Conference on Safer Cities for Women and Girls

Conference on Safer Cities for Women – Bogota, City of Peace (2004)


The Conference on Safer Cities for Women and Girls was held in Bogota, Colombia in 2004. A diverse range of partners and participants joined the event, including representatives from civil society, academia, urban planning bodies, NGOs, police forces, national and municipal governments, international women’s networks, UN-Habitat, United Nations Development Programme, and UNIFEM. The Conference on Safer Cities for Women and Girls followed the First International Seminar on Women’s Safety, held in Montréal, Canada in 2002. Discussion themes for this event included:

  • Violence against Women and Girls: A Global View
  • Planning Strategies of Participation, Mobilization, and Empowerment of Women and Girls
  • Women, Girls, and the Culture of Peace
  • Manifestations of Insecurity and Violence in Public, Private, and Symbolic Spaces
  • Spheres of Gender Violence
  • Panel for City Cooperation

For more information about the Second International Conference on Safer Cities for Women and Girls, please see click here.

Declaration of Bogota

Safe Cities for Women and Girls

25 November 2004, Bogota D.C., COLOMBIA

WE ARE representatives of local governments from the Americas, Africa and Europe, from the United Nations System, international and regional networks,NGOs, social organisations, grassroots women’s groups and academics, participating in the Second International Conference on Safe Cities for Women and Girls organised in the city of Bogota, D.C. Colombia, from the 22nd to the 25th of November 2004. We are from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, United States, Jamaica, Kenya, Peru, Russia, Scotland and South Africa.

We acknowledge the recommendations from the following International Conferences, Cairo 1994 (Population and Development), Belém do Pará 1994 (Interamerican Convention to Prevent, Sanction and Eradicate Violence Against Women), Beijing 1995 (4th International Conference on Women, Istanbul 1996 (Habitat II, the City Summit), Johannesburg 1998 (Develop Networks in Crime Prevention and Community Safety), Naples 2000 (Forum on Safety and Democracy), Montréal 2002 (1st International Conference on Women’s Safety), Durban 2003 (Municipalities at the Crossroads), Monterrey 2004 (International Conference on Youth at Risk).


Gender-based violence is deeply entrenched in the cultural and social relations between men and women and is the result of an imbalance of power between men and women

Gender-based violence must be considered within the general framework of human rights violations

Gender violence is aggravated when poverty and social-political violence ends in internal armed conflict, bringing even greater obstacles to the achievement of gender equality and the fulfillment of the rights of women and girls

Private is public as far as gender-based violence is concerned and it is an issue which must be addressed by society in general and demands partnerships between national and local governments and civil society organisations, especially women’s organisations and organisations working with children

The traditional focus given to urban violence and its costs does not incorporate a gender equality perspective, therefore, the risks and damages incurred by women and girls in the context of urban violence has not been adequately recognised or addressed

We acknowledge the main United Nations Declarations and Recommendations, in particular the Beijing Platform of Action and the Habitat Agenda that states:

“Governments commit themselves to: develop programmes and practices that promote the total and equal participation of women in the planning and in the decision-making process regarding human settlements and urban development”.

We recognise the international, regional, national and local progress regarding:

Broader consensus on basic principles and norms of human solidarity and the necessary policies for their development

Better knowledge of necessary measures to ensure that cities safer for women and girls are safer for all

More violence prevention programmes with joint participation of the community, governments, private sector and other key actors

Formal recognition of the central role of municipalities and a more commitment of local authorities and other stakeholders

More recognition of this issue in local, national, regional and international agendas

Significant practices that can be scaled-up and replicated


To ensure committed local governments, developing pro-active public policies, incorporating a gender approach

To create and/or reinforce integrated programmes with appropriate human and economical resources for their implementation

To develop adequate tools for the reinforcement of the citizenship of women (i.e. measurement and monitoring tools)

To develop and/or reinforce strategic alliances between women’s organisations, popular movements, the criminal justice system, private sector and other key actors

To reach agreements and highlight existing partnerships between women’s networks and organisations and local authorities

To encourage and guarantee institutional spaces for women’s issues with adequate resources to ensure a gender approach in the development of public policies

To reach and/or strengthen the links between decision makers and those responsible for gender policies within governments

We therefore call upon:

National Governments

To ensure appropriate policies, mechanisms and resources to address the causes of violence; as well as guaranteeing full safety for women participating in politics either as candidates or elected leaders.

Local Authorities

To implement municipal safety policies with a gender perspective; to build the capacity of those who are responsible for the formulation and implementation of public policy, aiming at the protection of human rights and the reinforcement of civic responsibility, especially the police force, in terms of the prevention of violence against women and girls in the private as well as public space; to increase the number of women police officers, specifically attending cases of violence against women and girls; specific prevention programmes for adolescents and girls, shelters for battered women, adequate infrastructure, public transport, adequate lighting and the promotion of more women in local decision-making, encourage peace programmes and community solidarity and create special programmes for violent men.

Private Sector

To exercise their social responsibility including violence prevention programmes, good practices awards, adequate resources for capacity building in responsible citizenship, security and peace through media, as well as establishing internal mechanisms for sanctioning sexual harassment in the workplace.

Universities and Research Centres

To collaborate with local and national authorities ensuring adequate tools for measuring safety in our cities and our homes; to create urban observatories together with local authorities and popular movements in order to monitor urban safety; to create new measurement tools and to include this topic in curriculum and specific courses.

Police Forces

To promote an attitude of service and civic responsibility that encourages practices of human solidarity and common agreement between authorities and citizens, as well as to reinforce the awareness and capacity of public officials in order to ensure a more adequate response to the needs of women and girls who are victims of violence.

Mass Media

To work with communities and with local authorities in the dissemination of the norms and principles of mutual respect and solidarity, the use of symbols, images and language which promotes human solidarity and a more inclusive culture which respects gender, age, and diversity.

UN and International Development Agencies

To support national and municipal governments, civil society organisations in the development of programmes aiming at the reduction of domestic and urban violence, promoting citizen responsibility and the social/economical/political integration of society; to facilitate South/South and South/North exchange, between the members of the Safer Cities for Women and Girls Network; and to give technical assistance to local, national and regional

Networks, community based organisations, women’s organisations, NGOs, religious organisations and human rights organisations

To continue to be the monitors for urban safety, especially regarding the safety of women and girls; to serve as the “thermometers” of peace and citizens responsibility, awarding local authorities and communities that put in practice in a consistent and sustainable manner joint actions that promote safer cities for women and girls.


UN SYSTEM (UN-HABITAT, UNIFEM-Andean Region and Office for Brazil and Southern Cone, UNICEF) commits itself to

Continue supporting the policies and actions resulting from this Declaration.

UN-HABITAT commits itself to

Support the development of strengthening of the Safer Cities International Network; to partner with Bogota D.C. in the design of an adequate resource mobilisation strategy for the regional co-ordination of the Safer Cities for Women and Girls Network; to co-ordinate the Third International Conference Safer Cities for Women and Girls, together with the Huairou Commission and Women in Cities International; and to assess the progress in this process during the Third World Urban Forum, Vancouver, 2006.

Women in Cities International commits itself to

Develop an international webpage which links the different regional networks; to co-ordinate the next Women’s Safety Awards in 2006 and to participate in the co-ordination of the Third International Conference Safer Cities for Women and Girls together with UN-HABITAT and the Huairou Commission.

FEMUM-LAC commits itself to

Elaborate and develop regional projects that institutionalise a gender perspective in municipal urban safety policies, ensuring women’s participation and monitoring; as well as promoting the South/South and South/North exchange of innovative municipal experiences in gender aware urban safety measures.

The Huairou Commission commits itself to

Facilitate communication and global links between the different organisations, including the members and partners of its Networks, UN-HABITAT, Women in Cities International, the Women and Shelter Network, the Union of Cities and Local Governments, grassroots women’s organisations and other counterparts such as: UNIFEM, FEMUM and the Municipality of Bogota; include a Five Year Work Plan as part of its Local Governance Campaign, conformed of grassroots women’s organisations, local authorities and NGOs.

Bogota D.C. commits itself to

Consolidate and continue to develop public policies with a gender perspective as well as the perspective of children, adolescence and youth in the plan, programmes and projects contained in the Development Plan 2004-2008 “Bogota Without Indifference, a Social Commitment against Poverty and Exclusion”. It also commits itself to coordinate the new Safer Cities for Women and Girls Network for Latin America and the Caribbean.

Click here for a PDF version of the Bogota Declaration.