Urban Violence Reduction and Citizen Security in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and South Africa

Failed and fragile states are attracting global attention; however, they sit at one end of a spectrum of states struggling to instill order and authority. Citizens in these countries want security and representation. Equally important challenges exist in strong and democratic states when extending their authority into geographically isolated areas or inner city slums. These communities, or enclaves, can create structures of violence which are difficult to overcome. This project will fund dialogues to improve urban and citizen security to address these challenges. The work will be conducted in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and South Africa, which are on the frontlines of violence in non-conflict settings. The project will enhance the evidence base on this topic and examine the strategies being used. With the Geneva Declaration Secretariat estimating annual global costs at between US$95 to $163 billion, the knowledge generated by the project will help policymakers and governments address the high cost of armed violence in non-conflict settings. High crime rates also divert state resources to law enforcement, even though they are often ineffective at keeping citizens safe. The numbers of indirect deaths from conflicts and deaths from non-conflict violence are increasing, even as the numbers of direct deaths from conflicts are decreasing. The project will bring policymakers, academics, and practitioners from these countries together to develop an international knowledge network committed to finding strategies to deal with armed violence in non-conflict settings. Members of the network will share and transfer evidence-based approaches to promoting social stability and safety in cities with chronic violence. The exchanges will take place between frontline developing countries, given that they are best placed to develop effective and innovative home-grown solutions.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Friday, March 16, 2018


36 months

IDRC Officer

Markus Gottsbacher

Total funding

CA$ 707,000


South of Sahara, South America


Governance and Justice

Project Leader

Dr. Robert Muggah


Instituto Igarapé

Institution Country


Institution Website