UN-Habitat assesses progress of the Africa Forum for Urban Safety

By on 03/14/2016
View of Durban's waterfront Photo: Adamina; CC BY 2.0 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban#/media/File:DurbanBeach.jpg

View of Durban’s waterfront Photo: Adamina; CC BY 2.0
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Durban#/media

Durban 14 March 2016 —  At the invitation of the City of Durban, UN-Habitat recently undertook a to review the progress made on the development of the Africa Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) with the South African city as the permanent secretariat.

The mission was undertaken by the Director of Programme Division Alioune Badiane and the Lead Expert of the Safer Cities Programme Juma Assiago. The two held meetings with the mayor of Durban (James Nxumalo) and his Executive Committee. Also present was  deputy dayor of Quito (Daniela Chacon Arias) as an invited observer.

The meeting reaffirmed Durban’s lead in the Africa Forum for Urban Safety (AFUS) and in particular agreed on the organisation of the First AFUS Conference on 29 June – 1 July 2016 in Durban.

The meeting defined a road map and resolved to initiate the logistic and substantive organisation of the conference as a build up to the Habitat III and beyond.

Microsoft Africa committed its support to the City’s role as permanent secretariat of AFUS and to support the establishment of a virtual platform and data collection tools.

  • “Safer Cities” approach in Durban

Since 1999, the Ethekwini Municipality (Durban) has developed its “Safer Cities” approach. At the onset, the municipality received both technical and partially financial support from UN-HABITAT Safer Cities Programme. This first phase support formally ended in 2003 with the institutionalization of the approach in the municipality framework and the organization of an International Conference on Sustainable Safety: Municipality at Cross Roads. 

  • “Safer Cities” unit in Durban

Since 2011, Durban has fully integrated its safer cities unit in the main budget of the Council and operated a qualitative change with the creation of a dynamic department of Safety. The Municipalities SC department works on an Area Based Management (ABM) approach within five huge geographical divisions of the municipality’s disadvantaged neighborhoods: INK (Inanda, Nkuzuma and Kwa Mashu) which reaches a population of 700.000 inhabitants; SOUTH DURBAN BASIN with around 400.000; ITRUMP (Inner Thekwini Regeneration Urban Management Programme) which is a place for resident students located in the inner city but is at the same time a space where 600.000 persons transit daily due to the importance of the traditional markets and the terminal of public transport; KACHOMENA with a population of around 300.000 and a rural area which includes 37% of the Durban population (around 1 million). Each of these areas is subdivided in wards. The whole city includes 103 wards. The selection of the areas has been made according to social and safety priority being INK, particularly due to the high crime rate in Kwa Mashu, the first priority and according to a second criterion i.e. the capacity of the team which ideally should reach around 75 members.

  • Promising practice in Durban:

Warwick Junction initiated in 1996. It worked through the creative reinvention of public space that the new image of the inner city begins to form, as each key success evolves new strategies and new confidence. It assumed the diversity and new democracy and developed a new sense of citizenship. It regenerated the space assuming contextual and appropriate urban management; developed integrated actions through coalitions; for the inner city it improved confidence by citizens, business, visitors, stimulated return of business investment for the Inner city, faced increase demand for properties and growing expectations for services. It also assumed the urgency of tackling homelessness, poverty, and health education in the area. It attracted capital investment projects which respond to goals for “increasing and supporting Informal Trade” and implemented infrastructure development in line with the public expectations. Conservation of traditional markets and upgrading transport terminal are examples of these policies as well as formalization of public space, attraction for tourism, creation of educational space for scholars, rationalization of busiest space in town, building a street children reception center and set up of municipal and community courts.  

It attracted capital investment projects which respond to goals for “increasing and supporting Informal Trade” and implemented infrastructure development in line with the public expectations. Conservation of traditional markets and upgrading transport terminal are examples of these policies as well as formalization of public space, attraction for tourism, creation of educational space for scholars, rationalization of busiest space in town, building a street children reception center and set up of municipal and community courts.  
Warwick Junction demonstrates the regeneration and urban management philosophy strengthening of relationships between departments, networking and reaching a high level of delivery. It gets significant local economic development benefits.  Around 600.000 persons transit daily in this central area and benefit from it as well as they feel safe within the area.

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