The mayor of eThekwini, Cllr James Nxumalo, in his capacity as chairman of the African Forum on Urban Safety (AFUS), hosted a high level meeting with key stakeholders from the UN Habitat, Microsoft Corporation and the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, recently.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss ideas for successful implementation of crime prevention and urban safety strategies. It was also to set the agenda for the functionality of AFUS in carrying out its mandate of ensuring safety and security in all African cities. There was robust discussion on various topics related to crime prevention and urban safety at the meeting.
Nxumalo said crime poses as a serious threat to the provision of services to members of the community. “Not only does crime have an impact on the economic development of the city, but also results in marginalised groups being prevented from enjoying services due to them,” he explained.
He said that safety, crime prevention and security has been identified as the cornerstones for growth and development of all cities. It is also the primary outcome for the sustainable urban development agenda as indicated in the Sustainable Development Goal 11, Making Cities and Human Settlements Safe, Resilient, Inclusive and Sustainable. This is further emphasised in the Africa Vision 2063.
Deputy mayor of Quito in Ecuador, Daniela Chacon Arias, said it was important that cities learn from each other’s experiences as they all face similar challenges albeit in varying degrees. She commended the eThekwini Municipality for spearheading the Safer Cities programme and reiterated her commitment to ensuring that the 2063 Agenda is achieved.
Dr Alioune Badiane, director of UN Habitat, said that the African continent is 54 percent urban. She said it was therefore imperative that we build sustainable cities with improved safety and security.
Resolutions taken at the meeting included the following:
*The initiation of an information collection exercise from local governments across Africa, using the Microsoft virtual facilities to translate and administer the questionnaire.
*To use the initiative by cities in West Africa to convene a sub-regional conference on City Security in Dakar from April 28- 30, 2016. This would consolidate information from cities for the AFUS conference scheduled to take place from June 29 – July 1, 2016 in Durban.
*To establish a City Legacy Project in Durban- The City Safety Lab. This would draw on innovations such as on crime diagnostic tools to develop technological solutions to facilitate more effective monitoring of safety in the city.
These resolutions were taken as a guiding tool of the functionality of AFUS towards meeting its mandate of implementable strategies that will ensure safe and secure cities in Africa.