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New York, 14 Mar 13
Mayors from across the globe met Thursday at the United Nations, New York, where the main outcome was their stated determination to make cities free from violence and crime.

The meeting was held in the framework of the Steering Committee of the Global Network on Safer Cities (GNSC) to dialogue with the United Nations and other international, national and local partners for developing and implementing a global agenda for a safer and sustainable future for our people and our world.

Result of the dialogue was an outcome statement on actions towards enhancing the role of local authorities on safer cities. The document reaffirms mayors' determination to make cities and their public spaces free from violence by focusing on the vulnerable and at-risk populations and improving urban planning, management and governance.

Dr. Joan Clos, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, said: Crime and the fear of crime is one of the most influential factors in our daily lives, dictating where we choose to live, how we behave, where to go and where to work. There is a great need to address violence in city streets and other public spaces and to understand the role urban design, planning and management play in minimizing risks as well as changing perceptions of insecurity".

Global Network on Safer Cities

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. It is created within the framework of the World Urban Campaign, the World Living Platform of UN-Habitat on cities for sharing and learning initiatives, actions and policies driving positive change.

The GNSC finds its relevance from the necessity to put together and systematize different experiences existing around the world on urban crime and violence, with the aim of advocating for safer cities and local crime prevention. The platform was constituted in September 2012, at the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum held in Naples, Italy.

The Steering Committee of the GNSC was constituted as a leadership body to serve the purpose of strengthening the international dialogue. It is led by local government representatives and members of the Habitat agenda partners. Participants in the First Steering Committee include
Mr. Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon, Chairman of the Steering Committee and former Mayor of Mexico City (Mexico); Mr. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los Angeles (USA); Ms. Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston (USA); Norman Quijano Gonzalez, Mayor of San Salvador (El Salvador); Gustavo Petro, Mayor of Bogota (Colombia); Bilal Hamad, Mayor of Beirut (Lebanon); Parks Tau, Mayor of Johannesburg (South Africa); Francois Amichia, Mayor of Treichville-Abidjan (Ivory Coast); Guillermo Pinto, Mayor of Matosinhos (Portugal), and Mr. Roberto Porto, Secretary of Urban Safety of Sao Paulo (Brazil).

Highlights on crime and violence in urban areas

Global studies show that 60% of all urban residents in developing countries have been victims of crime at least once over the past five years, 70% of them in Latin America and Africa. Studies showed that 63% of women never went out at night alone. In South Africa, for instance, 79% of women felt most unsafe in public spaces, whilst in Cairo, 40% of girls reported that they felt unsafe in public spaces.

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