New agreement regarding the security of citizens in Latin America
Panama—The Fair for Awareness regarding the Security of Citizens “Central American Commitment” organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the System for Central American Integration (SICA) brought together many sectors of society involved in dealing with issues pertaining to violence and insecurity. Government representatives from eight countries in the region, police authorities, members of civil society, delegates of international cooperation agencies and the general public all came together to exchange experiences and engage in a dialogue with regard to various projects that have been successfully implemented. The Fair, carried out between October 25 and 28 in Panama City, benefited from the support of the Spanish International Cooperation Agency for Development (AECID).
Among the more than 800 participants involved in the Fair were Ministers, Vice Ministers, Police Chiefs, experts and journalists from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
The Fair concluded with the signing of an agreement between countries to continue in 2011 with the Project for Supporting the Regional Strategy for Security in Central America and Mexico. Various studies indicate that the increase in violence and the insecurity of citizens constitutes the primary preoccupation of citizens in Central America. While it is true that specific circumstances may differ from one country to the next, the region appears to be one of the most violent in the world.
At the same time, the event showcased 43 national experiences and resulted in 41 cooperation agreements and letters of intent which will promote the creation of a network of regional activity and dialogue with regard to the safety of citizens.
The following activities were carried out within the framework of the Central American Commitment Fair:
- Strategic cooperation agreements
- Workshop on Central American parliaments and security
- International Seminar on Communications Media
- Workshop on local management with field trips to Panama municipalities
- Horizontal cooperation seminars
- Technical presentations
- Launch of the Security Watchdog Agency in Panama
- Forum for Promoting regional programmes and projects for the exchange of information
- Providing instruments to the Moisés Castillo de la Chorrera band as a contribution to the programme for preventing youth violence through music
- Talk shows (presentation of the experiences)
- A number of cultural activities such as a cine forum, conversations, music and live urban dance
The Fair for the Awareness of Central American Commitment has served as a forum for promoting the knowledge acquired as a result of various experiences and for highlighting the achievements that have been made by the organizers, for publicizing the results of these experiments, and for initiating exercises for horizontal cooperation in regard to exchanging knowledge and enhancing the synergies between the projects carried out by various stakeholders as well as creating and strengthening networks.