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The Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime joined the UN-HABITAT and the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform’s conference on

Reviewing the State of Safety in World Cities: Safer Cities +20

on 6-8 July 2016 in Geneva (Maison de la Paix and Palais des Nations)

The conference was part of an ongoing conversation to craft new solutions to new problems i.e. rapidly increasing risk of conflict and insecurity in urban settings all around the globe.

Tuesday Reitano of the Global Initiative presented our work in the technical working group meeting on Safety and Peacebuilding: Integrated approaches in non-conventional conflict settings; part of the cross-cutting expert meetings on safer cities in the new urban agenda leading up to HABITAT III.

The session covered several important questions, such as:
• What is the role of conflict resolution and peacebuilding practice in shaping responses to crime and violence in cities?
• Why should mayors consider the potential value of conflict resolution and peacebuilding practice?
This session drew on the results of the Technical Working Group on the Confluence of Urban Safety and Peacebuilding Practice. This Technical Working Group brings together focal points on urban safety swith practiceioners from the community of peacebuilding, peace mediation and conflict prefcention in order to help craft solutions.

This session aimed to:

  • Highlight key practice trends in the conflict resolution and peacebuilding field that could become sustainable, affordable, and transferable responses to violence and crime in urban settings;
  • Demonstrate the potential strategic benefits for mayors of conflict resolution and peacebuilding approaches as responses to urban safety given future risks of conflict and social volatility; and
  • Recommend practical avenues for future networking across urban safety and peacebuilding practitioners.

Points raised by participants included the confluence of urban safety and peacebuilding, and the focus to bridge between traditional and non-traditional actors whilst not creating a new, separate community of practice.

Organised crime groups are a huge issue but remain often not discussed as they present sensitive issues that cannot be openly engaged with. Whilst militarisation is a usual response: fighting violence with violence has shown not to be the solution. Whilst some engagement might happen, only two actors are involved: crime groups and the state. However, often the state is a problematic actor and part of the problem: corruption, impunity and poor governance are additional obstacles.

The working group has been a further step in bringing together practitioners and researchers with different levels of analysis and highlighted the need to ways to connect better and include a broader set of actors in processes of reacting and preventing crime.


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