In her courtesy call on the Secretary General of the Organization of American States Mr. Insulza, in Washington DC on Friday, Mrs. Tibaijuka said it was the same interest that had seen the agency apply to be admitted to be a member of the the Inter-American Coalition for the Prevention of Violence.
“We have done extensive research in the area of violence in cities and I believe we have wide knowledge that can be put into good use in addressing the problems of crime especially in cities. The same research shows that Latin American countries are some of the hardest hit with violence in cities and we are keen on partnering with other organizations in mitigating the same,” she said.
Founded in June 2000, the Coalition is an alliance of inter-American and international agencies formed to develop strategies and solutions to address high levels of violence and crime in the Americas. The purpose of the Coalition is to act as a catalyst for the prevention of violence in the Americas by increasing knowledge about systematic violence prevention and by facilitating the development of partnerships and programs that put this knowledge into practice.
The Executive Director informed the Secretary General that the agency’s approach was to look for holistic solutions to the problems of violence and crime. Some of the research had shown that poverty gave rise to inequality which ultimately led to an increase in crime.
“In addressing this problem, it would therefore be of great importance to address the root causes one of which is poverty,” she said.
Mr. Insulza said that the biggest problem facing Latin American countries was violence, adding that some countries in that region had the highest homicide rates in the world. He hoped UN-HABITAT’s envisaged membership of the Coalition would be a major boost in the fight against crime and insecurity in Latin American cities.
He said he expected the Organization of American States to host a meeting at the Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum to be held in Rio de Janeiro next March.
On Saturday Mrs. Tibiaujuka addressed the American Planners Association and the Association of Colleges and Schools of Planning.
She said that in this rapidly urbanizing world, city planners and architects were placed in a unique position to come up with solutions arising from that challenge.
“One of the objectives of the United Nations is to have cities without slums and if this is to be achived then planners will have to move to the centre stage and help in realizing this dream,” she said.