Mass Violence and Atrocities | Readout and Recommendations

Taking Stock of the Evidence: What Works to Reduce Violence and Prevent Atrocities?

January 2018


While violence and violent conflict are increasing worldwide and violence containment costs the global economy $14.3 trillion per year, according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, less than 10 percent of global official development assistance (ODA) is spent on the characteristics that can prevent violence in the first place, including countering humanitarian suffering, mass violence and atrocities, and chronic underdevelopment. When asked why a higher proportion of ODA is not going toward violence reduction and conflict or atrocity prevention, policymakers routinely cite a lack of sound evidence for solutions that work.

At the Stanley Center’s 58th annual Strategy for Peace Conference, October 18–20, 2017, experts in the roundtable “Taking Stock of the Evidence: What Works to Reduce Violence and Prevent Atrocities?” considered the current status of research efforts and evidence in prevention, as well as effective strategies to guide successful policy and programmatic investments and to help communities and whole societies find ways to break the cycle of violence, build resilience, and promote sustainable peaceful change.

The resulting discussion yielded recommendations for all peacebuilding and atrocity prevention stakeholders along three main categories:

  1. Build a greater shared knowledge base across the prevention and peacebuilding fields.
  2. Consider strategies and tactics for the prevention field.
  3. Craft informed, effective, and targeted messaging for policy advocacy.

This policy dialogue brief includes specific methods for enacting these recommendations and it details major aspects of the roundtable discussion.