the UNDP Office in Geneva facilitated the drafting and adoption by governments of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which highlights the role that states and civil society must play in preventing and reducing violence associated with war, crime, and social unrest.
  • The Declaration, endorsed by 112 states is the strongest political statement to date that addresses the impact of armed violence within a development context.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is committed to reducing armed violence to enable development. In partnership with organizations and agencies across the world, UNDP strives to promote a vision of hope for a world where communities lay down their arms and work together to build a brighter future.

To help address a political solution to this challenge, the UNDP Office in Geneva facilitated the drafting and adoption by governments of the  Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which highlights the role that states and civil society must play in preventing and reducing violence associated with war, crime, and social unrest. It is a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development.

The Declaration was adopted on 7 June 2006 and is now endorsed by 112 states. It is the strongest political statement to date that addresses the impact of armed violence within a development context. Regular high-level diplomatic regional meetings and ministerial review conferences take place to assess progress concerning the process and implementation of the Geneva Declaration; the first two ministerial review conferences took place in 2008 and 2011 and the next one has been scheduled for 2014.

A Core Group of 14 signatory states and affiliated organizations is responsible for steering the process and guiding the implementation of the Geneva Declaration. Affiliated organizations include the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Small Arms Survey—which also hosts the Geneva Declaration Secretariat—, the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the Quaker United Nations Office (QUNO).

In the summer of 2012, UNDP and the Small Arms Survey organized an exhibition along the Geneva waterfront that introduced the public to the text of the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development.   The exhibition presented the essence of this declaration, offering a vision of hope. A booklet was produced with the 50 panels of the exhibition, available here in English and French.

For more information visit the Geneva Declaration Secretariat: http://www.genevadeclaration.org/

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