June 2021 – Efus and the City of Nice (France) took part in a meeting of the coordinators and ‘action leaders’ of the Partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU), which was held online on 9 and 11 June.
The meeting was also attended by representatives of the European institutions, such as the European Commission. Efus coordinates the Partnership on the security in public spaces* together with the cities of Nice and of Madrid (Spain). Efus Programme Manager Eszter Karacsony and the Director of European Projects at the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolis, Sébastien Viano, presented the Partnership’s achievements, synergies and cooperation opportunities with other European and international projects and initiatives.
The Partnership is currently implementing six concrete actions to improve urban security according to a holistic and local approach, which correspond to three priorities:
- urban planning and design to create safer cities;
- technologies for smart, sustainable and safe cities;
- managing security and sharing public spaces in urban and peri-urban areas.
Most of these actions are now at an advanced stage. Their results and key deliverables will be showcased on the FUTURIUM webpage of the UAEU as well as in the framework of Efus’ international Security Democracy and Cities conference in Nice (20-22 October).
Advancements of the actions
Efus and the City of Nice presented a progress report on the six actions as follows:
Action 1 – Developing a framework for a self-assessment tool for urban authorities: the Partnership completed a comprehensive mapping of indices, benchmarking and self-assessment tools already used in the field of urban security in order to identify good practices as well as gaps, bottlenecks and shortcomings.
Action 2 – Recommendations on the EU’s security strategy, multi-level, participatory and innovative governance and funding. This action has a ‘governance’ and a ‘funding’ component. Under the governance aspect, the Partnership regularly exchanges with representatives of the European institutions (DG Home, DG Regio, URBAN Intergroup of the European Parliament, European Committee of the Regions). With regards to the funding component, the Partnership elaborated a guidebook and a related training module on funding opportunities in the field of urban security for local and regional authorities (2021-2027). Efus organised a web conference on this topic on 25 June.
Action 3 – Evaluate the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) inclusive technologies. The objectives under this action are to establish an overview on legislation and existing initiatives dealing with artificial intelligence applied to security in public spaces across the EU, and to issue recommendations for future EU regulations.
Action 4 – Develop a capacity-building training scheme on integrated sustainable urban security. The aim is to elaborate an EU-wide capacity-building framework on integrated urban security, including skills and competences for various categories of security stakeholders. The Partnership currently tests thematic training sessions in order to get feedback on their content and relevance and further fine-tune the programme.
Action 5 – Measure the impact of social cohesion and inclusion on security in public spaces of urban and peri-urban areas. This action seeks to provide local policy makers and security managers with a method enabling them to measure the impact of social cohesion on urban security and feelings of insecurity at the local level. Specific tools and related operationalisation manuals were tested in Efus’ member cities Cologne (DE), Leuven (BE) and Munich (DE).
Action 6 – Develop guidance for architectural spatial design and planning (security by design). The objective is to encourage local and regional authorities to share experiences and knowledge related to security-by-design solutions and to inspire peer authorities with innovative solutions. To this end, promising and innovative practices will be collected and showcased.
The Partnership’s activities and achievements were mentioned in several key policy documents of the European Union such as the EU’s Security Strategy and the Counter-Terrorism Agenda, which stresses that “local and regional authorities play a key role both in the protection of public spaces and the prevention of radicalisation,” and that, “in cooperation with the Urban Agenda for the EU’s Partnership for Security in Public Spaces and building on the successful initiative EU Cities against Radicalisation, the Commission will propose an EU Pledge on Urban Security and Resilience, setting out basic principles and objectives for local authorities in these areas, and will call upon interested cities to sign up to a positive agenda to prevent and counter radicalisation and reduce vulnerabilities in public spaces.”
Cooperation and synergies
The Partnership aims to align the implementation of its six actions with several important European and international initiatives and projects, such as the three urban security projects funded under the Urban Innovative Actions initiative (BeSecure-FeelSecure-BSFS, ToNite, and Sure). Efus is a partner in BSFS and ToNite. The Partnership also builds on synergies with UN-Habitat’s Safer Cities programme.
Moreover, the Partnership builds on collaboration opportunities with the Commission for Citizenship, Governance, Institutional & External Affairs (CIVEX) of the European Committee of the Regions.
*The Partnership on the security of public spaces gathers, besides its three co-coordinators Efus and the cities of Nice and Madrid, Brussels-Capital Region (BE), City of Helsinki (FL), City of Mechelen (BE), European Investment Bank (EIB), Métropole Européenne de Lille (FR), Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets (HR), Regione Toscana (IT), Unione della Romagna Faentina – URF (IT), Riga City Council (LV). The observers are: City of Toruń (PL), UN HABITAT, URBACT. Other parties are: DG REGIO; Joint Research Centre, DG EMPL, DG HOME, DG RTD, EUROCITIES.