Senior Polish officials pledged on World Habitat Day to do all they can to make the country’s cities safer and more inclusive for all their citizens.
“The quality of life in our cities depends to the great extent on the level of security. We are very much interested in learning how spatial planning may improve security of city inhabitants,” Poland’s Minister of Construction, Mr. Miroslaw Barszcz, said in a speech marking World Habitat Day.
He made the remarks to a World Habitat Day gathering 3 October in Warsaw that included Ambassador Inga Björk-Klevby, the Deputy Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, the Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, Mr. Andrzej Jakubiak and the Vice-Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics, Professor Piotr Ploszajski.
In her speech, Ms. Björk-Klevby said in part: “Promoting urban safety … is not primarily about relying on the police and the penal system for crime prevention; it is about the design and planning of public space for women and men, and its impact on social urban development ”.
The main goal of the UN-HABITAT office in Warsaw is to expand the agency’s activities in eastern, central and southern Europe. It organised a range of events to highlight the 2007 World Habitat Day theme, “A safe city is a just city’. These included a conference to raise public awareness on urban safety that drew more than 100 participants from the government, local authorities, universities, the media and civil society organizations.
The conference was also an occasion to award winners of a competition for the best poster related to the urban safety theme. The twelve best posters were displayed at an exhibition opened at the Warsaw School of Economics, where UN-HABITAT photos were shown to the public. Prior to the conference, UN-HABITAT held a media launch of its latest biennial flagship publication, the ‘Global Report of Human Settlements 2007’.
During her stay in Warsaw, Ms. Björk-Klevby met high ranking officials from the Ministry of Construction, the Ministry of Regional Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She also held talks the Mayor of Warsaw, Mrs. Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz and the Rector of the Warsaw School of Economics, Prof. Adam Budnikowski.
She also visited the library of the Institute of Geography of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a new partner of the Warsaw Office, which hosts a collection of UN-HABITAT publications. “Such cooperation with academic institutions is necessary in order to strengthen the visibility of UN-HABITAT among professionals in the region,” Ms. Björk-Klevby said.