The ICMA CityLinks™ team recently selected two Honduran cities for its first city-to-city pilot partnerships. CityLinks, a USAID-funded program, pairs U.S. cities with municipalities in developing countries to create more resilient communities by addressing climate change, food security, and water and sanitation challenges. In March, the CityLinks team, led by Program Director Joseph Lombardo, traveled to Honduras to conduct an evaluation and choose suitable cities for the pilots. Representatives from USAID Washington and USAID Honduras also visited three candidate cities, preselected by the USAID Honduran mission.
In each of these three cities, ICMA met with senior municipal government officials, representatives of the municipal crime prevention committees (MCPCs), the national and municipal police, nongovernmental staff members, and various community leaders. Before selecting two cities for the pilot, ICMA considered the following criteria:
- Ownership/Commitment: Do city officials demonstrate willingness to take ownership of the crime prevention program and resolve community problems?
- CARSI Support: Will the pilot support USAID-funded crime prevention programs/activities currently executed by CARSI (Central American Regional Security Initiative)?
- Manageability: Is it probable to see tangible results within the pilot resources and timeline?
- Sustainability: Is it likely that the program will continue after the pilot ends?
- Capacity: Is there sufficient time, skill, influence, and authority to benefit from the program?
- Scalability: Is there potential for the pilot to be replicated to address other aspects of the problem?
ICMA discovered that both La Ceiba and Choloma ranked high in these categories, and therefore, they chose these two cities for the pilot program. The mayor, vice-mayor, and other city council members in La Ceiba demonstrated strong support for citizen security and crime prevention, and the city has already taken steps to work with the MCPCs and with other CARSI implementing partners. The ICMA team determined that the pilot program would bolster political and financial resources to consolidate current programs and expand into more communities.
Community leaders in Choloma also conveyed a strong sense of support and shared their experiences working with the MCPC. The pilot program will help Choloma integrate more crime prevention strategies into city planning, encourage private sector support, and strengthen the credibility and role of the municipal government in crime prevention.
The purpose of the pilot partnerships is to elevate the profile of the municipal governments and strengthen their capacity to prevent criminal activities. The pilots will be integrated into the current CARSI program and will build a deeper relationship between local governments and communities. In addition, the program will apply the CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) methodology, which improves citizen security conditions while simultaneously addressing risks associated with climate change effects, which may enable criminal activity. CPTED encourages the incorporation of climate change adaptation principles into municipal codes, land use decisions, and public works to promote crime prevention. As local governments integrate CPTED more fully into their city development plans and municipal services, the overall resiliency of the cities will improve.
Local governments in La Ceiba and Choloma will coordinate with the Honduran Social Investment Fund and other CARSI implementing partners to identify and develop strategies to address community needs. Through CityLinks, ICMA will facilitate partnerships for both La Ceiba and Choloma by linking them with one or two U.S. cities that will provide assistance and support throughout the duration of the program.
ICMA plans to launch the pilots in July 2012 and complete them within 12 months. The program will strengthen the relationships among target communities, CARSI implementing partners, and local governments to identify, design, and implement crime prevention activities.
To learn more about CityLinks, visit the CityLinks website or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.