Roundtable Discussion on Development and Atrocity Prevention

On the afternoon of December 2, 2019, the Auschwitz Institute joined with the Permanent Mission of Germany to the United Nations in New York City to organize a roundtable discussion entitled “Promoting Peaceful and Inclusive Societies: The Case for Greater Collaboration between the Development and Atrocity Prevention Agendas.” The discussion aimed to explore how development policy interfaces with the prevention of violent conflict and mass atrocities. It also addressed, more specifically, Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16), which targets peace, justice and strong institutions and explored SDG16’s relationship to the atrocity prevention agenda.

The event was opened with introductory remarks made by Deputy Permanent Representative Ambassador Jürgen Shulz of Germany and Owen Pell, Chair of the Auschwitz Institute’s Board of Directors. Following this, the roundtable’s three panelists – Sarah Rattray, Global Policy Specialist for Human Rights at the United Nations Development Programme, Dr. James Waller, Director of Academic Programs at the Auschwitz Institute and Department Chair of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Keene State College, and Constanza Boettger, Program Officer with CRIES (Argentina) and Regional Liaison Officer for Latin America and the Caribbean at the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – initiated the discussion.

The three panelists explored the overlap between atrocity prevention, development, and SDG16 for peace, justice and strong institutions. While discussion benefitted from the unique perspective and experiences of each panelist, there was a strong general agreement with the idea that the objectives of the development and atrocity prevention agendas are closely linked and that higher levels of collaboration should be realized between those working in each field. The experts also emphasized the need for more and better bridges to be built between civil society, the United Nations, and its member states as well as the need for additional attention on the topic of data collection and analysis processes that often differ sharply between government and civil society.