The Partnership for Security in public spaces at the EWRC 2020

On Friday 16 October, a workshop on Urban resilience after the COVID-19 crisis took place at the European Week of Regions and Cities 2020.

Concrete Actions 

The workshop asked the following question: “how will the Partnership’s Action Plan address the role of cities in protecting citizens and building cities’ resilience?”.

As reminded by Florence Cipolla, project manager in urban security from the City of Nice, the Partnership on Security in public spaces has selected six Actions which are included in its Action Plan. One of those projects is Pacte Sur, coordinated by the City of Nice, initiated two years ago and which allows the cities to exchange, develop strategies, and strengthen the knowledge of the different technologies. A yearly European week of security is organised by Pacte Sur Torino. 

Topics of security in COVID-19 times

One of the main topics approached in the workshop’s discussion was the increase of domestic violence during the lockdown, targeting especially women and children. Though not being a new topic, the COVID-19 crisis has shed new light on the topic of security in public spaces. 

The use of public spaces, solidarity towards vulnerable groups, unaccompanied minors, maintaining respect and enforcement of fundamental rights in the light of sanitary measures are also ongoing topics. 

Five main issues emerged from the web conference exchanges:

  1. The lack of access to housing and social services
  2. Health measures and the appearance of new vulnerable groups
  3. The rise of organised crime; drug dealing and drug consumption
  4. The increase of family violence mainly against women and children
  5. and the increase of cybercrime and cyber fraud due to most people working from home. 

As ways to overcome these challenges, two main takeaways emerged from the discussion which are the importance of prevention as an efficient and cost-effective investment, and the demand for better coordination and cooperation with different levels of government.

What is the role of cities?

As stressed by Elisabeth Johnston of EFUS, cities have an important role to play in the matters discussed as social cohesion actors and in the “care society”. Anthony Colclough from Eurocities presented the COVIDnews platform, which was launched on March 19 and motivated by the need from cities to respond to the situation. The platform got a response from more than 120 cities, giving them the opportunity to get together and discuss issues. The speed, reactivity and interactivity of the platform contributed to its success. the cases of Nice and Madrid were explored to enhance the discussion.

Cities can also benefit from the help of a new partner, the World Health Organisation’s regional office for Europe committed to the approach “of leaving no one behind”.

In conclusion, the COVID-19 crisis should be considered as a catalyst and a facilitator to re-define Partnerships, to solidify and support the fact that we must invest in mechanisms to build trust between partners.

The workshop was recorded and is available to watch here.