The world is currently experiencing an unprecedented level of urbanization: urban population has exceeded 50 per cent of the global population in the late 2000s and the figure is expected to overcome its two-thirds by 2050.
Urbanization is a transformative phenomenon strictly connected to the concept of modernization and development. In most cases, the process of urbanization fosters general improvements in life expectancy, infant mortality, absolute poverty and deprivation, level of education, health care services and social mobilization due to advantages of scale and proximity.
Notwithstanding, governmental capacities are easily overwhelmed by the trend and local authorities are often unprepared to manage the massive movement of people from rural to urban environments. The phenomenon of urbanization may affect, if mishandled, the stability and security of growing cities: unemployment, alienation and frustration, social stigmatization and marginalization might provide the perfect conditions for social conflicts and criminal activity.
The demand for knowledge and expertise to efficiently handle the issues of security in urban settings is vast. Similarly, various are the experiences and results that have been achieved by local authorities and their citizens. In the spirit of sharing information, successes and best practices in addressing the complex challenges of urban security, an International Forum of Mayors on Crime Prevention and Security in Urban Settings has been organized with the purpose of sharing information, successes and good practices in addressing the complex challenges of urban security.
UNICRI, the Municipality of Turin and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) jointly organized the International Forum of Mayors on Security and Crime Prevention in Urban Settings. The Forum represented a special gathering of local authorities, international experts, private sector actors to address the issues of security and crime prevention in urban settings. The event took place at the United Nations Campus in Turin, Italy on 20 and 21 May 2013.
Municipal authorities and the private sector play an important role in promoting security in urban settings through cross-sectoral and integrated approaches to governance, planning and management. The Forum showcased recently implemented innovative approaches and provided an opportunity to share experiences in strengthening security and promoting the rule of law through crime prevention in urban settings. The discussion focused on reducing vulnerabilities, inequalities and injustice, promoting the rule of law and developing private and public partnerships to address urban security related issues.
The Forum acknowledged that actions to improve urban security must result from a multi-sector approach targeting sustainable urban development, equal access to services and opportunities, marginalized group involvement and the creation of active synergies between civil society and institutions.
The Forum had participants from various cities of the world namely Asuncion, Cape Town, Greater Beirut, Durban, Hebron, Lyon, Madrid, Makati, Maputo, Modena, Ouagadougou, Port of Spain, Santiago de Chile, Seoul, Shenzhen, St. Petersburg, Tegucigalpa and Yaoundé. The Forum engaged cities from different continents to continue sharing good practices, innovative approaches and knowledge.
The Forum provided an excellent opportunity to develop a platform for cooperation in crime prevention and urban security and aimed at paving the way for designing specific interventions and the establishment of new synergies for the promotion of urban security and crime prevention.