Panama: Improving citizens' security in Panama -- contributing to the social construction of peace


Although Panama's rate of human development has improved, inequalities have risen and some 40% of the population now lives below the poverty line. In the first decade of the 21st century, homicide rates more than doubled, placing Panama among the countries with the highest rates of violence in the region.

This UN Joint Programme aimed to reduce violence and crime by strengthening institutional mechanisms and policies in the security sector and coordinating of relevant stakeholders (government organizations, civil society, UN agencies and other international cooperation partners) in the security and justice sectors, 

Both human rights and gender perspectives were integrated into the programme, which provided for the inclusion and participation of vulnerable groups, particularly young people.

The programme had three areas of action:
  1. Improving the availability of credible and legitimate information on the situation of violence in order to increase the capacities of government intervention. 
  2. Training for officials on conflict prevention and the control of violence, and for citizens on creating a culture of peace.
  3. Activities aimed at improving social cohesion, including reclaiming public spaces and the creation of networks of young people to carry out awareness-raising activities.
Main achievements included:
  • The availability of credible information on violence was increased by the creation of the Observatory on Citizen Security in the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama. Three local observatories were also established. Surveys were conducted on victimization and perceptions of violence and were used for the formulation of public policy, including the design of a campaign to prevent crime in the Panama City.
  • A diploma course in "Managing Public Policy for Public Safety" at the Institute of Criminology of the University of Panama, which conducted training for civil servants responsible for the safety of the National Police, as well as representatives of local governments, academics and civil society. 
  • Committees of Public Safety were established with participatory local security plans.
  • Youth networks against violence were established at the local level as key players in local security plans. Young people in these networks were trained and conducted numerous social activities on gender issues, public safety, human rights, citizen participation and strategic planning. 
  • Assessments were conducted, including a gender perspective, to determine the effectiveness of the regulations and incarceration procedures applied to juvenile offenders.
  • Networks against domestic violence were strengthened and reorganized, applying the Corregimiento de Sona model in the Arraijan, Chorrera, and San Miguelito districts.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Panama (in Spanish).



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 17 Sep 2009 - 31 Mar 2013
Net funded amount $4,000,000
Participating UN agencies UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNODC
National partners Socio Principal: Programa de Seguridad, Integral (PROSI) del Ministerio de Gobierno y Justicia (MINGOB), Otros asociados: Cámara de Comercio de Panamá, Ministerio de Educación, Ministerio de Desarrollo Social, Municipios de Chorrera, Arraiján y San Miguelito, asociaciones civiles de las tres municipalidades
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