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Nairobi, 3 Apr 09

Participants from Latin America and Caribbean countries at the twenty-second session of the UN-HABITAT Governing Council held a meeting where security in urban centres was discussed.

L-R: Cecilia Martinez, Director-ROLAC, Laura Petrella(Acting Coordinator Safer Cities Programme), Daniel Chuburu, Ambassador of Argentina, Lars Reutersward, Director-Global Division UN-HABITAT, Rodrigo Gaete- Ambassador of Chile.

Some 38 representatives from Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Secretariat staff working with Latin American Countries attended the meeting convened by the Ambassador of Argentina, Mr. Daniel Chuburu, Chair of the Latin American and the Caribbean Group.

With increasing crime and insecurity in cities, the event discussed a road map for the establishment and strengthening of UN-HABITAT’s Safer Cities Programme in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The meeting featured presentation of the Guide for Local Governments in Latin America: Local Prevention Towards Social Cohesion and Citizen Security Policies developed by University of Alberto Hurtado, Santiago, Chile and UN-HABITAT. It is based on the Safer Cities Programme’s global experience in many cities with many partners.

Introducing the guide, Mr. Rodrigo Gaete, Ambassador of Chile pointed out that the Chilean Government and the University of Hurtado were discussing the establishment of a regional resource facility to support training and exchange of experiences in the region.

The representative from the Government of Mexico, Mr. Luis Zamorano, highlighted the key role that local governments played to provide the physical infrastructure and basic services needed in order to improve the living conditions and the lives of urban citizens.

“My government is committed to convening the Second Youth Crime Prevention and Cities Summit in 2010. We also look forward to working with UN-HABITAT and other partners on innovative approaches to secure public spaces,” he said.

Ms. Cecilia Martinez, Director of UN-HABITAT’s regional Office for Latin America and Caribbean elaborated the agency’s strategy on urban safety for the region and the next steps in disseminating the guide in the lead up to Fifth Session of the World Urban Forum, which is slated for 22-26 March 2010 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

“It would be a good idea to have the Guide translated into Portuguese and to adapt it to the Caribbean context,” she said adding plans were underway for its dissemination, with invitations already received from Mexico and Colombia to distribute the Guide and conduct training.

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