The United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific (UNRCPD) organized a regional seminar in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 15 to 18 March, to discus the best and promising practices and lessons learnt from experiences on armed violence reduction and prevention programmes within the South and Southeast Asia region and beyond. The seminar was co-hosted by the Government of Nepal with additional support from the Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery of the UN Development Programme, the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and the Development Secretariat and the Government of Switzerland.
The seminar was officially opened by the Hon. Barsaman Pun, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction of Nepal. Representatives from 17 countries in South and Southeast Asia, as well as international and regional organizations, including the United Nations and civil society organizations attended.
The discussion with presentations by regional and international experts provided an opportunity for examining the intersection between armed violence and development leading to steps government’s could take to reduce the threat of armed violence by establishing prevention programmes.
Participants and break out groups highlighted the potential positive role of the media as well as government cooperation with civil society organizations and the private sector as ways to reduce armed violence. The development of good practices in the delivery of social services were important too. Key instruments to promote ownership, responsibility and increased cooperation on a local, national and regional level were: reliable data on armed violence, evidence and research-based policies.
The seminar proved to be a timely effort to address an urgent issue in South and Southeast Asia. It paved the way for increased efforts by actors in the region and served its purpose in increasing awareness of a complex issue, identifying best and promising practices and existing needs, fostering inter-sectoral and inter regional cooperation, and outlining ways forward and mechanisms for assistance to reduce and prevent armed violence.