New Delhi, Oct 1 (UNI) Crime and the fear of crime are serious threats to the social climate of cities as well as for sustainable and economic development.
The growth of urban crime is posing a threat to urban safety all over the world and is a matter of serious concern for both national and city governments.
The remarks were made by Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Dr. Harjit S Anand while speaking at the inauguration of the World Habitat Day celebrations here today.
The theme of this year's celebration is "A Safe City is a just City".
On the increasing high level of unemployment amongst youth in urban areas, Dr. Anand emphasised the need to undertake concerted action for providing livelihoods opportunities to youth to generate in them a sense of belonging to society.
He stressed the need for finding ways of making our cities more "inclusive" to check the increasing divide between the rich and the poor.
''The Habitat Agenda commits nations to improving living and working conditions on a sustainable basis, so that everyone is able to secure good quality shelter accompanied by a healthy environment,'' he said.
''A secure habitat implies healthy, safe, accessible and affordable shelter adequately serviced by basic amenities combined with appropriate security of tenure for all, he added.
''We need to promote urban planning and governance with a social and grassroots' approach for strengthening safety of cities.
Such an approach at the local level will strengthen both crime prevention and detection,'' said Dr Anand..
Giving his views on this year's theme of World Habitat Day, Dr Anand said it is of critical significance in relation to the quality of life in our cities. Crime is a serious problem in cities all over the world.
On the occasion he released special publications of Housing and Urban Development Corporation Ltd. (HUDCO), Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) and National Cooperative Housing Federation of India (NCHF).
Dr Anand also gave away the prizes to the winners of NHB Essay Competition for 2007 and Painting Competition of Physically and Visually challenged children.
Shalini Dewan, Director, United Nations Information Centre read out the message of Secretary General, United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon.
World Habitat day is celebrated on the First Monday of the October each year to sensitise a cross-section of stakeholders to initiate suitable actions on a most relevant theme to promote sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.