Urban Agenda partnership for security in public spaces
This session, designed and led by the Coordinators and Technical Secretariat of the Urban Agenda for the EU Partnership on Security in Public Spaces, provided an opportunity to present the work of the Partnership. Furthermore, it served as a platform for exchange between the panellists and audience about the main challenges for local authorities and to gather feedback and advice to inform the work ahead.
The Partnership Coordinators provided an overview of the Partnership’s origins and the efforts accompanying its start-up phase as well as the definition of its focus, which is the result of a participatory process. An important milestone for the Partnership was the definition of security in public spaces, which is embraced as a broad concept. During its orientation phase, the Partnership decided to focus on three core areas: urban planning and design, technology and managing and sharing public spaces. The approach and main pillars of the Partnership work are expressed in the Orientation Paper, which was completed in May 2019.
The panel discussion touched upon the need for multilevel governance when facing these challenges as well as the importance of striking a balance between hard and soft approaches to security. The Committee of the Regions' Rapporteur on the Urban Agenda for the EU, Kieran McCarthy, and Eva-Maria Engdahl (DG HOME) reflected on the importance of ensuring that the Partnership works in close coordination with EU institutions and other key partners. They both noted how the existing Urban Agenda for the EU Partnerships has been able to contribute to shaping knowledge exchange, regulation and funding regarding their policy field. It was essential in the speakers’ view to ensure that Actions are both implementable and fully implemented. In order to achieve these goals and to arrive at a good Action Plan, they advised adhering to a precise definition of the scope of the Partnership’s work.
The discussion was enriched by testimonials by some Partnership members, notably Lille Metropole, Unione della Romagna Faentina, Mechelen and Croatia. The partners reflected on specific experiences working in this domain. They mentioned the need to tackle crime by way of an integrated approach and the urgency of dealing with the perception of security, as well as the importance of urban planning for security. They described the Partnership as a unique platform where local authorities can exchange practices and knowledge as well as join forces in tackling common challenges.
Take away message
The Partnership can play an important role in supporting and influencing the European Commission’s policy agenda in the domain of security in public spaces. It is important to carry on the work on the Partnership beyond its formal duration and to coordinate with other partnerships as well as Member States and relevant programmes and initiatives (INTERREG, URBACT, etc.) The Partnership should also strive to find an integrated approach to security, taking social aspects into account.
The Urban Agenda for the EU is a unique multilevel governance initiative and partners should be praised for undertaking this commitment on a voluntary basis. (Committee of the Regions Rapporteur Kieran McCarthy)
What was revealing about this Partnership is that cities and local authorities who have never liaised before experience the same challenges and objectives across Europe. (Werner Van Herle, Mechelen)
The Urban Agenda for the EU is an opportunity to build an integrated urban approach and scheme on urban security at EU level. (Andrea Luccaroni, Unione della Romagna Faentina)