Security of public spaces in Europe: synergies between actions led by the Urban Agenda Partnership, the EU and UN-Habitat

Paris, France, 27-28 January 2021 – The Partnership on the security of public spaces of the Urban Agenda for the European Union, which is led by the cities of Nice (France) and Madrid (Spain) and Efus, explored the synergies between its work and current EU and UN-Habitat programmes and initiatives during a meeting held online with representatives of these two organisations, on 27 and 28 January. The event was also an occasion for the Partnership members to update the participants on the advancement of the implementation of its Action Plan, which includes six concrete actions.

The EU pledge on urban security and resilience

Adrea Volkmer of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs presented the EU’s new counter-terrorism agenda and their latest initiatives to strengthen the protection of public spaces, such as the EU’s pledge on urban security and resilience.

The new counter-terrorism agenda highlights that: “Local and regional authorities play a key role both in the protection of public spaces and the prevention of radicalisation. In cooperation with the Urban Agenda for the EU 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.” The Commission thus aims to facilitate the sharing of good practices and to support projects led by cities as well as peer-to-peer advisory efforts.

Synergies with UN-Habitat’s initiatives 

Paulius Kulikauskas, from the UN-Habitat EU Office, highlighted the synergies between the actions and objectives of UN HABITAT and the Partnership, which both aim to: promote a holistic and integrated approach that addresses the feeling of security of citizens and tackles the root causes of crime and insecurity; engage in tangible actions to support sustainable urban development.

In particular, there are important linkages and complementarity between the Partnership’s Action 1 – ‘the development of a Framework for a Self-Assessment tool for Urban Authorities’ – and UN-Habitat’s Global Urban Safety Indicators and Monitoring Tool

Synergies with ongoing EU projects and programmes

The implementation process and foreseen results of the Partnership’s six actions can reciprocally nourish ongoing EU projects and programmes, such as the Horizon 2020 Cutting Crime Impact (CCI) project, the ISF-P PACTESUR, BRIDGE and Secu4All project, and the Urban Innovative Actions BeSecure-FeelSecure and ToNite projects, which are all either led by Efus or in which it is a partner. 

Furthermore, the Partnership has been cooperating with the UrbSecurity project of the URBACT programme since the beginning of 2020. This cooperation is built on the sharing of information about activities, work programmes, meeting calendars and main focus areas of the meetings/actions being carried out.

Taking stock of what has already been achieved

Since the Partnership has designed its Action Plan and implementation has started, some milestones have been achieved: under Action 5, a draft manual on social cohesion measurement was produced. Under Action 2, two declarations have been published, a mapping of funding opportunities has been completed, and a series of high-level meetings between representatives of the EU Institutions and members of the Partnership were held. Under Action 3, a survey on artificial intelligence (AI) was launched. Lastly under Action 1 and 6, questionnaires on the measurement of security and on the assessment of approaches to urban planning/design are being developed. 

The way forward: providing tangible results for local authorities

As of now, the rollout of the Partnership’s Action Plan goes on. The overall objective is to provide local authorities with tangible deliverables. Another priority is to ensure that this work will be sustainable in the long run.  

> More information on the Partnership on the Security of Public Spaces of the Urban Agenda for the European Union
> See also here

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