In recent years, the international community has recognized that the current trend of urban development and violence are two of the elements that condition the sustainability of our societies.
The 2030 Agenda, adopted in 2015, includes among its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) "Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable" (SDG11) and "Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies" (SDG 16). For its part, the New Urban Agenda, adopted in 2016, reinforces the idea of sustainable urban development as one of the major
challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.
Cities are part of urban-rural territories with their own identity, with their own ways of relating with each other, and with very diverse dynamics of coexistence and conflict. Within cities, cultural, structural and direct violence coexist. For this reason, transforming cities into spaces for coexistence requires political will, adequate diagnostics and alliances between public and private organizations and citizens.
In April 2017, the first World Forum on Urban Violence and Education for Coexistence and Peace was held in the city of Madrid, under the leadership of the mayors of Madrid, Paris and Barcelona. This initiative brought together more than 3,500 people from over 100 countries, including representatives of hundreds of cities, social organizations and international bodies, and was the framework for the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Executive Bureau.
The objective of these first two editions was to share the analysis of the multiple experiences of violence and to present the multiple experiences of building coexistence and peace (education, prevention, punishment, citizen participation, culture and sport, social justice, recovery of
public spaces, legislation, influence on major policies...).
“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”.