Experts convened by UN call for citizen security to be included in future development agenda

Jan 31, 2013

High-level meeting in Panama City to inform World We Want framework

Panama City - More than a hundred thought leaders, UN officials and civil society representatives are meeting over the next two days in Panama City in order to build consensus and provide recommendations on how to ensure citizen security  and violence reduction are reflected in the future post-2015 development agenda. The meeting - which is hosted by the Government of Panama with the support of the Government of Finland - is part of a series of consultations among global citizens and experts taking place in 100 countries on 11 different topics in order to create a collective vision of the development agenda as the deadline looms for achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

The session was opened by the director of the Foreign Ministry's Agency of Panama, Tomás Guardia, representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Panama, Romulo Roux, the Under Secretary of State, Policy and Development Cooperation of Finland, Anne Sipiläinen, the Deputy Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Deputy Director of the Bureau for Development Policy, Magdy Martinez-Soliman, and the UNICEF Regional Coordinator, Bernt Aasen.

"The global discourse surrounding the post-2015 development agenda – which factors in all geographic regions -  is essential to ensure that we determine a new set of development goals and targets that are driven by human development aspirations, "said Guardia.

The Under-Secretary of State of Finland, Anne Sipiläinen, stressed the importance of continuing to promote the inclusive political processes behind the post-2015 consultations and emphasized the need to address the link between security and development.

Meanwhile, on the consultation process, Martinez-Soliman said: "The United Nations and UNDP are still waiting for inputs and recommendations from more Member States and citizens globally before offering our solutions. What we’re seeing allows us to group the (development) aspirations on four areas: economic opportunity and the end of extreme poverty, social inclusion, environmental sustainability and democratic governance as a set of values, processes and institutions to support the achievement of objectives in the other three pillars."

For UNICEF’s Regional Director Bernt Aasen, the global participation of civil society representatives, and the outcome of these discussions will be key to building a post-2015 agenda which will benefit children and youth, as all violence negatively impacts their physical and social development.

As for the relationship between violence, insecurity and disasters, Ricardo Mena, Head of the Regional Office for the Americas of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, UNISDR, warned that "disasters disproportionately affect populations living in poverty in areas highly exposed to natural hazards and can have social, environmental, economic and political implications which frequently increase conditions of violence and insecurity, and, which, if they persist, can drag communities and countries into governance challengesand/or permanent conflict."

Another issue addressed in the consultation has been the relationship between HIV, violence and conflict. HIV lurks in times of conflict, violence and disasters. The long-term consequences cannot be ignored and must be addressed urgently by all humanitarian programmes. Violence is both a cause and consequence of HIV and both must be addressed through prevention in multiple sectors.

Violence and crime have become critical development issues, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa. Crime, violence and conflict are preventing many countries from achieving the MDGs by their negative impact on economic, social and political development and by destroying the confidence that people have in the state.  The conclusions of the forum held in Panama will be fed into the Conflict, Violence and Disaster thematic consultation,  as one of the eleven topics that will document the UN development agenda post-2015.

This agenda, according to the economist Jose Luis Machinea, former Executive Secretary of ECLAC and forum panelist, "must include inequity in their next targets. All those set goals to reduce poverty in the broadest sense should include indicators of inequality in various dimensions (gender, age, etc). There is almost no region in the world in which inequality has not increased in the last 15 or 20 years. And now particularly Latin America remains the region with the worst income distribution. "

The conclusions of the conference will also feed into the initiative The World We Want, a joint plan between civil society and the United Nations to build a participatory agenda for a just and sustainable world free of poverty. The conference will culminate in a High-Level Consultation on Conflict, Violence, and Disaster in Helsinki on 13 March 2013, which will be hosted by the Government of Finland.

Contact information

UNDP Panama
Pablo Basz | | Tel: (507) 302-4864
Janibeth Miranda | |Tel.: (507) 301-7368
CINUP Panama

Jiesselinde González | | Tel: (507) 301-0034/36
UNISDR Regional Office

Humberto Jaime | | Cel/Wapp (507) 6541-3228

UNDP Around the world