Funded by: UN Development Account
Safer Cities has in 2006 started a three-year regional initiative on ‘Pro-Poor Urban Safety through Local Government Capacity Building in Asia-Pacific’. The project is implemented in collaboration with UN-ESCAP and funded by the United Nations Development Account (http://www.un.org/esa/devaccount/).
The project addresses the lack of safety which generates fear and insecurity in communities of the urban poor and deepens their poverty in Asia-Pacific cities.
It aims at building the capacity of urban local governments and their partners in initiating effective urban safety programmes/policies for the poor, and it is targeting urban local governments, community-based and civil society organizations, including local government training and research institutions in the Asia-Pacific region.
Project justification and approach
Historically, the Asia-Pacific region has always been considered as the world’s safest region, with its globally lowest reported crime rates. Recent evidences and preliminary needs assessments, however, suggest that lack of safety is indeed emerging as a priority issue in some cities of the region. And it is so particularly for the poorest as insecurity is eroding the poor’s human, social, physical and natural capital, making it harder to escape poverty. Even a relatively minor crime can have devastating impacts on the poor’s livelihood.
The project will focus on local governments. Traditionally, national governments and the justice systems have been responsible for responding to crime and insecurity. Now, it is widely recognised that they alone are often ill-equipped to respond to localized problems of safety, particularly when it concerns the poor. Alternative strategies that complement traditional criminal justice responses need to build on the critical role local governments can play. Undoubtedly, local governments are in the best position to understand the unique dynamics of the communities they serve; and hence, are well suited to initiate local programmes that address urban safety with and for the community.
Despite their crucial role, however, there are currently three major bottlenecks hindering local governments in the region:
- Unavailability of consolidated regional knowledge, tools, and networks on pro-poor urban safety;
- Limited understanding of urban local governments’ critical role in improving urban safety with and for the poor;
- Limited practical skills/experiences in implementing urban safety programmes with and for the poor.
Based on the above, the project seeks to assist urban local governments and their partners in initiating effective urban safety programmes with and for the poor through the following three-pronged strategy:
1. Development of a consolidated regional knowledge base, network, and toolkit on pro-poor urban safety, tailored to local governments and their partners.
Activities envisaged include:
- Convening an Expert Group Meeting to bring together stakeholders to identify current issues, current and past research and innovative practices
- Establishing an Online Regional Resource Facility to support local governments and their partners by providing a one-stop shop on pro-poor urban safety
- Identifying replicable innovative practices
- Establishing a virtual network of urban safety practioners where peer-to-peer learning and discussions can take place
- Adapting the generic Safer Cities Toolkit into a localized context in support of pilot projects, and wider usage
2. Sensitization and advocacy on the local governments’ critical role in improving urban safety for the poor.
Specific activities envisaged include:
- Implementing a regional Training of Trainers workshop to build effective working relationship between local governments and their partners, in support of pilot projects.
- Implementation of a regional sensitization workshop focusing on the development of UN Guidelines for prevention of crime.
3. Development of hands-on, practical skills to implement effective urban safety programmes with and for the poor.
Activity envisaged includes:
- Implementation of pilot projects, based on principles of effective urban safety programmes with and for the poor, supported by practical training of trainers and adapted tools in three selected cities.
Management Arrangements and Partnership
UN-HABITAT and UNESCAP will jointly implement the project. Other important partners would be:
- UNODC, who will assist in disseminating the international guidelines and norms for the criminal justice system in the field of crime prevention and will feed the results into the global debate on these norms.
- Regional Network of Local Authorities for the Management of Human Settlements (CityNet), and
- The Network of Local Government Training and Research Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (LOGOTRI).
For more information: http://www.unescap.org/pdd/prs/ProjectActivities/Ongoing/SaferCities/SC.asp
Ms. Laura Petrella
Coordinator, Safer Cities Programme
P.O. Box 30030 Nairobi, 00100, Kenya
Mr. Yap Kioe Sheng
Chief, Poverty Reduction Section
UNESCAP, UN Building, Rajdamnern Nok Ave. Bangkok 10200, Thailand