Conflict and Fragility

2074-3637 (online)
2074-3645 (print)
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This series of books from OECD's Development Co-operation Directorate address the issues of violent conflict and fragile governments in developing countries, and how aid can be designed to reduce violence and strengthen governments.

Also available in French
Armed Violence Reduction

Armed Violence Reduction

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02 Mar 2009
9789264060173 (PDF) ;9789264060159(print)

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Each year, 740 000 people die as a result of armed violence. It increasingly exploits a link between conflict and crime and undermines our chances of reaching the Millennium Development Goals. This book will help aid donors - both policy advisors and programme staff - to transform good words into good programmes that can ultimately help reduce armed violence globally.
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  • Executive Summary
    The incidence of armed conflict and combat deaths has been declining in recent years. But the number of people killed by armed violence has not. Approximately 740 000 people die as a result of armed violence each year. The majority of these deaths occur in countries not affected by conflict; they are instead due to homicide and interpersonal violence.
  • Introduction
    Armed conflict and direct combat deaths appear to be on the decline in the 21st century (Human Security Report, 2006, 2008; CICS, 2005a; UNDP, 2005a). But the number of people killed and affected by armed violence is not. Approximately 740 000 people die as a result of armed violence each year. More than 490 000 of these deaths occur in countries not affected by conflict; they are instead due to homicide and interpersonal violence. Fewer than 55 000 of the total are direct casualties of war.
  • What is Armed Violence?
    Armed violence consists of the use or threatened use of weapons to inflict injury, death or psychosocial harm, which undermines development. Although present in all societies, armed violence disproportionately affects low- and-middle income countries (WHO, 2008; CICS, 2005a, 2005b; UNDP, 2005a; Small Arms Survey, 2003). It is not just Afghanistan, Somalia, Sri Lanka and Sudan, but also South Africa, Guatemala, El Salvador and Jamaica that are badly affected.1 The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that armed violence is among the top five leading causes of deaths for adults (WHO, n.d., 2006, 2008).
  • Armed Violence Trends and Programming Gaps

    The past decade has witnessed a proliferation in the range and complexity of armed violence. Examples include:

    • The incidence of armed violence in many non-conflict countries exceeding that of certain countries affected by war. The risk of dying violently in parts of Brazil, Jamaica, Trinidad or Guatemala is higher than in many countries afflicted by war.

    • The linkages in certain countries and cities between socio-political conflict and crime. In conflict-affected countries such as Afghanistan, Colombia, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, armed groups often fragment and seek to control illicit markets. In many cases these groups are not just locally connected; rather, they are aligned with transnational criminal networks and global supply chains.

  • Armed Violence Reduction and Prevention (AVR) and the Armed Violence Lens
    Many development practitioners and their national partners now agree that comprehensive approaches are needed to reduce and prevent armed violence. They have begun to adapt a wide assortment of programmes to meet this objective. Ongoing programming in the field is signposting a number of critical ways forward. This section considers a range of lessons learned and programming experiences that have shaped the AVR approach. It then introduces the armed violence lens, which can help development actors to better identify drivers, risk factors and the effects of armed violence, and identify strategic entry points for intervention.
  • Assessments
    Assessments are central to effective AVR programming. They establish key criteria, benchmarks and data essential to the design of interventions and monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness (Alkire, 2008). It is important to stress that the armed violence lens is not a "new" assessment tool. Rather, it serves as a complementary framework that can help development practitioners and their counterparts draw together information and insights derived from existing assessment tools.
  • Programming Implications and Approaches
    The AVR approach has distinct implications for development practice. The first section of this chapter signposts some ways in which AVR can contribute to programming at the local, national, regional, and global levels. The second section presents two main programming approaches, direct and indirect.
  • Annexes
  • Bibliography
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