Investing in Security

A Global Assessment of Armed Violence Reduction Initiatives

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Conservative estimates indicate that at least 740 000 men, women, youth and children die each year as a result of armed violence, most of them in low- and medium-income settings. The majority of these deaths occur in situations other than war, though armed conflicts continue to generate a high incidence of casualties.   Approaches to preventing and reducing these deaths and related suffering are becoming increasingly important on the international agenda. In spite of the global preoccupation with the costs and consequences of armed violence, comparatively little evidence exists about how to stem its risks and effects. Virtually no information is available on Armed Violence Reduction and Prevention interventions, much less their effectiveness.

This publication aims to fill this gap. It seeks to generate more understanding of what works and what does not, to stimulate further evaluation and to contribute to more effective and efficient policies and programmes.

A large-scale mapping of Armed Violence Reduction and Prevention activities around the world form the basis of analysis, focusing primarily on programming trends in six countries – Brazil, Burundi, Colombia, Liberia, South Africa and Timor-Leste. These countries represent the very different programming contexts – from high rates of urban criminal violence to protracted post-conflict insecurity – in which development practitioners are currently engaged.

While offering new data and analysis, this assessment builds directly on the 2009 publication Armed Violence Reduction: Enabling Development.



This report represents a groundbreaking effort to map out armed violence reduction and prevention (AVRP) programmes around the world. It introduces an innovative conceptual framework and survey methodology, and new empirical material. It is not a “how to” guide to programming, but rather a descriptive overview of the state of AVRP programming. While not exhaustive – the focus was primarily on mapping six settings and 570 initiatives – it is substantial. The findings are illustrative of the many thousands of programmes being advanced to prevent armed violence in lower- and middle-income contexts.


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