Over 600 delegates from some 42 countries drawn across the globe gathered in the Mexican city of Monterrey from Monday for a conference that is discussing urban crime and violence prevention.
Those delivering key speeches at the opening of the meeting included UN-HABITAT's Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean Mrs. Cecilia Leal Martinez , the Governor of the State of Nuevo Leon Jose Navidad Gonzalez Paras and the Mayor of Monterrey, Adalberto Madero Quiroga .
On the sidelines of the conference will be the launch of the landmark UN-HABITAT publication Global Report on Human Settlements 2007, the Annual UN-HABITAT Lecture Award and World Habitat Day celebrations.
"The inexorable transition to a predominantly urban planet bears with it many opportunities and consequences. It can be a promising transition to economic growth, improved education and health, cultural and scientific progress. But it can also bring with it greater divide between the rich and the poor, and unsustainable, chaotic patters of urban development that exacerbate urban exclusion and threaten urban environment" Mrs Martinez said in the keynote address.
The opening session, which was presided over by the Governor of Nuevo Leon Gonzalez Paras, saw local and foreign dignitaries address the audience and elaborated on their understanding and work in urban violence prevention.
The Mayor of Monterrey welcomed the participants to the parley, while Mrs Kumari Selja, Minister of Housing and Poverty Reduction of the Government of India, said that "in this era of rapid urbanisation the promotion of safer cities has emerged as one of the prime concerns for policy makers and planners".
Participants were also addressed by Gabriella Calles de Guaraldo, General Director of Integrated Family Development System of Nuevo Leon and the Undersecretary of Prospects Planning and Evaluation of the Ministry of Social Development (SEDESOL).
The Conference set out to develop an international framework to support cities and stakeholders in addressing violence in an urban development perspective. Its outcomes will inform UN-HABITAT and partners' work on urban safety in preparation for World Urban Forum 4 holding next year.
The first two days saw over 40 panel sessions organised by partners bringing together delegates to share experiences and discuss key dimensions of insecurity, its actors and policy responses. Several UN agencies, also organised specific events. Others who have organized similar events include international NGOS, and municipalities, including Bogota and the Municipality of Maipu, Santiago de Chile.
Among the issues discussed, different aspects of crime and violence prevention were analysed in great detail.