Rio de Janeiro Reinforces Security for Rio+20 UN Summit
By Dialogo May 21, 2012
The Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro will be placed on maximum alert in order to guarantee the security of the Rio+20 UN summit on sustainable development in June, and the security arrangements will serve as a trial run for future events, such as the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games.
“What we don’t want is for something to happen that would compromise Rio’s image (…) With Rio+20, we’re going to practice for 2013,” when the Confederations Cup will be held, as well as for 2014 and 2016, the undersecretary of security for Rio state, Roberto Alzir, declared at a press conference.
According to Alzir, the expulsion of drug traffickers from several shantytowns in Rio’s most touristed area, begun in 2008, and the recovery of those territories by the police have made the city much safer than in 1992, during the UN Earth Summit.
“In 1992, there were 64.7 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in the city, and in 2011, we were at 24.1,” a rate that continues to fall, Alzir affirmed.
Preparing the city to be “safe” for Rio+20 required close collaboration between the civilian and military police forces, an unprecedented occurrence, he specified. During the event, the number of police on the streets will double, with 3,000 additional personnel a day, he indicated.
One of the goals is to reach “appropriate crime rates” in 2014, meaning under 10 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants, according to Alzir.
Rio+20 will be the UN’s fourth major conference on sustainable development since 1972. Around 100 heads of state and government and around 50,000 people, including businesspeople and representatives of various social movements, will participate.
The official summit will take place from June 20 to 22, but negotiators working on the summit’s final text, businesspeople, and activists will gather starting on June 13.