Ghada Waly

Director-General/Executive Director


14th UN Crime Congress special event: An Urban Safety Governance Approach for Safe, Inclusive and Resilient Cities

   9 March 2021

Distinguished participants,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for joining this special event on urban safety governance at the 14th UN Crime Congress.

Most people in the world live in cities, and their numbers keep rising. Some two-thirds of the global population, or an estimated six billion people, will be city dwellers by the year 2050.

Urban areas are associated with anywhere between 55 to 85 percent of national GDP.

Cities can serve as engines for economic and social development, but they can also be destabilized by chronic insecurity, violence, and corruption. Many urban areas have rates of homicide above the national average.

Globalization has compounded local vulnerabilities: research by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime found that city safety is affected by cross-border flows of illicit firearms and drugs, by human trafficking, and other crimes.

Therefore, in order to address safety and security at the national, regional, and international levels, it makes sense to look to our cities.

With this in mind, UNODC launched the Urban Safety Governance Initiative.

The Initiative draws on UNODC’s extensive expertise and experience with crime and violence prevention, as well as its work on drug use prevention with youth and families.

It promotes an evidence-based approach, starting with the Urban Safety Governance Assessment, to identify priority issues and areas for interventions, and emphasizes whole-of-government responses, implemented with civil society, the private sector, and urban communities themselves.

This event is an opportunity to share experiences and further strengthen support to countries, so they can take advantage of inclusive urbanization to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

I thank Executive Director Sharif of UN Habitat for her words at this event, and for the strong partnership with UNODC. I wish you an insightful discussion. Thank you.