IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsCitizen Security Joins the Post-2015 Development Agenda


print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Monday, July 01, 2013

Citizen Security Joins the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Much has been learned from the experiences of both countries and international development partners working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were declared in 2000. In particular, country experience has revealed the importance of citizen security for achieving sustainable development, underscoring the importance of including armed violence prevention and reduction in the post-2015 MDGs framework.

In an effort to highlight perspectives on ways to reduce and prevent armed violence, IPI and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) co-hosted a policy forum on July 1st, in conjunction with UNDP’s Annual Meeting on Strengthening the Rule of Law in Crisis-Affected and Fragile Situations.

Luis Ramirez began the discussion by sharing his experiences as Special Adviser to the Attorney General of Guatemala. Guatemala, which went through thirty years of civil war, began its transformation towards democracy in 1995 after a peace agreement was established between the government and guerilla fighters.

Speaking with the aid of a translator, Mr. Ramirez said that the contributions of the international community and political will caused a decreased in violent crimes in the country during the last few years. He provided four variables which he believed helped to bring the numbers down: political will of institutions such as the police and judiciary; management of the institutions; the development of IT systems; and lastly, the working methodology of the institutions.

Iman El Hussien, Program Analyst, UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (BCPR), presented the case study of Sudan, making the connections to insecurity and development. She explained that the region of Sudan faces significant security and political challenges and in the local context, different dynamics are at play.

“The presence of armed groups and high levels of arms continues in communities in larger conflicts, in addition to other challenges that face certain groups in the community, like women [and] children, and therefore sexual violence becomes a reality of everyday to some of the communities and recruitment of child soldiers is the only source of living to certain households,” Ms. El Hussein said.

She noted, “It is important to know that these local challenges are also related to macro-level conflict dynamics, like the regional influx of arms. They are both fed into each other.”

In Darfur, Ms. El Hussein explained, poverty levels are among some of the highest in the country with almost two thirds of the population falling below the poverty line.

She argued that the complexity of the conflict and insecurity in Sudan requires responses at all levels in order to address immediate security challenges, providing four main practices to address the issue: fostering a political will at the macro-level; developing strategy and policy making at the national level; addressing the reasons why people resort to carrying arms; and focusing on improving service delivery of government institutions.

She contended that a major lesson drawn from Sudan is that it is important to know the different responses that are effective, depending on the local context of each community.

Discussing some of the paradoxes often faced when working on security and justice was Petter Bauck, Senior Adviser at the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, who shared some of his personal experience working in countries of conflict.

Mr. Bauck said, “We experience again and again that people turn to violence and armed struggle to end occupation, oppression, injustice and marginalization, often when other means have proven useless. Is all violence, therefore, to be condemned?”

Taking the example of Nepal, he asked, “Would the transformation process ongoing in Nepal been possible without ten years of armed struggle from the Maoist against the Nepal Royal army?”

“I say this to make us aware that sometimes human conclude that use of violence is necessary to change the political, social and economic context in a way more conducive for sustainable and inclusive development,” he argued. “We’re in need of a thorough understanding of the reasons and forces behind the conflicts and who are the connectors to work with and spoilers to neutralize or change.”

Sheelagh Stewart, Director of Governance and Rule of Law Group at UNDP’s BCPR, provided concluding remarks, reiterating some of the points made by the previous speakers.

“It’s very important to ask communities why they are arming themselves,” Ms. Stewart said. She asserted that taking on a holistic approach is important, not one that relies only on rules and laws, but on an approach of asking communities what they need to feel safe.

“Violence and conflict hold back development. According to the World Bank, no low-income country affected by conflict or high-level of violence has met a single MDG,” she noted.

One billion people live in poverty, Ms. Stewart explained, principally because they live in parts of the world affected by chronic violence and chronic insecurity. She described it as the development challenge of our time.

“So as a way forward, we consider the ongoing post-2015 discussions as a great opportunity to agree at the highest level,” she concluded, “that security, armed violence and development are interlinked and that there is a need to include a goal specifically targeting the reduction of violence.”

Watch event:

The Global Observatory

Can UN-led Talks Bring Together a Fractured Libya?
The success of the negotiations hinges on the UN's ability to bring all parties to the table.

Key Global Events to Watch in January
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2015: Ten Multilateral Events to Watch This Year
A list of ten events that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2015, compiled by IPI’s Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

January 20, 2015
Mongolian Foreign Policy Between ''Two Giants''
On January 20, Mongolia’s new Foreign Minister Purevsuren Lundeg visited the IPI Vienna office and gave an informal briefing on Mongolia’s contemporary foreign policy priorities and challenges.

January 20, 2015
Dutch FM Koenders: ''The Security Council Has to Change''
Speaking to an overflow IPI audience on January 20th, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders acknowledged how far the United Nations has come since its inception 70 years ago but said that the organization still “has a lot of growing up to do.”

December 15, 2014
Fathi: Iran and the Struggle Between Hardliners and Reformers
Discussing her new book The Lonely War: One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran at IPI on December 15th, author Nazila Fathi said that 35 years after the revolution, Iran is divided between hardliners and a large moderate middle class, but admitted that it is still unclear which of the two sides will gain the upper hand.

View More