THEME: “Advancing Safety through Informal Settlement Upgrading in line with 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda” 

Almost half of the world population will be living in urban areas and cities. While it is acknowledged that cities are engines of economic growth, they are also centres of extreme poverty as a result of marginalisation and exclusion. Lately, cities have experienced increased levels of violence, intolerance and crime. In most cases, city leadership is not well equipped to address the root causes of crime and violence. The normal technical capabilities found within cities such as town planners, urban designers, engineers, road planners, architects and other built environment professions are not sufficiently exposed to any urban safety or crime prevention capacity enhancement programs. 

The UN Habitat introduced the Safer Cities programme and the City of Durban has benefited from technical support and this has led to the development of the crime and violence prevention strategy. The city still needs to improve its own capabilities to address crime and violence. The adoption of 2030 sustainable development agenda in the form of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has made it clear that without mainstreaming safety at the core of policy, strategy and practice in cities and local governments, cities and local governments are at risk of experiencing the depreciation of property values, poor investor confidence and lack of enjoyment of services and public spaces (parks, boulevards, bus stops, train station) provided by cities. This has direct impact on the quality of life for citizens who are likely to experience a poor sense of community due to fear of crime and violence. 

In pursuing the United Nations, SDGs, the eThekwini Municipality has partnered with UN Habitat to host a Master Class on Urban Safety Governance in Informal Settlements.