Recording of DeLoG's Webinar on "Local Authorities and the Challenge of Urban Violence" Now Available

On the 14th of May 2020 from 03:00 pm to 04:30 pm CEST, the DeLoG Secretariat and VNG International conducted a webinar on pathways for local authorities to deal with protracted urban violence. The inputs for the webinar were given by Juma Assiago, Coordinator for the Safer Cities Programme at UN-HABITAT, Óscar Escobar, Mayor of the City of Palmira in Colombia, Amita Gill, Local Governance Specialist with UNDP, Carlos Gimenez Romero, Director of DEMOSPAZ and Pilar Díaz, Deputy Councillor for International Relations at the Barcelona Provincial Council. Overall the webinar was attended by 142 participants from around 36 countries. The recording of the webinar is now available here.

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You can find the presentation of the webinar here.

 

Background:

For decades violent crime has influenced the provision of urban services and social infrastructure and presented local authorities with great challenges. The goal of this webinar was to provide local authorities with a platform to share experiences and engage in dialogue on how local authorities have dealt with the challenge of protracted urban violence in fragile urban contexts in the past.

Throughout the webinar the six invited speakers (see below) took stock of a number of different projects from the field and discussed policy recommendations for local authorities. Among others, speakers from the DeLoG Network, the UCLG Peace Prize, the Peace in Our Cities Campaign, the Safer Cities Programme and the World Forum on Cities and Territories for Peace were invited to share their perspectives.

During the webinar the 142 participants had the opportunity to ask questions and provide live feedback through polls. As a follow up, the participants were given the opportunity to share their unanswered questions to receive written replies by the speakers.

The webinar was jointly organised by the DeLoG Secretariat and VNG International.

 

Main Speakers and Inputs:

  • Daan Stelder, Project Manager at VNG International, gave an introduction to the background and rationale of the webinar.

  • Juma Assiago, Coordinator for the Safer Cities Programme at UN-HABITAT, shared his lessons learned on how local authorities can make or break the cycle of violence, building on 25 years of experience with the Safer Cities Programme.

  • Óscar Escobar, Mayor of the City of Palmira in Colombia shared how the city’s authorities are working together to counter violence. Ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in the world in the past, the local authorities in Palmira have developed creative and effective initiatives to curb the violence, and the city has joined the Peace in Our Cities campaign. In the past Mr Escobar, the youngest Mayor of Palmira to date, has worked for Senator Clauda López as an economic advisor. In addition, he is the co-author of the book “Goodbye to the FARC! And now what?”.

  • Amita Gill, Local Governance Specialist with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) presented UNDP's and the City of Madrid's urban violence diagnosis programme. This programme has been implemented in La Paz, Montevideo and Praia. Amy Gill holds a master of science (MSc) in Violence, Conflict and Development and has more than 13 years of professional experience in the field.

  • Dr. Diana Alarcón, Chief Advisor and International Affairs Coordinator of the City of Mexico presented the World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace, which will be hosted in this city in 2021, and is being co-organised by several cities, associations of local governments (UCLG, Metropolis, UCCI), and UN Agencies, with UNDP as part of the technical secretariat.

  • Carlos Gimenez Romero, Director of the Institute of Human Rights, Democracy, Culture of Peace and Non-Violence (DEMOSPAZ) presented DEMOSPAZ methodology to conduct a participatory diagnosis on urban violence and peace. The methodology was originally applied in the city of Madrid, with the support of UNDP, and has been adapted to and shared with other cities (Sucre, Bolivia; Montevideo, Uruguay; and Praia, Cape Verde).

  • Pilar Díaz, Deputy Councillor for International Relations at the Barcelona Provincial Council and Mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat since 2006, elaborated on the importance of fostering social coexistence of local authorities in light of promoting a culture of peace. The Provincial Council of Barcelona is a member of the technical secretariat of the World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace, as well as a core partner of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Peace Prize, which Mrs Diaz presented in short.