NOW ONLINE: Durban Urban Thinkers Campus on Safer Cities report

NOW ONLINE: Durban Urban Thinkers Campus on Safer Cities report

Promoting urban safety and crime prevention through collective action remains key if cities are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 11, which aims to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Collective action plays a pertinent role in establishing urban safety and crime prevention solutions. Therefore, platforms should be created for all stakeholders to discuss, develop and implement agreed strategies to address urban safety, crime prevention and terrorism. This is in line with paragraph 103 of the New Urban Agenda, which states that local communities, state and non-state actors, interested and affected parties should be involved.

According to the UN-Habitat, rapid urbanization has resulted in 50% of world’s population living in urban areas. This has been accompanied by increased levels of crime, violence and lawlessness. Therefore, active involvement of stakeholders as partners and beneficiaries in the review, consolidation, strengthening and implementation of crime prevention and violence prevention strategies, policy and practice becomes imperative.

UN-Habitat further states that crime impacts on the everyday life of city residents, on the quality of public space and on economic prospects. In addition, UN Habitat states crime deters investors or diverts large amounts of scarce resources from social development. This brings to the fore that urban safety is a key determinant of the quality of life of urban dwellers and is recognized globally as essential for urban development.  The lack of investment and diversion of resources is putting more pressure on the safety and the spatial form of cities; increased pressure on services and the need for efficient service delivery.

Against this background and in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals and New Urban Agenda, the Global Network on Safer Cities, UN-Habitat Safer Cities Programme, Africa Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) and eThekwini Municipality hosted an Urban Thinkers Campus on 4 April 2017. The Campus was for strategic partners, including research and academia, local and subnational authorities, civil society organisations, businesses and industries, professionals and media, to consolidate, review and strengthen urban safety policy, strategies and practices of the Municipality.

Key to this Campus was knowledge sharing where different local, continental and global speakers made presentations and commentaries on different topics relating to strategies, practices, tools, framework aimed at advancing safety for all.  Further, group sessions in the form of Urban Thinkers session, Partner Group sessions, and roundtables were held to discuss and reach consensus on the actions required to address crime and violence to the benefit of communities in eThekwini Municipality as a pilot study. The findings and results of the eThekwini experience will be shared as the promising practice with South Africa and the continent.

Expert presentations focussed on how eThekwini Municipality promotes safety for all through the development planning regime; how to advance priorities and means of action in the context of Sustainable Development Goal 11 Target 7 and New Urban Agenda paragraph 103. The presentations also focussed on the findings of the Durban Safer Cities Evaluation; the use of community based tools to advance safety governance in Durban; the use of City Prosperity Index as a tool to advance sustainability; the new monitoring framework to enforce collection of data to promote safety for all public spaces and advancing urban safety through integrated tools and leverage technological advancement.

The group sessions focussed on how to better frame urban safety within the context of the eThekwini development planning regime. The focus was on active participation of all key stakeholders; collection, analysis and sharing of data information; advancing urban safety as the core for service delivery within eThekwini Municipality and priority areas; means of actions, commitments, roles and responsibilities and action plans to improve crime prevention and urban safety.

An agreed implementable road map with key milestones towards localisation and implementation of strategies and interventions to advance urban safety in the context of SDGs and NUA was presented and developed during the plenary. Importantly, the actions for safer Durban 2030 were captured in the road map. The suggested actions went beyond conventional security and policing and instead, a number of issues were considered as important in the quest to eliminate violence, crime and insecurity

Partner groups determined and defined strategic priorities, key priority actions with each partner making commitments and agreeing on their roles and responsibilities for the implementation of these actions to achieve a safer eThekwini by 2030.

The partners agreed on the following strategic priorities:

  • Review of urban safety strategy for eThekwini;
  • Recommitting all stakeholders to the strategy;
  • Re-articulating the vision of the City;
  • Establishment of sustainable urban safety partnerships;
  • Alignment of the government policies and Councils Bylaws and the Government Bylaws;
  • Capacitating the Safer Cities Unit;
  • Establishing an informal sector Urban Thinkers Campus;
  • Regulation of public spaces and
  • Creating a safer city.

Download the official UTC report HERE

Article by Africa Forum for Urban Safety
Photo Credits: eThekwini Municipality - Communications Unit