Mass Violence and Atrocities | Readout and Recommendations

Making the Case for Peace in Cities

January 2020

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Over half a million people experience lethal violence each year, and over 82 percent of these violent deaths occur in communities, cities, and countries ostensibly at peace. Violence in cities is responsible for a significant proportion of overall lethal violence, and it tends to concentrate among specific people and places. Despite high levels of lethal violence in cities worldwide, evidence shows that these trends can be changed with effective practices for reducing and preventing urban violence. Mobilizing civil society, municipal staff, and political leaders around this evidence has the potential to reduce overall levels of lethal violence in cities worldwide and thus help make progress on the global call to action under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 to realize the ambition of more-peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

Participants from the peacebuilding, mass violence prevention, and urban violence prevention communities addressed these issues in the roundtable “Making the Case for Peace in Cities: Halving Urban Violence by 2030” at the Stanley Center for Peace and Security’s 60th Strategy for Peace Conference. The center partnered with Impact:Peace and +Peace to align evidence and advocacy efforts to realize the ambition of SDG 16, focusing on target 16.1 to significantly reduce all forms of violence everywhere. Over the course of two and a half days, participants discussed the state of relevant evidence, lessons learned from the field, and the construction of narratives that could spur global action on violence reduction. This Readout & Recommendations offers an in-depth review of the conversation and ideas for pathways forward.

Key Recommendations

  • Strengthen the accessibility and availability of evidence and advocacy tools for municipal leaders and organizations engaged in violence reduction.
    • Compile and share global frameworks as well as local case studies to identify successful approaches to violence reduction.
  • Diversify alliances and knowledge-sharing mechanisms between prevention and peacebuilding actors, government institutions, and the general public.
    • Engage with local actors, including government, public health, and security officials, as well as broader social movements to promote best practices and transparency.
  • Establish an effective, informed, and positive metanarrative for violence reduction that can mobilize global political will for this agenda and be tailored to local contexts.
    • Develop and employ a narrative that is informed by local, national, and global stakeholders and includes immediate actionable items in addition to long-term strategies for violence reduction.
  • Explore opportunities for additional research and engagement.
    • Unite behind urban violence reduction metrics at all levels and identify big political moments to create public pressure and political will for the movement to halve urban violence by 2030.
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