On the sidelines of the ongoing Earth Summit, a team of top officials from UN-Habitat and UN Volunteers paid a visit to one of Rio de Janeiro's slums to see first-hand social projects implemented there.
Led by UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos and the UN Volunteers Executive Coordinator Ms. Flavia Pansieri and accompanied by the German Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development Mr. Dirk Siebel the team visited the informal settlement of Cantagalo.
During the tour, the director of the Pacifying Police Units (UPPs), a Social Program of the City of Rio, Mr. Ricardo Henriques, presented some of the projects that have been implemented in slum areas of Rio directed towards achieving a safer and more equitable city.
The UPP Social is the program of the City of Rio de Janeiro to promote urban, social and economic integration of the areas of the city. The UPP Social has the mission of mobilizing and articulating municipal services and policies in these territories. It coordinates efforts of various areas of the Municipality and promotes integrated actions with the state and federal governments, civil society and private initiative, always in favor of the development and quality of life of the communities. It seeks to consolidate and strengthen the advances brought by the pacification, in order to revert the legacy of violence and territorial exclusion in these spaces.
UN-Habitat is in charge of the execution of the UPP Social Program, supporting the Municipality in the global management and monitoring. At present, the agency is supported by 57 national UN Volunteers who are in charge of the field actions; such as mobilizing the community for garbage collection, giving awareness on recycling, promoting jobs and business, and supporting the local projects on education and culture.
"Cities are amazing places with opportunities, diversity, innovation, knowledge and solidarity. We should work together to ensure the inclusion and equality. Slum dwellers are particularly vulnerable, facing daily difficult conditions and living in a constant state of insecurity. Examples like the UPP Social Program in Rio shows that it is possible to prevent crime and mitigate violence through a clear safety strategy including social inclusion and urban planning", said Dr. Clos.
UN-Habitat and UN Volunteers have expressed the willingness to continue supporting the program, in order to contribute to the consolidation of the pacifying process and to promote sustainable urban, social and economic development in the city of Rio.