This paper was prepared for the Small Arms Working Group of Peacebuild.
In recent years, development, small arms and security communities have begun to recognize the links between armed violence and development issues. The interest has been driven, on the one hand, by the need to assure sustainable development in the midst of armed conflict and, on the other hand, by the realization that effective control of armed violence and small arms proliferation depends on supportive development programing.
In 2006, prior to the UN review conference on small arms, a majority of states declared their belief that development and small arms control were integrally connected. Despite this support, there continue to be real questions about the extent of that connection and the success that can be expected from programs that link these policy areas.
So far, Canada has shown some formal support for the integration of development planning with efforts to reduce armed violence and improved security systems. In contrast, Canadian development organizations, including the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), have been less engaged. In fact, CIDA does not have a declared policy on armed violence or peacebuilding, let alone one on small arms control.
This briefing summarizes the effects of armed violence on development and, conversely, the effects of development programs on the levels of armed violence. It also reviews Canadian engagement in issues of armed violence and development issues and suggest a number of steps toward a more prominent role for Canadian development agencies in this emerging area.