Approach of the World Forum

In 2016, the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council adopted the resolution titled “Sustainable Peace”, with a new approach that aims to significantly strengthen the international effort to prevent, work together and unite efforts in the face of the wave of conflicts that are developing around the world.

The concept was inscribed under the framework of the 2030 Agenda, and was endorsed by all 17 of the SDGs. The resolution recognizes that there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development. Furthermore, it contains a shared, people-centred results framework, covering the nexus between peace-building, development and humanitarian aid, which can be used to strengthen the sustainable peace approach and align it with the broader agenda of the SDGs.

Peace should be understood broadly as an objective and a process for building a common vision of a society, ensuring that the needs of all segments of the population are taken into account, and encompassing activities aimed at preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict. This is a shared task and responsibility of governments and all other local and national stakeholders, including civil society.

The concept of “sustainable peace”, on the other hand, is strongly related to good governance. Ensuring effective local governance is key to reducing inequalities, improving relations between people and public institutions and promoting peace in rural and urban environments.

As a result of the first two editions of the Forum held in 2017 and 2018, a public agenda was produced to facilitate the construction of the cities of coexistence and peace approach. This agenda, which can be consulted here, has sought to implement public policies and territorial alliances to save lives and make our cities homes to be happy, contemplating measures such as:

  • Fight against interpersonal violence;
  • Defending the city against war;
  • Preventing and combating violent extremism;
  • Combating racism, xenophobia and other related forms of intolerance;
  • Incorporating the reality of migration;
  • Fighting against organized crime;
  • Preventing and combating corruption;
  • Fighting violence against women;
  • Guaranteeing the right to the city.

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COVID 19 and its impact on the Forum

The pandemic caused by COVID 19 has shown that vulnerability can encompass humanity as a whole, whether due to natural or social causes. The fourfold crisis that this pandemic has caused (health, social, economic, political) also shows the need to place greater value on the culture of the commons, coexistence, policies of care, the circular economy, sustainability, and balance with nature.

The impact of the pandemic and the response to it shows that the poorest and most vulnerable people are the most affected. With the pandemic, fear and xenophobia have spread, borders have been closed and the lives of migrants and refugees have become even more fragile. Solidarity, as a value that is reinforced in the face of crises, competes strongly with stories of hatred. Children face the serious problem of disruption in education due to the effects of confinement. Violence against women increases in the face of the need for forced coexistence.

The increase in the use of social networks also brings an increase in harassment, in the same vein as the growth of fake news is growing. Extremists, now confined, threaten to return to the streets with greater aggression. The social and economic impact of the crisis doubles the number of people in a position of extreme hunger and acute food insecurity (together, more than a billion), and significant pockets of the population in poverty are growing. The same can also lead to disenchantment and despair, if there are no coherent protection policies, generating new waves of social violence.

In the policy sphere, the pandemic, still alive, generates uncertainty about the future role of states, finances, investment priorities, public services. The strengthening of representative and participatory democracies or, on the contrary, of authoritarianisms.

The concept of ‘national security’ must be brought closer to that of ‘human security’. Investment in armaments and security technology must leave space, and the pandemic shows this, to investments in innovation for science and health. The coexistence between global governance and local governance becomes more important.

In short, this global crisis, generated by a new virus, means a global change in many spheres of life. It represents a danger for coexistence and peace, as well as an opportunity to build a better, healthier, fairer way of living. For this reason, and for much more, the Forum takes on greater importance in this context.

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Heading to the third edition: Ciudad de México

The third edition of the World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace aims to give continuity to the previous forums by providing important innovations.

One of the objectives of the Government of Ciudad de México, led by Dr. Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, is to contribute to the enjoyment of fundamental rights, access to justice and a life of dignity and peace for the people who live and move in the city. In this sense, the spirit that guides and from which we seek to add to the meeting is to transform cities into inclusive, safe, sustainable, plural and prosperous places.

Walking towards this vision, considering the impact of the global pandemic, and conjugating the collective reflection with the members of the IOC, it has been proposed that the third edition shifts its focus and reflects on the axis of Cities and Territories of Peace. That is why the discursive narrative of this meeting will revolve around the positive work of peace building, without leaving aside the importance of naming the violence and the educational processes from which strategies of community resilience are generated that contribute to the creation of other possible scenarios: the cities and territories of peace.

For this 3rd World Forum on Cities and Territories of Peace, it is significant to take up again the positive conception of this concept that the Spanish Association for Peace Research (AIPAZ) proposes from a global and multidisciplinary perspective:

“the positive conception of peace is to be understood not only as the absence of warlike conflicts, but also as the presence of social justice, sustainable development, the democratic exercise of citizenship, fulfilment of human rights within and between states and, therefore, opposed to any type of violence”. (AIPAZ, 2020).

Hosting this Forum in Ciudad de México is therefore in line with the priorities of the Programme for Government of the City 2019-2024 and represents an opportunity both to structure dialogue and cooperation between public, social and private actors in the construction of a culture of coexistence and peace, and to strengthen public policy on human rights.

At the same time, hosting the Forum in Ciudad de México will allow the event to be projected to the reality of Latin American countries, where the gaps between wealth and poverty coexist with social tensions and interpersonal, structural and cultural violence of various kinds.

It will also be an objective of this third edition to consolidate the roadmap of the living process that goes beyond world events, fostering initiatives of:

  • Exchange of experiences;
  • Thematic and regional forums;
  • Advocacy campaigns and promotion of values;
  • Knowledge management initiatives: training, research, dissemination;
  • Instruments of participation and communication.

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