On 24 March the UCLG Peace Prize secretariat co-organised an online event launching a new publication, which takes a closer look at the role that local governments and its leaders can play in ensuring sustainable and peaceful development in their communities. This event was part of the HagueTalks series, which creates a stage for anyone interested in peace and justice to exchange on ideas, perspectives and concrete action plans. Given the unique value of local governments in peacebuilding and the current roaring times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was clearly time to dedicate a HagueTalks to successful peace initiatives led by local governments. As Jan van Zanen, Mayor of The Hague stressed during the opening of the event: “Fortunately, many cities today have great resilience in its people. However, there is still a very real threat of new conflicts emerging or old ones flaring up again. It is therefore a question of strengthening and supporting the position of local authorities all over the world so that they can do everything in their power to overcome avoid disaster.” The event, marking the International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims, was organised together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the City of the Hague, and hosted live from a studio at the Museon museum in the Hague.
Mayor van Zanen together with moderator Hajar Yagkoubi, Former United Nations Youth Representative for the Netherlands, asked the invited speakers about their experiences in the implementation of peace initiatives. Mayor of Palermo (Italy) Leoluca Orlando elaborated passionately on why he sees international mobility as a human right and therefore welcomed migrants in his city instead of sending them back to violent areas. His colleague, Mayor Oscar Escobar of the Colombian city of Palmira, also improved the situation in his city tremendously by implementing a strategy that reduced the homicide rates among youth. Community mobiliser Rose Mbone from Nairobi, Kenya, also works with young people, living in informal settlements. Her advice: ‘Trauma healing is the first step to a constructive and inclusive dialogue!’. The work of Croatian peace activist Katarina Kruhonja connects to this conviction, as she sees compassion, solidarity and cooperation as the corner stones of local policies in war torn areas.
Launch publication UCLG Peace Prize
To complete the celebration of local peace initiatives, the UCLG Peace Prize secretariat launched the publication Local Governments and a Culture of Peace. Central stands the UCLG Peace Prize 2019, awarded to the Municipality of Arsal (Lebanon), enriched with background stories of other impressive peace initiatives and partners from our network. May the UCLG Peace Prize be a source of inspiration for local government administrators everywhere!
Please click here to read the publication. The event can be viewed below.