Annual 40 Days Safer Cities Campaign Launched: Cities call for halving urban violence by 2030

Annual 40 Days Safer Cities Campaign Launched: Cities call for halving urban violence by 2030

During the observation of the International Day of Peace, Maimunah Mohd Shairff, Under Secretary General of the UN and Executive Director of UN-Habitat launched an annual 40 Days Safer Cities Challenge calling on cities to walk the talk on making cities safer and inclusive. She reiterated that safety and peaceful coexistence are at the heart of the work at the United Nations. According to Ms. Maimunah Sharif, “We know safety is much more than the absence of war. It means resilient, stable societies where everyone can enjoy fundamental freedoms and thrive rather than struggle to meet basic needs. Only by working together can we make our cities and homes peaceful, prosperous and safe for all us and future generations”. She noted that there can be no achievement of safety without sustainable urban development and likewise, no realization of sustainable urban development without safety. In this regard, she further called for scaling up of innovative approaches to safety and peaceful co-existence in cities underpinned by the principle of co-creation and co-production of safety for all. This is in line with the UN systemwide Guidelines on Safer Cities and Human Settlements adopted by member states at the 1st Habitat Assembly in May 2019.

Mayor Marvin Rees (Bristol, UK), member of the Executive Committee of the Global Parliament of Mayors (GPM) delivered an international resolution to accelerate efforts to halve violence by 2030 which will be presented to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. The GPM, together with Peace In Our Cities Campaign, launched this resolution in June 2020. It has been signed off by more than 55 cities together with city networks representing over 1,500 cities and metropolitan areas.

The “Peace One Day” event held during the International Day of Peace gathered global champions from government, technology, public health, human rights and entertainment to promote peace and violence reduction. Among others, panelists discussed city-grown solutions to tackling urban violence noting the global challenge of violence demands a global response. Evidence from practice has shown that while national governments are key to preventing conflict, fighting crime and reducing domestic violence, cities are even more central players when it comes to preventing and reducing violence.

The launch of the 40 Days Safer Cities Challenge comes at a time COVID-19 pandemic is contributing to devastating social, economic and political consequences around the world. It is also increasing the risk of organized and interpersonal violence in upper, middle and low-income settings alike. Women and children in particular are experiencing a greater risk of violence, especially at home and online, as are the most vulnerable including displaced people and those living in conflict affected areas. The threat of criminal violence is also rising, as is the specter of social and political unrest. These challenges are faced most acutely in cities.

Cities and city networks can join the 40 Days Safer Cities Challenge using #40Days4Innovation4SaferCities, #SaferCities and #TakeAction4Cities and submit stories at https://www.worldurbancampaign.org/40days.