At Launch of Global Study on Homicide, Deputy Secretary-General Calls for Strengthening Institutions to Make Them More Robust, Resilient, Inclusive

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks on the occasion of the launch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) Study on Homicide, in New York today:

I am pleased to join Executive Director Ghada Waly for the launch of the 2023 UNODC Global Study on Homicide.

Homicide, the killing of one human being by another, takes many forms.  Yet, it shares a commonality; it is a tragic loss for family members and friends with extensive societal and economic costs.

High levels of homicide are often an expression of structural problems that countries face.  This is why reducing homicides and all forms of violence is the very first target of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 of the 2030 Agenda.

This study gives us a clear, sobering picture:  we are falling short of our target.

It is a stark reminder that sustainable development is not an abstract aspiration, and that failure to deliver can — literally — be a matter of life and death.  It shows that the 2030 homicide rate may only be 23 per cent lower than in 2015 — too far away from the 2030 Agenda goal.

Homicide in the home affects women and girls the most.  Women and girls account for some 54 per cent of all victims of killings at home; and two thirds of victims of intimate partner killings.

At the same time, young men are most at risk of being victims of homicide, and they are most likely to be involved in organized crime-related homicides, both as victims and offenders.

Many factors explain the complex patterns of homicides around the world.

One important factor is demographics, such as a high share of young men.  So, too, are higher levels of poverty, economic inequality and the absence of the rule of law.  Finally, feminicides often result from gender inequality and discrimination, unequal power relations and harmful social norms.

This report is an important reminder that there is a long way to go until 2030.  While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, we can take concrete actions to address the root causes.

First, Governments and UN country teams can collaborate to ensure effective data-gathering to understand and target the root causes within each country.

We need to understand both perpetrators and victims better to enhance prevention and protection measures.  Without such data, we cannot craft responses to address the problem, and the vision of leaving no one behind remains illusionary.

Second, there is evidence on reducing violence and crime that Governments and UN country teams can use to design effective violent prevention programmes.

The Spotlight Initiative is a prime example aimed at reducing gender-based violence.  It focuses on six mutually reinforcing programme pillars that tackle different root causes of gender-based violence.  They include strengthening laws and institutions, community-based prevention activities, and empowering women and women’s movements in civil society.  Jointly, these activities have led to substantial decreases in violence against women and girls.

Third, the United Nations plays a crucial role in supporting countries in accelerating the SDGs, which cannot be accomplished when homicides are rampant, because we know that violence and insecurity have devastating impacts to a country’s development.

The evidence is clear on what we need to do to reduce homicides:  we need to roll out large-scale poverty reduction programmes, offer employment and educational opportunities to reduce income inequality, and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all.  Our 2030 Agenda provides us with a strong road map to start with.

In his New Agenda for Peace, the Secretary-General reminds us that every violent death is preventable and calls on Member States and the United Nations to dedicate greater resources to address persistent violence outside of armed conflicts.

It is our collective moral responsibility to achieve SDG 16, and to do so, we need targeted programmes to prevent vulnerable persons from becoming perpetrators or victims.

We must strengthen our institutions—making them more robust, resilient and inclusive — which is at the core of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Let’s work together to create a less violent, more peaceful world where no one is left behind.

For information media. Not an official record.