The municipality of Palmira in Colombia has been crowned winner of the UCLG Peace Prize 2022 during the UCLG World Congress in Daejeon, Korea.
The UCLG Peace Prize is an award that celebrates local governments that implement successful initiatives for peace in their communities. It generates more attention for this important role of local governments and provides a stage to strong examples, in order to inspire other local governments to start peace projects of their own.
Palmira implemented a comprehensive approach to violence prevention focused on working with youth by prioritising resources through the PAZOS project. This is a strategy of comprehensive violence prevention, which prioritizes resources for youngsters who are the most susceptible to gang violence. In doing so, it moves away from military approaches that have dominated Colombia’s response to violence. When receiving the award. Palmira’s mayor Oscar Escobar emphasized that the prize of €20,000 will help in showing their results, such as the lowest homicide rate in the last 17 years in Palmira, and inspiring others as an example of social innovation in conflict resolution.
Palmira has been selected out of a wealth of strong applicants from all continents. Five finalists had been selected and each of these was represented at the UCLG Congress. The jury emphasized that all these five finalists have the quality of a winner and deserve recognition and support. The other finalists are the following:
- Mersin, Türkiye: following a huge influx of refugees, the municipality established a Local Cohesion Centre to build peace, increase awareness of co-existence, and prevent potential conflicts between the host community and refugees through e.g. intercultural learning and peace education.
- Mishiha, Burundi: through Growing Peace Clubs in schools, Mishiha pursues a gradual and radical transformation of young people into responsible and trustworthy members of society, which will lay solid foundations for peace.
- Monterrey, Mexico: establishment of Comprehensive Care Centres for Adolescents with the aim to reduce youth recruitment by criminal groups. The centres help teenagers in dealing with trauma by offering psycho-social support and socio-productive workshops.
- Recife, Brazil: established community peace centers, COMPAZ, aim to promote citizenship, human rights and a culture of peace in the outskirts and slums of Recife. Beyond that, COMPAZ partners with the government to make sure citizens are guaranteed access to justice.
More information about the UCLG Peace Prize can be found on its website.