The UN Safe Cities Initiative began in November 2010 with a focus on violence against women in public spaces – a focal point for the Blank Noise project.   Quito, Ecuador; Cairo, Egypt; New Delhi, India; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; and Kigali, Rwanda were selected for the project based on their large population of urban slum dwellers.  A snapshot of the cities explains that the New Delhi Safe Cities Initiative partners with the Department for Women and Child Development, the Government of Delhi, UNIFEM (now UNWomen), UN-Habitat and Jagori and a number of organizations have served as consultants in the projects development, including  Departments of Education and Transport of the Government of Delhi, the Delhi Police, women’s rights groups and United Nations agencies (UNICEF, UNDP, UNFPA).   The initiative, which places emphasis on technology for data gathering and evaluation, focuses on:

  • Policy and legislative reforms
  • Urban planning and design of public spaces
  • Civic awareness
  • Improvements in public transport and policing
  • Provision and maintenance of public infrastructure and services
  • Expanding access by survivors to legal assistance, justice and other support

Be sure to check out the baseline survey for the New Delhi initiative put together by Jagori and UNWomen, which details key factors contributing to the unsafe public environment, forms and frequency of harassment, public reactions to such harassment, etc.

UNWomen also involves civil society as steakholders in the Safe Cities initiatives meaningfully “in all stages of the safe cities programming, implementation,” such as at the recent stakeholders planning meeting in July 2011 in Cairo, Egypt.  Additionally, their evaluation methods for initiative success can be viewed here.