With two-thirds of the world's population expected to reside in cities by 2050, it is clear that urban areas will be the engines of economic growth and sustainable development, provided they can capitalize on their strengths and successfully address factors that hamper progress and development. Building inclusive societies by focusing on city safety and resilient governments lies at the heart of UNODC's work at the urban level.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the interconnectedness of contemporary challenges, and the need for comprehensive and participatory approaches to address them. UNODC has adopted the same lens to understand the security challenges of individual cities. Cities across the globe are undermined by chronic insecurity, violence and corruption, which are often connected to crime challenges originating beyond urban boundaries. These illicit flows intersect with individual vulnerabilities and local socio- economic conditions, and give rise to complex security challenges, that local governments are often unable to fully understand and address.

UNODC's Safety Governance Approach aims to make urban environments safe, inclusive and resilient by addressing the multi-causal factors of violence, crime and insecurity. The approach ensures that crime prevention and community safety strategies, policies, and programmes are tailored to meet grassroots needs and take account of the interface between global crime threats and local vulnerabilities. In addition to strengthening the role of cities in dealing with crime and violence, it also emphasizes on building resilience of communities by addressing structural issues such as corruption and lack of transparency, and in providing a space free of drug use, terrorism and organised crime. Through this approach, UNODC is assisting Member States to to move towards more holistic, integrated strategies and interventions that offer a wider range of responses, and recognize the need to act locally in addition to deploying efforts at the national or international level.

The Office has made efforts in this direction by developing a range of tools and services that are applicable to the urban level in the following areas: