Armed Violence – Interstate

Guide to United Nations Resources and Activities for the Prevention of Interpersonal Violence

The World Health Organization published this guide in 2002, describing the violence prevention efforts implemented by several agencies of the United Nations (UN). These efforts include the development of communities, protection of human rights, disarmament, and peacebuilding education. This source addresses the main concerns for different UN agencies, such as the UN Institute for Disarmament Research and its focus on regional and global disarmament, as well as the methods each UN agency uses to solve problems. The guide takes a closer look at violence prevention in several countries, including Sierra Leone, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea, and Liberia.

“Guide to United Nations Resources and Activities for the Prevention of Interpersonal Violence.” World Health Organization. Geneva, Switzerland. 2002. Web. 16 July 2014. <>.


Armed Violence Prevention and Reduction: A Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

The Geneva Declaration has been signed by over 100 countries and is described as “a diplomatic initiative aimed at addressing the interrelations between armed violence and development.” To give a background on armed violence and the ways to solve it, this source defines armed violence, reviews different contexts of the violence, and measures international responses. This is a paper published in 2008 by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, which states that the implementation of the Declaration itself will make a global contribution to armed violence prevention with the specific aim of improving social and economic development.

Geneva Declaration Secretariat. “Armed Violence Prevention and Reduction: A Challenge for Achieving the Millennium Development Goals.” Geneva, Switzerland. June 2008. Web. 3 July 2014. <>.


Global Burden of Armed Violence (p. 49-66)

With a focus on post-war armed violence, the pages selected highlight violence prevention strategies that differ from other sources. Several countries continue to experience armed violence after the major conflict has ended, such as what took place in Afghanistan after the Taliban government was overthrown. To combat the violence, policymakers design interventions to target those perpetrating armed violence and protect the most vulnerable. Examples of risk factors include substance abuse, a history of victimization, violence in the home, attitudes that support the use of violence, and high levels of economic inequality. General conditions such as social and economic exclusion, rapid urbanization and social dislocation, unequal access to basic public services, unemployment, and living in poor and socially marginalized areas appear to be correlated with the onset of criminal violence. For instance, in West and Central Africa, youth are rapidly and forcibly recruited from urban slums into more structured political institutions such as militia or even rebel groups. This report stresses the need for greater attention to the dynamics of post-war urban-armed violence, given that many of these factors are associated with rapid urbanization.

Geneva Declaration Secretariat. “Global Burden of Armed Violence.” Geneva, Switzerland. September 2008. p. 49-66. Web. 31 July 2014. <>.


Preventing and Reducing Armed Violence in Urban Areas: Programming Note

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development works “to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.” This source introduces an approach that involves cooperation between multiple levels of government. Local government may be the most essential type of intervention because it is the most responsive, but it can be much more effective if it is supported by a larger framework on violence prevention. The piece uses Diadema, Brazil as an example of success by enforcing local by-laws. Reducing the homicide rate by an estimated 44% in only four years was accomplished through the restriction of alcohol and gun sales, the establishment of mediation centers that promote nonviolent conflict resolution, and education focused on crime and violence prevention. These strategies combine long and short-term interventions, which is most effective when aiming to achieve comprehensive results.

“Preventing and Reducing Armed Violence in Urban Areas: Programming Note.” Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. 2011. Web. 25 July 2014. <>.


Preventing and Reducing Armed Violence: Development Plans and Assistance (p. 16-17, 26-28)

The selected pages address common obstacles that exist for violence prevention programs. First, systems for reporting violence are often weak in developing countries. This not only prevents development practitioners from correctly identifying the risks and impacts of violence, but also restricts them from developing targeted intervention programs. A second major concern is the lack of funds. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and The World Bank argue that there is not enough investment in prevention. Some donors view preventive approaches as particularly cost-effective, yet prevention receives relatively little funding compared with support for law enforcement. A third obstacle is that donor programming is too narrow, focusing on the repercussions and not on the root causes. There needs to be more attention dedicated to patterns, post-war political economies, and future risk factors.

Bayne, Sarah and Catriona Gourlay. “Preventing and Reducing Armed Violence: Development Plans and Assistance.” 20-22 April 2010. p. 16-17, 26-28. Web. 26 July 2014. <>.

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