The Forum is a continuous space for dialogue and collaborative work among actors who share the commitment to provide public policy solutions that generate and influence institutional and social tools to contribute to the construction of sustained peace in cities, territories and their communities.
This scenario, of worldwide convocation, encourages the meeting of local governments, international organizations, civil society and academia in a global, horizontal and permanent reflection, oriented to the collective search for the realization of peace not only as a right. It is also a condition for achieving social progress towards overcoming poverty, inequality, exclusion and discrimination. Peace is thus the condition for equitable development based on social and environmental justice.
The Cities and Territories of Peace Forum, as a space for dialogue between different actors worldwide, seeks to contribute to the construction of peace as a constituent part of sustainable development, within the framework of the aspirations embodied in the 2030 Agenda, approved in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly.
In Agenda 2023, the international community recognizes that urban development and peace are two of the elements that condition the sustainability of our societies. For this reason, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG 11), and “Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies” (SDG 16).
The promotion of sustainable development is also emphasized by the New Urban Agenda (NUA) adopted at the 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III). In the same year, the UN General Assembly and Security Council adopted the “Sustainable Peace” resolution as an effort to jointly prevent conflicts around the world, recognizing that there can be no sustainable development without peace, and no peace without sustainable development.
Peace must then be understood as a goal and a process to build a common vision of an equal and inclusive society, preventing the outbreak, escalation, continuation and recurrence of conflict. This is a shared responsibility between governments and other actors at the local and national levels, including civil society.
From a perspective of gender and the right to the city, the third version of the Forum focused on the recognition of existing inequalities within communities in order to promote the protection of the fundamental rights of those who live and travel in the city. In this sense, a call was made to sign peace among people, with the planet, and with the renewal of governance.
The second edition of the Forum recommended conceiving, structuring and organizing Madrid’s municipal policy for peace and non-violence based on the following pillars: consolidation of a heritage of peace; elimination or mitigation of violence; promotion of the city as a reference for peace; and prevention of further and new violence. In addition, it suggests that these pillars, in turn, be articulated with four strategic lines: eradication and prevention of violence; culture of peace based on mediation; social justice; and citizen participation in peacebuilding.
The Madrid Commitment (a document that emerged from the first version of the Forum) reaffirms the call to state governments to create plans for the prevention of violence; commits to the promotion of social inclusion and care policies; seeks to promote programs of education for peace, coexistence, respect, diversity, and mediation instruments, all to overcome the securitarian and punitive approach; and recognizes the Right to the City based on a Human Rights and sustainability approach.