City profiles online
Plural Security Insights is proud to announce the publication of three city profiles depicting plural security provision in Tunis (Tunisia), Nairobi (Kenya) and Beirut (Lebanon).
The project, Informing policy on plural security provision in urban contexts: Comparative insights from Lebanon, Kenya and Tunisia, has been made possible through a grant by NWO-WOTRO. It has been implemented with the support of the Graduate Institute Geneva’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding, the Rift Valley Institute in Kenya, UN-Habitat in Lebanon, and UrbaConsult in Tunisia
In Beirut, the research revealed that security pluralism is unlikely to promote equitable security as a public good, especially to newcomers. Social cohesion was identified as a key foundation of citizen safety, though not a reliable recourse for all. The research also exposes weaknesses in the current international and national policy assumption that increasing the capacity of the Lebanese police (ISF) will necessarily increase the security of residents.
From Tunis, the research shows that people perceive the “provision of security” as a broad concept, associated with access to public services (e.g. streetlights, public transport). Citizens also noted the weakening of social control mechanisms, which is seen to increase insecurity in poorer neighborhoods. This should encourage security practitioners and policymakers to invest more attention and resources into the social determinants of security.
In Nairobi, the research illustrated the need for Kenyan government policies, municipal initiatives and international support for Kenyan security services to take into consideration the legacy of state neglect for citizens living in poor urban settlements. Currently, this history of neglect and its implications for notions of the ‘public good’, do not appear sufficiently salient in national security policies.
The project privileges a bottom-up perspective. In this way, it aims to enable domestic and international policymakers to engage constructively with local modes of security provision and encourage communities to build important reciprocal relations with their designated guardians. Should policymakers and practitioners apply the insights offered and take up recommendations provided in each case study, this could lead to a new repertoire of security assistance strategies and methods.
Image by Andrea Scire