The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has teamed up with Norway in a new drive to try to reduce armed violence, which kills more than 2,000 people every day, most of them 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,” said UNDP chief Helen Clark, who is in Oslo as part of a four-day visit that also includes stops in Finland and Sweden.
Miss Clark, who discussed the issue with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, 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.
According to UNDP, armed violence is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide among people aged 15 to 44.
The threat of violence also impacts society by preventing children from going to school, keeping marketplaces from functioning, and placing a burden on already scarce resources in the health sector.
It is no less than “a global crisis,” stated the agency, which is affecting the lives and security of hundreds of thousands of people, threatening international peace and security and development.
Mr. Støre highlighted the need to strengthen the justice sector in many countries, and called for controlling illegal weapons and addressing impunity as first steps.
There are estimated to be between 600 million and 875 million small arms and light weapons circulating around the world, 400 million of which are held illegally.