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Mayors of Latin America and the Caribbean form alliance of cities for citizen security

BOGOTÁ, Colombia Mayors of 41 cities in Latin America and the Caribbean today established the Cities Alliance for Citizen Security, a regional dialogue network aimed at sharing experiences of innovation in violence and crime prevention and control, with an impact on quality of life and improved citizen security.

The document founding the cities alliance has been called the Bogota Manifesto, because the document was signed during an International Summit of Cities in the Colombian capital.

The international summit of cities – Ideas, Leadership and Innovation for the Prevention of Urban Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean – was organized by the Municipality of Bogotá and the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It gave mayors the opportunity to share experiences and learn of programs to reduce citizen insecurity in other places, particularly with regard to violence and youth, organized crime, the municipal approach to transnational crime, and the use of new technologies for crime prevention and control.

"Close to 80 percent of the population in Latin America is urban,” said Xavier Comas, Chief of the Institutional Capacity of the State Division at the IDB. “Citizen security is an issue that needs to be approached not only at the national level but at the local level, promoting the sharing of experiences and best practices between countries and cities.”

The Bogotá Manifesto lays the foundations for the Cities Alliance in a shared vision that focuses on what cities have in common on citizen security. The initiative seeks peaceful resolution of conflicts "with a guarantee of rights for the strengthening of civic life," according to the document.

The Cities Alliance will promote the use of new technologies to address the causes and consequences of violence, as well as develop mechanisms to act in coordination with national and regional agencies, and establish partnerships for social responsibility with the private sector.

It will also promote organized sports activities as a tool for urban violence prevention. "Sports are a cross-sectional tool that is key for development,” said Fabian Koss, coordinator of the IDB Youth Program, “and creating alliances between the public and the private sector with civil society is key for the sustainability of this kind of initiatives.”

The two-day International Summit of Cities, which ends today, was hosted by the Mayor of Bogota, Samuel Moreno, and the manager of Institutional Capacity and Finance Sector of the IDB, Mario Marcel.