In El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and St Lucia, the UNDP-InfoSegura/CariSECURE projects support national governments to conduct specialized victimization and gender surveys, collecting evidence on citizen security perceptions, and unreported crimes to be recorded. - © INE-UNDP Guatemala

Community Security 

UNDP’s approach to community security focuses on involving diverse and representative members of the community, to identify the causes of insecurity as well as the solutions to improve their own safety. This work includes supporting the creation of grassroots infrastructures to increase safety and security, and is often linked with measures to curb the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. UNDP promotes a sector-wide approach to increasing community security, which includes strengthening the capacity of security sector institutions and their ability to reform to suit the needs of the community. UNDP also aims to ensure that security actors in crisis-affected situations are professional, accountable, and aware of human rights.

Citizen Security in Latin America and the Caribbean - InfoSegura/CariSECURE

In the Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) region, significant progress has been made in terms of citizen security and human development. Persistent challenges such as the reduction of multiple forms of violence, institutional consolidation, and improvements in socioeconomic opportunities, do however remain. In these three areas there are factors that are key accelerators for the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030. The implementation of comprehensive policies, with an emphasis on prevention and territorial approaches, are those that have been shown to have greater impact in the development of peaceful societies. 

There is thus a need to strengthen the development of institutional capacities for collecting, processing, analysing, disseminating and using quality information and the development of knowledge tools in the different countries of the region. The USAID-funded UNDP-InfoSegura and CariSECURE projects are focused on achieving this, aiming to institutionalise analysis-usage capacities, tools and processes and to foster regional mechanisms for enhanced information management and exchange, for better policies.

As a result of these projects, UNDP has learned some key lessons. It is apparent that having information available from a variety of sources, with a high level of disaggregation, and extended time series is essential for performing multidimensional analysis of insecurity. This analysis serves as a foundation for defining public policy priorities, as well as to target geographic areas and demographic brackets most affected by insecurity. In addition, the use of citizen security analysis linked to issues like development, human rights, and human mobility, contribute to the nurturing of comprehensive public policies which can have a greater possibility of impact on improving peoples' lives. This analysis can be complimented by the use of digital instruments such as online portals, early warning systems, and integrated information systems, which have been of special interest to national institutions, as these tools hold potential for promoting open-data policies and transparency. National Statistics Institutions also have a role to play, specifically in administering surveys on victimization and the perception of insecurity, as well as surveys on violence against women. 

In addition to institutions, support mechanisms at the national level can provide a space that is conducive to sustaining information management on issues related to the rule of law, while also creating monitoring mechanisms for the Sustainable Development Agenda. Finally, working within UNDP’s governance framework, comprised of the regional hub and country offices, enables the InfoSegura and CariSECURE projects to coordinate with other initiatives that work on violence prevention, citizen security, violence against women, human mobility, amongst others; and in coordinating with like minded partners this allows for the opportunity to achieve tangible results.