Webinar #5: So What? Networking and Lobbying for Investment in Global Urban Safety

Between October 2020 and February 2021, the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice convened a series of high-level discussions under the Banner, Change the World, to examine our collective efforts at promoting and enhancing global urban safety against the crisis generated by COVID-19. In 2002 the Economic and Social Council adopted a set of Guidelines for the Prevention of Crime (Res 2002/13, Annex) which has ever since underpinned our efforts to promote proactive strategies to build safety.

The Guidelines reaffirmed the importance of preventative safety strategies to: Promote the well-being of people and encourage pro-social behaviour through social, economic, health and educational measures, with a particular emphasis on children and youth, and a focus on the risk and protective factors associated with crime and victimization; Change the conditions in neighbourhoods that influence offending, victimization and the insecurity that results from crime, by building on the initiatives, expertise and commitment of community members and by broadening an understanding of urban safety principles.

Since then, investment in this field has produced an ever-growing body of evidence of what works underpinned by strategy and policy at international, regional and local levels which recognize the importance of investment in long-term social and spatial development alongside criminal justice responses to building safer communities.

Since its appearance in 2019, no sector has escaped the disruption caused by COVID-19 to strategies and plans adopted to move our safety agenda forward and ultimately our achievement of the SDGs. These disruptions include short-term diversion of funds to responses that divert sectors from their core business. We have also observed the disproportionate impact on indigent communities and the most vulnerable, the marginalization of women and a shrinking of space for civil society. The negative consequences produced by approaches to address COVID-19, which have in many instances been characterized by abandonment of human rights principles in overly securitized responses, excessive criminalization of infringements and to emergency actions that are not subject to usual levels of scrutiny need to be reversed.

If they don’t our achievements in safety, risk being undermined. The April 2020 United Nations report on COVID-19 and Human Rights, we are all in this together, notes: Unemployment and food insecurity have risen to unprecedented levels in many countries within a very short space of time.

02 Feb, 2021

Networks and fora such as the Alliance represent opportunities for sharing practice, strengthening advocacy and building sustainability. The webinar series aims to facilitate discussion on how to sustain and leverage existing networks and enable them to strengthen and support the activities of all members. This is the final webinar in the series as it will focus on the mechanisms by which for a can leverage and implement the learning through the series to have a greater impact on global urban safety.