Why Global Network on Safer Cities?

While cities are involved in many, more or less, active international networks, this network of networks will be unique in integrating existing networks on crime and violence prevention in the sustainable urban development agenda to improve the quality and delivery of crime and violence prevention policies at the sub-national level.

The Global Network on Safer Cities (GNSC) is an initiative of UN-Habitat with the goal of equipping local authorities and urban stakeholders to deliver urban safety, thus contributing towards securing the urban advantage for all. Launched in September 2012 at the Sixth session of the World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy, the GNSC is envisioned to serve as the foremost international platform for cities and urban stakeholders endeavoring to prevent crime and improve urban safety. The Safer Cities approach is developed in collaboration with cities and partners from all over the world and is currently being implemented in 77 cities in 24 countries. The Network is designed to support cities in the prevention of urban crime and the enhancement of urban safety strategies, acting as a common platform that links existing crime and violence prevention networks with the urban players.

The Challenge

The concentration of people, capital and resources in cities provides exceptional opportunities for human development. Presently, more than three billion people live in cities, a figure expected to rise to five billion by 2050. However amidst the great opportunities, cities are plagued with anti-social behavior, crime and disorder that challenge the overall development of both the city and the city dweller. As statistics reveal that sixty percent of all urban residents in developing countries have been victims of crime, with women, young people, and those living with insecure land tenure facing the most acute risks, denying them the urban advantage. This often alienates the citizens with the resultant fear and social exclusion manifesting themselves through vigilantism, emigration, mushrooming of private security, architecture of fear, securitization of the society and demands for more punitive justice.

The objectives of the GNSC:

  • To stimulate exchange between policymakers and practitioners, institutions and NGOs working on crime prevention and urban development on the prioritization of safety as a global sustainable urban development agenda;
  • To facilitate standardisation of principles on prevention of urban crime and enhancement of urban safety for all;
  • To develop and disseminate knowledge and tools on urban safety;
  • To support application of proven and promising approaches dedicated to safer cities for all;
  • To increase coordination on communication, advocacy and outreach among cities and donors and grow the visibility of the urban safety agenda;
  • To leverage resources for implementation of safety initiatives in cities.

Services offered

Indicative Activities and Outputs.
As a network of networks and partners, GNSC has defined key indicative activities that will contribute to the Network’s overall goal and that are in line with UN-Habitat’s mandate, core strengths and strategic imperatives for promoting safety in the sustainable urban development agenda. These are expected to be the primary area of work for GNSC in the short to medium term but are not exclusive – as a partner-driven network, other activities will be defined as the Network takes shape. These activities are geared towards strengthened global learning, knowledge-exchange, cooperation and advocacy to support the achievement of safer cities for all.

How GNSC will do this: The Role of GNSC.
This will be accomplished through the following services:

  • Communications, Outreach and Advocacy
  • Expert services
  • Knowledge exchange
  • Training and capacity development
  • Resource mobilisation

Where GNSC will operate - Who are the beneficiaries of the network?
The primary beneficiaries are the local authorities of 100+ cities involved in the safer cities programme of UN-HABITAT and other partner organisations. This is expected to grow as other networks and partners bring in cities they are working with. But the ultimate beneficiaries are the urban populations of these cities, who stand to benefit from better governance and urban planning and management, as well as efforts to ameliorate acute urban vulnerabilities, resulting in improved safety and more resilient cities.

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Our Experts

Juma Assiago
Programme Management Officer
Urban Practices Branch, Planning, Global Solutions Division