Nairobi, 18 September 2020 - The 40 Days Safer Cities Challenge is an annual international campaign that starts on 21 September, the International Day of Peace, and runs until 31 October which is World Cities Day. Promoted by the Global Network on Safer Cities (GNSC),  the Challenge will raise awareness worldwide on safety in cities and urban crime prevention and promote concrete actions by citizens. It also aims to encourage innovations for achieving the urban and safety dimensions of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. 

The 40 Days Safer Cities Challenge is a direct follow-up to the adoption by Member States of the UN systemwide Guidelines on Safer Cities and Human Settlements at the first UN-Habitat Assembly in May 2019. The Safer Cities Challenge coincides with Urban October, a month to raise awareness on issues and opportunities of urbanization. During these 40 days, UN-Habitat and the partners of GNSC will mobilise individuals and organizations around the world to showcase innovative solutions to address the challenges of urban crime and violence in communities. This year the challenge will focus on the increasing inequalities and social challenges which have been amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic. It will include a milestone event on the World Mental Health Day on 10 October with the cast of the film, Suicide Saint, made by independent filmmaker Hezues R, founder of Guns for Camera charity (USA) and a partner of the Global Network on Safer Cities (GNSC), promoting the use of film and arts to address mental health and wellness, a key indicator for safer cities.

The celebrations of the International Day of Peace include the ‘Peace One Day’ event in New York, in support of the SDG16+ Peace in Our Cities Campaign activities.  UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif will address the panel of city game changers, comprising inspiring individuals who have championed city grown solutions to tackling urban violence.

While urban crime and violence vary across the world in types and intensity, cities see safety as a key prerequisite for sustainable development. There is no one size fit all, but each city can aspire to improve on the safety of their environment each year and should report back to their citizens as part of efforts to make their cities more liveable. The Challenge promotes the visibility of city grown solutions that tackle urban crime and violence with communities as key agents of change. 

Join us! Commit and share your innovations. Follow and promote the Challenge on social media using #40Days4Innovation4SaferCities, #SaferCities and #TakeAction4Cities. Join the Challenge and submit your stories at

Click on the link to download the press release PDF: 40 Days Safer Cities Challenge

For more information contact

Christine Auclair  - Head, Advocacy and Campaigns Unit, UN-Habitat:

Juma Assiago – Specialist/Coordinator – Safer Cities, Human Rights & Social Inclusion Unit, UN-Habitat