UNDP, Norway pledge to reduce armed violence

21 Oct 2009

Oslo — UNDP Administrator Helen Clark met with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre today to discuss ways in which Norway and UNDP could work together to reduce armed violence, which kills more than 2,000 people every day worldwide, most of whom are civilians.  

“Together we will work to build a framework for practical action —between governments, international organizations, and civil society— aimed at achieving measurable reductions in the global burden of armed violence by 2015,” Miss Clark said. “The challenge is to analyze how armed violence evolves in a given country and support the local authorities in addressing the root causes of the problem.”

Armed violence is the fourth leading cause of death among persons between the ages of 15 and 44 worldwide. In addition, the threat of violence prevents children from going to school, keeps marketplaces from functioning, and puts a burden on already scarce resources in the health sector.

“The international fight against armed violence has not received the attention that such a huge humanitarian challenge deserves. We succeeded in our fight against landmines and cluster munitions. Now our next target is armed violence,” said Mr Støre.

Globally, the economic losses caused by non-conflict and criminal violence have been estimated to be as high as US$ 163 billion per year. This is no less than a global crisis, which is affecting the lives and security of hundreds of thousands of people, threatening international peace and security and development. 

“It is evident that in many countries, there is a need to strengthen the justice sector. A first step is to get control of illegal weapons and address impunity. In order for this to happen, we need global coordination and local action. The same approach was used when we worked on the ban on cluster munitions, and working with UNDP, we believe we can also fight armed violence effectively,” added Mr Støre.

It is estimated that there are between 600 and 875 million small arms and light weapons in circulation worldwide, of which about 400 million are illegally-held.

Helen Clark is in Oslo as part of a four-day visit to Finland, Norway and Sweden.

Contact Information

For further information, please contact: Sandra Macharia, Tel: +1 212 906 5377, sandra.macharia@undp.org

For more information on UNDP's work in crisis prevention, go to http://www.undp.org/cpr/we_do/armed_violence.shtml.