Programme Director, Our host, World Forum of Cities and Territories of Peace, hosted by Mexico City in Mexico
Participants from the World Forum and the International Organizing Committee constituted by international bodies, social organizations, cities and networks of cities
South African national and local government, and civil society representatives, members of the academic and research communities that participated in the initiative: Knowledge Management across the field of violence prevention within the South African-German Development Cooperation
- On behalf of the Department of Cooperative Governance, it is my pleasure to be here today and to offer a few words of support at this global launch event within the World Forum of Cities and Territories of Peace and, in particular, on the closing day of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign. I would firstly like to extend my congratulations to the South African - German Development Cooperation, which has jointly with many partners from all spheres of government, civil society organizations and the German Development Cooperation contributed to the development of the set of Guides to Designing Integrated Violence Prevention Interventions and the Case Study booklet over the past two years.
- Since 2005, violence prevention has been a key topic for the South African-German development cooperation. This collaboration has included investments in violence prevention through urban upgrading interventions across the country, and a bilateral technical cooperation programme on violence and crime prevention. These pogrammes have served to support the implementation of national strategies and frameworks to support one of the key priorities in South Africa, that of building safer and more inclusive communities based on respect for universal human rights and gender equality as enshrined in our Constitution. While the world is facing the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, here in South Africa, we are experiencing what we call a “second” pandemic, gender-based violence and femicide. Our President made this declaration and ensured that the whole country prioritizes addressing gender based violence and femicide.
- As a country, we have embarked on a Whole-of-Government approach to building safer communities, with numerous policies and national strategies put in place over the last decade. Our national urban policy, “The Integrated Urban Development Framework” recognizes the importance of safety - living free from the threat or fear of violence and crime - as a basic human right. Safety is integrated as a crosscutting theme in the policy, which is intended to realise the outcomes of spatial transformation, integrated and sustainable human settlements, economic development, job creation, and active citizenship. Our newly adopted District Development Model seeks to implement a new integrated approach across all spheres of government to ensure coordinated, evidence-based planning, budgeting and implementation of government programmes that respond to the most pressing needs of local communities. Addressing the high levels of violence, and especially gender-based violence, is one such core need of many, particularly vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. I would also like to mention the White Paper on Safety and Security, which sets out a comprehensive policy framework for evidence-based approaches to the prevention of violence and crime in South Africa, with 6 key themes reflected in the products presented in today’s launch. Our National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide augments this policy, as a dedicated strategy to tackle this most pressing of national priorities.
- We are pleased to have the opportunity to join and support this event today to launch and disseminate the knowledge of the set of guides which provides an excellent orientation for practitioners, political leaders and community members working and committed to create safer communities. It provides clear and practical guidance on approaches to implementing area-based integrated interventions dedicated to violence and crime prevention, drawing on the insights and lessons learnt from the vast experience of the practitioners and experts working together in the South-African German Development Cooperation and is a cornerstone for practical implementation at local level in realizing the national development goal towards creating safer communities.
- Each of the six guides and the complementary “Case Study Booklet” provide a step by step guide towards a collaborative effort working holistically, synergistically and inclusively towards violence prevention in specific areas. It provides sophisticated insights into unlocking local resident’s roles as co-decision-makers and co-creators, as also envisioned in the country’s key national violence prevention policies.
- In order to achieve a higher impact in responding to the ongoing high rates of violence in South Africa, we would like to encourage partners and stakeholders to work on a strong alignment to existing national policies and strategies, such as the White Paper on Safety and Security, the Integrated Urban Development Framework as well as the National Strategic Plan on Gender- Based Violence.
Global committment for inclusive and safe cities: collective efforts and cross-sectoral involvement needed
- Like the South African government, most governments adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. Goal 11 specifically talks to the objective of making our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Without a doubt, achieving this ambitious goal requires a collective, multi-stakeholder effort and commitment across different sectors. It is wonderful therefore to see that at today’s event we have such a diverse range of participants, from national and local political leaders, senior officials, to representatives from the civil society and research sectors. I am also especially grateful for the opportunity to have practitioners and experts from around the globe, participants from the World Forum to share the insights of these guides with, but also to receive their immediate feedback and support of future peer-learning and exchange.
- We are committed to jointly work for safer and more inclusive cities, highlighting the importance of building co-existence and peace in cities and territories that identifies the causes of tensions and violence and supports with the implementation of public policies, programmes and citizen initiatives especially for our most vulnerable groups, such as women and children and to help build a culture and education for peace, as outlined within the World Forum. I wish all of us an interesting event. Thank you very much for the organizers and all the participants for your contribution and support.