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Measuring and Monitoring Armed Violence: EC at the Geneva Declaration Regional Review Conference 

First published 17th Jul 2014

EC Senior Advocacy Officer, Hana Salama speaks on the panel, 'From data collection to action: What data is needed for global policies?' .

Members of the Every Casualty Campaign, including the Every Casualty Programme at Oxford Research Group and Action on Armed Violence, spoke earlier this month at the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development Regional Review Conference for Europe, the Caucuses and Central Asia.  The Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development is a high-level diplomatic initiative that recognises and aims to address the link between armed violence and development.  The initiative is designed to support states and civil society actors to achieve measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence in conflict and non-conflict settings by 2015 and beyond. This Declaration is now endorsed by over 100 states. 

At the Regional Review Conference, which took place on 8-9 July 2014 in Geneva, participant states recognized that despite the region’s relatively low rates of armed violence, they continue to face a number of challenges: South Eastern Europe has a high homicide rate from firearms, while the whole region suffers from relatively high rates of lethal violence against women.Audience members at the Regional Review Conference for Europe, the Caucuses and Central Asia, 8 July 2014.

Representatives from EC and AOAV, invited to speak on the needs and challenges of using data on casualties to inform armed violence reduction policies, stressed the need for collecting timely, reliable, informative, impartial and disaggregated data. 

Hana Salama, Coordinator of the Every Casualty Campaign, spoke specifically about advancing the recommendation of the UN Secretary General in his most recent report on the protection of civilians for a UN-wide mechanism to record all civilian casualties as part of the UN’s broader human rights monitoring mandate. She explained that the conditions for successful implementation of such a mechanism, as well as for using the data produced to enhance the protection of civilians, depends on three factors: firstly, the political will of member states to both demand accurate casualty data as a benchmark for multilateral intervention and to establish a mechanism to capture it, as well as to enhance their own capacities to record and share relevant information about casualties; secondly, the coordination of UN entities on conducting casualty recording and using resultant data to both address and reduce the impact of violence on conflict affected populations, and for the purpose of global policy making; and lastly, for all actors including states, UN and civil society organisations, to work towards implementing common standards in casualty recording practice that are underpinned by the principles of impartiality, transparency, rigorous methodology and the 'do no harm' principle. 

On the last day of the conference, civil society members of the Global Alliance on Armed Violence – of which the Every Casualty programme at ORG is a member – read out a common statement urging states and other stakeholders to take action to reduce the impact and incidence of armed violence regionally and worldwide. This statement highlighted the needs for all countries of the region to support a goal on peaceful societies at the upcoming negotiation on the Post-2015 framework, and to improve their national capacities to record and share relevant data on armed violence, including data on casualties.

Read the GAAV statement in full here