Ireland: Dublin Joins Initiative for Safe Cities
Monday, March 4, 2013 9:50 AM

"There is no city or country in the world where women and girls live free of the fear of violence. No leader can claim: This is not happening in my backyard. The prevalence of domestic violence and sexual harassment in the world places limitations on women’s freedom to get an education, to work, to participate in politics, or to even simply enjoy their own neighborhoods," wrote Michelle Bachelet, the Executive Director of UN Women.

Last week in Dublin, some 600 delegates gathered for the 8th Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty. The delegates came together to examine innovative approaches to make cities smarter, safer, and more sustainable. One of these approaches is called the Safe Cities Global initiative, launched in 2010 by UN Women and UN Habitat. This partnership of municipal governments, local communities and organizations, and the United Nations, works to make urban environments safer for women and girls. The initiative initially launched with five pilot cities: Cairo, Egypt; Kigali, Rwanda; New Delhi, India; Quito, Ecuador; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The project has now expanded to more than 20 cities. Dublin is set to be the first city in Western Europe to join the Safe City Initiative.
The initiative has allowed insight into the differences in the various cities; each city is unique and requires a local response. A number of the cities have made great improvements, including the lighting and design of streets and buildings, training and sensitizing police, and hiring more women police officers. Further, a partnership between UN Women and the United Cities and Local Governments will focus on collecting local data on female political participation and expanding successful Safe Cities activities. The Forum recognizes that collaboration needs to include residents, government, the private sector, and civil society. By including women in decision-making, city governments will be in a better position to fulfill their responsibility to ensure the safety of their residents, especially women and girls.
Compiled from: Bachelet, Michelle, “OP-ED: Making Cities Safe for Women and Girls,” Inter Press Service News Agency (19 February 2013).