Nepal team presents at expert meeting on crime observatories in Geneva

28 Jun 2013

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A team of senior officials from the Government of Nepal (GoN) and UNDP attended an international expert meeting on "Violence reduction and peacebuilding: How crime and violence observatories can contribute" held in Geneva, Switzerland on June 26-28, 2013.

Joint Secretary of Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) Shankar Prasad Koirala, who led the Nepali team to the expert meeting, said the gathering provided insight into promising practices and challenges for different kinds of crime observatories - a timely experience as Nepal is in process of creating its own Nepal Center for Crime Observation (NCCO).

UNDP Nepal is supporting GoN in establishing of NCCO, which will monitor and analyze situations of crime and violence, in an effort to contribute to ongoing armed violence reduction efforts and development planning. The NCCO will do this by gathering data on a regular basis, analyzing it systematically, and disseminating the results to inform policy decisions.

The Geneva event helped Nepal's representatives deepen their understanding on the scope and effectiveness of some of the best crime and violence observatories operational in different countries. Addressing the expert meeting, Koirala said Nepal's crime observation system would build on the experiences of Honduras, France and other countries and "provide a strong evidence base for security and development programming in Nepal."

While Koirala stressed that government ownership of the observatory would make it more sustainable, he also laid out GoN's vision to engage with "civil society and academia to provide secondary data and also to analyze the existing data and make specific recommendations on how it could inform security and development programming."

As part of its obligation under the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, the Government of Nepal has undertaken a number of armed violence reduction projects. UNDP Nepal is supporting the Government of Nepal through the AVRSCS project.

The expert meeting in Geneva also highlighted some challenges around institutionalization of crime observation: the most crucial were issues of sustainability in terms of funding, security of data, ownership and the need for engaging the civil society, the challenges of ensuring effective communication between the observatory and the police, and establishing effective communication amongst the potential users of the database.

Also tied to the Geneva trip was a study visit to the French National Supervisory Body on Crime and Punishment (ONDRP), one of the models preferred by the Government of Nepal. Through the visit, the Nepali team learned about the French experience in establishing observatory, including the process of developing by-laws and how analysis emerging from the observatory can help strengthen police tactics, in fighting crime and violence.
 
Overall, the visit remained fruitful in helping Nepal's representatives learn more about the best practices on crime observatories and understand new challenges facing the security sector.