Consultant to promote the principle of Cities and Territories of Peace and the process in global dialogues on territorial and urban violence
In the resolutions adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (70/262) and the Security Council (2282/2016), peacekeeping is referred to as “an objective and a process to build a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account." This term also encompasses the concept of good governance, which must be considered in all its dimensions, including local. For UNDP, effective local governance implies "institutions, systems and subnational processes that provide services to citizens and through which citizens articulate their interests and needs, mediate their differences, and exercise their rights and obligations." It is key to reduce inequalities, improve relationships between people and institutions, and promote peace in rural and urban settings.
Transforming the cultures of violence into cultures of peace is a great challenge for all the actors that coexist in the urban network. In particular, civil society and public authorities at the local level have a variety of actions and resources to eradicate violence; from the promotion of policies and initiatives that reduce the legitimation and the use of violence or the promotion of the prevention and peaceful resolution of conflicts to fostering and strengthening the peace heritage of the cities. All this contributes directly to the improvement of living conditions in cities. A culture of peace could and should take place everywhere, contributing to the specific implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11 and 16 and, in a transversal way, to the entire 2030 Agenda.
Cities are the main place of interaction between people, groups, companies, ideas, and values, also constituting scenarios where inequalities are generated, and different types of violence proliferate. According to the World Forum on Urban Violence, these many faces of violence are grouped into three interrelated categories:
- Cultural violence, which deals with beliefs, ideologies or symbolic universes and justifies structural and direct violence.
- Structural violence creates social imbalance, which in turn leads to poverty and social exclusion for individuals, groups, and even districts.
- Direct violence, from violence against women to organized crime.
In this context, the two editions of the World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace held in Madrid (2017 and 2018), within the framework of localizing the SDGs, implied the creation of a meeting space for local leaders, international organizations and networks, the academic world, NGOs, and civil society to contribute to global and international dialogues on territorial and urban violence; a forum to be understood as a process, where a permanent and participatory debate takes place within the promotion of critical reflection, as well as the construction of common solutions that fosters the development of urban environments capable of eliminating expressions of violence from multi-stakeholder and multi-level approaches.
In December 2017, the Ayuntamiento de Madrid, and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) signed an agreement for the development of the Project Localización de los Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible: promoviendo ciudades inclusivas y de paz en Iberoamérica. Through the exchange of experiences between four cities on three different continents, the cities of Madrid, Praia, Montevideo and Sucre have worked together to promote a participatory and inclusive model of local government that leaves no one behind.
UNDP (ART Initiatives and Country Offices in Bolivia, Cabo Verde and Uruguay) in cooperation with the Ayuntamiento de Madrid, the Municipalidad de Montevideo, the Gobierno Autónomo Municipal de Sucre (GAMS) and the Câmara Municipal da Praia, resulted inter alia in the implementation of participatory Diagnostics on Urban Violence and Heritage of Peace in the cities of Montevideo, Sucre and Praia, following the experience of Madrid, and supporting the organization of the Second World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace (Madrid, 2018), and the promotion of citizen participation in the process of the SDGs localization in cities and territories based on the capitalization of the CONSUL digital tool, designing a platform for citizens to participate in the design and implementation of the SDGs in their territory through the development of proposals, debates and knowledge sharing on municipal actions.
Building upon these results, the alliance between the UNDP and the Extremadura Agency for International Development Cooperation (AEXCID) is developing, within the specific framework of the project “Territorios - Ciudades de Paz y Convivencia: Promoviendo los ODS para fortalecer las realidades locales”, a joint work in Africa and / or Latin America and the Caribbean to promote cities and territories of peace through the development and application of tools that promote the eradication of violence, coexistence, the construction of peace and the preservation and enhancement of the heritage of peace and linking the Extremadura region to international forums on urban and territorial violence, all in the context of localizing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.