The complexity of armed violence calls for a comprehensive approach to armed violence reduction. When designing Armed Violence Reduction interventions, DDG is guided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Armed Violence Lens. The lens depicts the main elements and intervention levels that shape the patterns of armed violence:
DDG applies a bottom up approach focusing on the security needs and perceptions of the individuals, communities and societies impacted by armed violence.
DDG uncovers and confronts perpetrators of, and accomplices to, armed violence.
DDG addresses the accessibility and availability of weapons and explosive remnants of war.
DDG works to positively impact formal institutions and informal cultural norms, rules and practices that can protect against or enable violence.
By addressing all of these elements DDG ensures a comprehensive approach to armed violence reduction. As indicated in the figure these elements can – and should – be addressed on several levels: Local, national, regional and global. DDG operates to varying degrees on all of these levels in order to ensure maximum impact of our work.
Addressing local conditions and risk factors that can encourage the penetration and entrenchment of armed violence and conflict is important to create a foundation for sustainable peace. By enhancing local capacities for preventing and resolving behaviour that contributes to violent conflict in emerging “pockets of stability” in conflict affected areas, DDG seeks to strengthen local resilience mechanisms and resistance to external pressure. On a local level, DDG’s work is based on a community safety approach which emphasises participatory visioning, planning and implementation and focuses at the grassroots level on bringing members of a community together to identify and develop solutions to their safety and security needs. The aim is to not only improve the immediate security situation, but also to strengthen the target communities’ capacity to resist pressures and prevent and resolve behaviour that contributes to violent conflict.
Semi-local /sub-national level
As armed conflicts are often caused by disagreement or competition for resources or political power between neighbouring communities, it is essential to work on a slightly higher level to create a foundation for lasting peace and development. On a semi-local/sub-national level DDG brings together representatives from communities in a defined administrative area to further inter-communal collaboration and enhance capacity for directly influencing official policy at district, county or similar levels.
Addressing armed violence at a national level is important for generating widespread understanding of the problem and the response; for implementing strategies, policies or laws; and for creating and enabling an environment for local level peace building and AVR initiatives. On a national level, DDG works as an advisory partner to national governments, lending our expertise in Armed Violence Reduction to build capacity and establish and implement structures and policies to deal with the consequences of armed conflicts and prevent new ones from breaking out.
As the causes and consequences of conflict and armed violence tend to transcend boundaries, front lines and borders, so should the search for solutions. Initiatives at the local and national level benefit from being conceived, implemented and coordinated within a framework that addresses root causes and needs, not only within a conflict zone, but also in neighbouring areas and/or countries affected by trans-border organised crime, arms trafficking, massive population movements, etc. DDG therefore has a regional approach, meaning that design and implementation of our projects are based on analyses of patterns in the region in order to ensure that activities are shaped with concern for the wider context and conflict in question. DDG also seeks to utilise its position in the abovementioned local “pockets of stability” to help create a foundation for co-ordinated cross-border action, and establish a dialogue among relevant actors to better understand the regional dimensions of armed violence.
DDG recognises that armed violence is a major obstacle to global development and believes that armed violence reduction should be made a central focus of national and international policy making, practical action and development cooperation. It is important for the international community to work together in delivering effective policy, programming and advice on armed violence reduction, including mine action and efforts to curb the uncontrolled proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons. On a global level, DDG therefore actively engages in the development of internationally accepted and validated standards that will provide comprehensive guidance to practitioners and policymakers on fundamental aspects of armed violence reduction. Furthermore, DDG supports efforts towards further recognition of armed violence as a development issue that needs to be analysed and addressed through new laws and policies and more fervent tangible action.
Five areas of intervention
DDG operates with five areas of intervention in its Armed Violence Reduction framework. All of them are related to the Armed Violence Lens and applicable on every level of involvement from local to global:
- Local institutions for safety
- Small arms and light weapons
- Conflict management and mitigation
- Mine action
- Security providers
These five areas include both long-term interventions, aimed at building capacity and improving knowledge and skills, and quick impact interventions aimed at fostering behavioural change.
The figure below shows examples of DDG’s AVR work as it has been implemented in Liberia, Somalia, Somaliland, South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.