First world conference about City Diplomacy

The local level is always at the forefront when it comes to deal with the consequences of violent conflict, whether it is local, national or international. Local Governments have consequently an important role to play in situations of conflict as promoters and facilitators of peace, freedom, democracy and prosperity and by doing so they contribute to the international development and peace-building agenda. Therefore, local governments are intrumental in preventing conflicts, building bridges and dialogue after conflict and promoting a peaceful environment.

In June 2008 the First World Conference on City Diplomacy was organised by the global organisation of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), as chair of the UCLG Committee on City Diplomacy. The conference resulted in adopting the Hague Agenda on City Diplomacy, which aims to highlight the role of local governments in promoting peace, dialogue and reconstruction throughout the world.

Among the agenda’s recommendations was the proposal to launch a local governements’ peace prize, to be awarded to local governments who either work to prevent or overcome conflicts in their own community, or who have helped local governments in conflict areas in their striving for peace or justice. This has taken shape in the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize, now called the UCLG Peace Prize. It is supported by the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the City of Tromso, the Province of Gipuzkoa and developed with expertise of PAX and VNG International, within the framework of the UCLG Committee on Development Cooperation and City Diplomacy.

The Peace Prize aims at creating a momentum for local governments worldwide that implement strategies for conflict prevention, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction

The Prize celebrates successful initiatives undertaken by local governments and stimulates others to follow suit.

Moreover, it aims at generating international public attention for the role local governments play in ensuring sustainable and peaceful development.

Local governments that have implemented an innovative and high impact approach towards peace-building and the creation of dialogue are eligible for nomination.

The first edition of the Peace Prize (2016) saw the nomination of the city of Kauswagan (Philippines) as the most innovative and effective initiative in the process of peace-building for moving beyond addressing symtoms of armed conflict towards a socio-economic approach that bridges peace and development efforts.