June 2021 – Efus and the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention (CMNCP) co-organised an online meeting with members of nine of international organisations working on urban security for an informal conversation on their respective priorities, concerns and current initiatives, on 8 June.
The idea was to somehow replicate the informal exchanges that usually take place behind the scenes in in-person conferences and spark creativity, ideas, networking and so forth. As the world enters a second summer of Covid-related restrictions, Efus and the CMNCP felt it was time to have a general chit chat on questions such as: What are the biggest challenges you are currently facing and how has Covid-19 impacted them? What topics and projects are you working on now? What are your upcoming events, publications, discussions?
Nine international organisations
Besides the CMNCP, nine organisations that work on urban security and sustainable development and with which Efus regularly collaborates were represented: the German and European Forum DEFUS; the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC); the Montreal-based International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC); the NGO Fixed Africa, which is specialised in sustainable development; the Peace in Our Cities initiative, a network of 20 cities and 30 community-based and international partners that seek to halve urban violence; the Scandinavian network Nordic Safe Cities; the Global Parliament of Mayors; Safetipin, an NGO that seeks to make public spaces safer and more inclusive for women; the German government’s international cooperation agency GIZ, and UN-Habitat’s Safer Cities programme.
Adapting to the pandemic
The pandemic undoubtedly meant an adaptation of the partners’ activities, e.g., those working in the field had to stop their activities and create new mechanisms to maintain contact with their partners at the territorial level. In some other cases their activities were focused on a single city and many others had to strengthen their support tools for cities.
In terms of the issues that became a priority during the pandemic, support to vulnerable populations (victims of domestic violence, drug addicts, rough sleepers, senior citizens, unaccompanied migrant children) were a high priority. Also, the phenomenon of organised crime gained ground during the pandemic, as well as polarisation, fuelled in part by opposition to the vaccines and the restrictive measures imposed to curb the spread of the virus.
Regarding future areas of work, many of the partners expressed the need to work on methodological tools (indicators, indices…) that will allow cities to identify, propose solutions and above all evaluate initiatives and understand urban security issues in an integrated manner, taking into account social and environmental variables.
Another meeting in the second semester
During the meeting the partners expressed the need to keep in touch and exchange on their experiences and current initiatives.
> An update meeting will be held in the second half of 2021 and will be hosted by Fixed Africa and ICPC. We will keep you posted here and on Efus Network and hope you can join us.