In the framework of building cities with an enabling environment for women, their families and children, UNICEF, UN-HABITAT and UN Women in collaboration with the Municipality of Beirut joined forces for the implementation of "Safe and Friendly City for All" project.
The launch was done in the presence of the Mayor of Beirut Dr Bilal Salim Hamad, members of the municipal council and UNICEF Representative in Lebanon Ms Annamaria Laurini. The project aims at enhancing public safety within the public space, reducing violence and improving the quality of life for women, youth and children in poor and marginalized neighbourhoods in Beirut.
This will be achieved through strengthening the capacity of central and local authorities and other interested parties by integrating the concept of safe and friendly cities within the framework of management and urban planning; by implementing initiatives related to the concept of safe and friendly cities and the application of tools related to training and field studies and last but not least, by encouraging the active participation of women, youth and children.
During his speech, the mayor of Beirut Dr. Hamad thanked UNICEF Representative and its partners UN-HABITAT and UN-Women. He stressed that: "the launching of the "Safe and Friendly Cities for All" project mainly seeks to enhance the quality of life in marginalized areas of Beirut, especially amongst women, youth and children. The project reflects the vision and aspirations of the Municipal Council, aiming at reducing poverty and marginalization in the neighborhoods of Beirut. Social protection mechanisms to end violence and abuse are considered a top priority to the Municipal Council".
Ms. Laurini, UNICEF Representative thanked the Mayor of Beirut for hosting this important event and expressed her gratitude for Beirut city being selected as one of the eight worldwide cities that will be taking part in the global programme. "This initiative gives a stronger voice to children and youth and provides a comprehensive basis for all stakeholders responsible for the implementation of child rights". She also added that: "this evidence-based and community initiative will enable local authorities, women, youth and children to advocate for increased safety and prevention and reduction of all kind of violence including sexual violence and harassment against women and girls."
Ms Dania Rifaï from UN-HABITAT, made a presentation showing the objectives of the project and activities identified in seven of the poorest areas in Beirut. She also referred to further studies and researches that will enable identify the two priority areas for project implementation.