(Stockholm 15 September 2016): Today, over 200 experts and practitioners are attending the first Stockholm Security Conference on Secure Cities, which aims to identify and manage the most pressing urban security issues, including gang violence, radicalization and food security. The conference is co-hosted by SIPRI, the Swedish Parliament/Riksdag and the City of Stockholm.
With over half of the world’s population currently living in cities, and predictions that this will rise to 75% by 2050, creating safe and secure cities is vital.
At the opening session, the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament Urban Ahlin said that the high degree of urbanization today places entirely new demands on the organization of society.
The Mayor of Stockholm Karin Wanngård highlighted the international character of cities, saying “Every major city is a reflection of the global arena and the issue of secure cities is an issue of global safety.”
The Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emanual continued this theme, stating “We understand that cities […] face an evolving landscape of challenges with regard to security. Global threats like climate change and terrorism hit cities first and hardest.”
SIPRI Director Dan Smith stressed that despite their vulnerabilities, cities also have huge potential for solving security problems. “We need to hold in balance the security threats—a challenge that we face, which is real—and the enormous dynamism and creativity that cities are capable of. Especially in building resilience, cities’ importance as an actor in security issues will only increase.”
Mark Evans, Acting Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Sweden, addressed in particular the threat of violent extremism and stated “While violent extremism is a challenge that does transcend boundaries and borders, the most pragmatic solutions are the ones that are being put in place in cities. […] For this reason, when we think about combatting violent extremism, it’s not on some distant battlefield where the battle begins. It’s actually within our communities, within our schools; it’s within our community organizations, it’s within our homes.”
About SIPRI and the Stockholm Security Conference
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources.
For media or photo requests, please contact SIPRI’s Director of Communications Stephanie Blenckner. firstname.lastname@example.org, +46 8 655 97 47
Photos and videos from the event are available on the SIPRI website.