The mission of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable human settlements development and the achievement of adequate shelter for all. Its activities contribute to the overall objective of the United Nations system to reduce urban poverty and promote sustainable development within the context of the Millennium Development Goals and the challenges of a rapidly urbanizing world.
UN-Habitat’s work is guided by the Habitat Agenda, which also addresses women’s safety (article 123).
The key focus of UN-Habitat’s work in the area of violence against women is on the role and rationale for local government interventions and policy. UN-Habitat’s work on violence against women is conducted within the framework of its Safer Cities Programme, which aims to build capacities at city level to adequately address urban insecurity and thereby to contribute to the establishment of a culture of prevention.
On 3 June 2009, UN-HABITAT and UNIFEM signed a new Memorandum of Understanding regarding a global programme to tackle violence against women and girls in the world’s cities. This programme will focus on the development, testing and delivery of a new global model for safer cities, based on proven strategies and best practices that can be replicated in different cities around the world. UN-HABITAT, in partnership with the UNIFEM South Asia Sub-Regional Office and the NGO “Jagori”, has developed a framework for a Safer New Delhi, with women's safety being the entry point. The UN-HABITAT Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP) was adopted by the Governing Council in April 2009, focusing on the rolling out of the women's safety audit tool to other cities and training of local governments in adopting this approach; developing guidelines and a capacity building program for local authorities on women's safety in public spaces.Hide
UN-HABITAT, in collaboration with UNICEF and UN-Women, developed a global programme “Safe and Sustainable Cities for All”. During 2012, the programme was launched in eight pilot cities ─ Greater Beirut (Lebanon), Dushanbe (Tajikistan), Metro Manila (Philippines), Marrakesh (Morocco), Nairobi (Kenya), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), San José (Costa Rica) and Tegucigalpa (Honduras). Some city-level results of the programme include: a rapid assessment in 7 neighborhoods in Beirut, revealing interrelated challenges of poverty, overcrowding, and lack of safe public spaces for women, girls and children; the establishment of a permanent Safe Cities Committee within the Municipality in Marrakech which helped to increase resources for the Municipal Committee on Equity and Gender Equality; engagement of community members in participatory mapping of violence and safety conditions for women and girls in nine communities, in Rio; dialogues with informal settlers in Mandaluyong City, Manila, to design collaborative interventions and mainstream ‘safety’ into the city’s planning and budgeting processes. Some results of the global rogramme on “Safe Cities free from violence for women and girls”, led by UN Women, in collaboration with UN-Habitat, include the approval of an Amendment to the City Ordinance on Eliminating Violence against Women by the Quito Municipality to also target violence in public spaces; Safe Cities’ models and approaches are being integrated into a new government scheme in New Delhi aimed at enhancing women’s safety and policing services; the Mayor's office in Kigali is advocating for Safe Cities measures to be included in its city plan and budget and for legal reforms to also address sexual harassment and violence in public spaces; mainstreaming of Women’s Safety Audits into the planning processes of the Egyptian Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development. The Plan International, Women in Cities International and UN-Habitat joint programme “Because I am a Girl – Urban Programme” was launched in Hanoi (Vietnam), Delhi (India), Cairo (Egypt), Kampala (Uganda) and Lima (Peru). A rapid situational assessment (RSA) has been conducted to assess safety of girls in each of the five cities. UN-Habitat and local authorities of the Kupang and Belu districts in Indonesia, spearheaded a “Local-to-Local Dialogue“ for women, aimed at improving responses by local authorities to crises impacting women and empowering women, both from ex-refugees and host communities. UN-Habitat is supported by the Huairou Commission and by the local NGO CIS Timor. Such dialogues also offer the opportunity to exchange experiences among different grassroots female leaders from other post-conflict areas, in Southeast Asia. By supporting the role of organized women’s leadership in community development processes, the “Local-to-Local Dialogue provides a foundation to prevent and reduce existing practices of discrimination, marginalization and violence against women in post-conflict areas.Hide
SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE URBAN PROSPERITY IN THE STATE OF ALAGOAS – UN-Habitat partnership with the government of Alagoas, Brazil, in which UN-Habitat is going to conduct a local safety diagnosis and public spaces use, with a special focus View More
SUSTAINABLE AND INCLUSIVE URBAN PROSPERITY IN THE STATE OF ALAGOAS – UN-Habitat partnership with the government of Alagoas, Brazil, in which UN-Habitat is going to conduct a local safety diagnosis and public spaces use, with a special focus on women, and elaborate an urban safety and crime prevention strategy, giving a special focus on violence against women and on how to promote a culture of peace.
ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP – programme led by UN Women and including UNFPA, UN Habitat and UNODC. The partnership aims at reducing vulnerability of women and girls in West Bank & Gaza to View More
ELIMINATING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN WEST BANK AND GAZA STRIP – programme led by UN Women and including UNFPA, UN Habitat and UNODC. The partnership aims at reducing vulnerability of women and girls in West Bank & Gaza to all forms of violence against women and from the threat of such violence.Hide
A first pilot training on conducting women’s safety audits for the Caribbean was held in Kingston, Jamaica, in mid-November 2008, with 30 participants from Jamaica, Grenada, St Lucia, and Haiti. A concept note by UNDP and UN-HABITAT, submitted to the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund for up-scaling this programme to cover other municipalities in Jamaica, has been accepted.Hide
As part of the Strengthening Community Safety through Local Government Capacity-Building project being implemented in Kingston, Jamaica in partnership with UN HABITAT-UNDP, a two-day women’s safety audit training for local government community workers and other key stakeholders was organised in October 2010. The trained community workers are conducting safety audits with women in the communities in partnership with Huairou Commission and the University of Technology, Jamaica. With the aim to support and strengthen the capacity of the Nigerian National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in countering organized crime groups involved in trafficking of minors and young women for sexual exploitation from Nigeria, UNICRI submitted a project proposal based on current assessment of NAPTIP’s requests and operational needs.Hide
Within the joint MDG funded project on “building social cohesion” UN-HABITAT has conducted a training needs assessment, also on women’s safety UN-HABITAT is just embarking on the safety assessment of 13 municipalities, results to be presented during a restitution workshop in mid-October. In conjunction with the restitution workshop, a training will also be conducted on safety tools and women’s safety audits. Training of trainers on conducting women’s safety audits was conducted in October 2010.Hide
UN-HABITAT and UNIFEM, now part of UN Women, held a joint workshop during the International Seminar “Cities without Violence, Safe Cities for Women and Girls”, in July 2008 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and presented a joint training initiative on women’s safety audits for cities in Latin America and the Caribbean.Hide
In collaboration with “Jagori“, UN-Habitat initiated a Youth and Safety Project in slums in New Delhi. The project is implemented in the relocated community of Madanpur Khadar and focuses on gender-based safety by involving young men and young women, in order to enhance security in the slum for the most vulnerable. A National Youth Crime and Violence Prevention Conference was held by UN Habitat in Nairobi, Kenya, with providing safe spaces for young women and girls, as one of the thematic areas. Recommendations were made to local government to be proactive in providing these spaces, especially in disadvantaged communities.Hide
UN Habitat held panel discussions during Kenya’s National Youth Forum in February 2008 on preventing gender-based violence. An award ceremony was held in March 2008 in Costa Rica, as part of the “IV Safer Cities Competitions for Women and Girls - Safety and Security for Women and Girls in Cities”, with the following municipalities receiving awards: San Miguel de Tucumán, Argentina; Maipú, Chile; and Solidaridad, Mexico.Hide