Efus at UN-Habitat’s Expert Group Meeting on urban safety indicators and monitoring

Madrid, Spain, October 2020 – Efus took part in UN-Habitat’s Expert Group Meeting on global urban safety indicators and monitoring tool, which was organised online on 26-28 October 2020 by the UN-Habitat Country Office in Spain and UN-Habitat Safer Cities Programme, with the support of Madrid City Council.

The United Nations Expert Group Meeting gathered some 40 safety experts from around the world – representing the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), academia, research institutes and civil society organisations, as well as, representing Efus, Elizabeth Johnston, Executive Director – who laid the groundwork for the development of a Global Urban Safety Monitoring (USM) Tool. They highlighted the need to include safety as a cross-cutting element in the definition of urban policies and programmes at the regional and local level, under a holistic and integrated approach. In the same way, they stressed the importance of creating monitoring and evaluation mechanisms on safety issues that have an equally comprehensive approach, through the collection of data and selection of efficient indicators.

Efus’ contribution to the UN’s Urban Safety Monitor tool

Efus fully supports the introduction of the USM and encourages its members to adopt it, as it can prove key in developing and implementing a holistic and strategic approach to urban security that is sustainable and based on evidence. Indeed, Efus has long promoted the use of adequate indicators, notably to measure feelings of insecurity in a given territory as well as the results of crime prevention schemes. 

Efus, in partnership with Fixed, a non-governmental organisation specialised in sustainable development strategies, will thus work with UN-Habitat in defining key indicators for global urban safety in consultation with members of the Advisory Panel of Experts. This will allow efficient evaluation of the work of local urban security stakeholders, including local governments, and provide reliable data on issues such as local crime and violence, resilience and cohesion.

A monitor for the UN’s Safer Cities and Human Settlements

UN-Habitat’s Urban Safety Monitor tool will harness the power of data to strengthen evidence-based policies and practices in the area of urban safety and security. The production of a USM prototype will enable cities to adapt and maintain a system of indicators in order to engage in a progressive and productive manner with data, to think critically about the type of urban safety interventions and outcomes included in their local urban safety policies and strategies, to monitor their own performance, and to share evidence of good practice as it emerges.

The United Nations Guidelines on Safer Cities and Human Settlements 

The United Nations Guidelines on Safer Cities and Human Settlements, adopted by the UN-Habitat Assembly in May 2019, seek to orientate actions towards the realisation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda. The guidelines support the role of local governments in achieving the reduction and elimination of the incidence and fear of crime and violence through integrated policy approaches to urban safety and security that include good urban governance, and planning and management in accordance with each country’s criminal policy structure.

The guidelines propose an approach to develop more inclusive urban safety and security policies and strategies at the city level, in which local governments, in collaboration with national and subnational governments, should endeavour to consider the linkages between urban safety and security targets in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 16*.

Guidelines for local governments

The guidelines suggest local governments consider using the following approaches:

  • A community-based approach that ensures the participation of all actors in society in the design, implementation and evaluation of related policies and strategies, with specific focus on marginalised and vulnerable groups.
  • A private-sector and business community partnership approach. 
  • A city-wide approach that acknowledges the diversity of territories, neighbourhoods, cities and human settlements, with targeted neighbourhood interventions to address in particular the situation in urban areas where the risks of becoming involved in crime or being victimised are especially high.
  • A rights-based approach that features inclusive urban safety and security policies and strategies that empower community members to assert their rights and to hold duty bearers to account for failing to deliver on those rights. 
  • An evidence-based approach that encompasses inclusive urban safety and security policies and strategies that are based on a comprehensive understanding of the risks and priorities of specific neighbourhoods and are supported by reliable data and information. 
  • A systems-based approach that incorporates inclusive urban safety and security policies that encompass cross-sectoral and multidisciplinary approaches.

Efus, as a member of the UN-Habitat Global Network on Safer Cities, considers that all these elements are necessary in the design and implementation of public security policies at the local level. As such, Efus encourages and supports its members in applying these approaches in their own local security policies. 

*Objective 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable – Objective 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

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