Dhaka mother and baby on a busy street.© Manoocher DeghatiIRIN
UN-HABITAT and UNIFEM this week signed a global pact to tackle violence against women and girls in the world’s cities.
The Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka and the Executive Director of UNIFEM, Mrs. Ines Alberdi, signed the agreement in New York on Wednesday, 3 June.
Violence makes up at least 25 to 30 per cent of urban crime and women, especially in developing countries, are twice as likely as men to be victims of violent aggression, including domestic violence.
“Local authorities and city management have a crucial role to play in the prevention of violence against women, both in public and private spaces, whether it be harassment or attacks outside the home, or domestic abuse behind closed doors,” said Mrs. Tibaijuka.
For the last 10 years, UN-HABITAT has been supporting local authorities in developing countries in preventing crime and violence through advocacy, training and city level activities. UN-HABITAT advocates special attention to women’s safety because the disproportionate amount of violence faced by women limits their rights and freedoms to mobility, education, work, recreation and participation in public and political life.
Mrs Ines Alberdi of UNIFEM and Mrs Anna Tibaijuka of UN-HABITAT signing the Memorandum of Understanding
Under the pact signed this week, UN-HABITAT joins UNIFEM’s new Global Programme on Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls as a lead global partner, building on previous collaboration on promoting safer cities in Latin America.
A highlight of the joint programme will be the development, testing and delivery of a new global model for safer cities, based on proven strategies and best practices that can be replicated in different cities around the world. The programme strives to promote a balanced approach to addressing violence against women both in public and private spheres.
They cited a need for campaigns to help change attitudes or behaviour that condones or perpetuates violence against women. They can also include practical measures that local authorities can use to make the physical environment of cities safer.
Mrs. Alberdi said that while most programmes on ending violence against women had focused on responding to survivor needs for justice, care and support, “the Safe Cities approach will make a significant contribution to one of the most neglected, but most pressing and strategic areas, within the field of programming on ending violence against women: prevention.”
The new Memorandum of Understanding also covers broader issues of good governance, urban planning, women’s empowerment, political participation, gender equality, gender-responsive budgeting and access to basic services.
Fact Sheet on Gender and Safety and Security in Cities