On November 19th the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize for Local Governments has been presented in Bogotá (Colombia) by the organizing partners (the City of Bogotá, the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the Dutch NGO PAX and VNG International, the international cooperation agency of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities).
The aim of the Prize is to raise international awareness of the important role that local governments play in conflict areas.
In times of conflict, local governments are faced with multiple challenges. The role of local governments in conflict prevention and resolution is generally overlooked. Their needs have to be addressed and their successes in this field need to be acknowledged.
Presentation of the Prize
During the presentation of 19 November, Gustavo Torres, director of international relations of the City of Bogotá, formally announced that the first award ceremony will take place during the UCLG Congress, which will be held from 12 to 15 October 2016 in Bogotá (Colombia).
The aim of the Peace Prize
The aims of the Prize were explained by Renske Steenbergen, from VNG International:
- To create a momentum and draw international public attention towards local governments who implement strategies for conflict prevention, peace-building and post-conflict reconstruction;
- To contribute to full acknowledgement of local governments as peace building actors, thus creating a more effective approach to conflict resolution, and
- To promote the development of innovative initiatives of local governments to foster peace.
Ana Teresa Bernal, High Commissioner for Human Rights and Victims of the City of Bogotá explained the importance of the Prize in the Colombian context, in light of the ongoing peace process and the particular importance for the city of Bogotá where many projects are implemented to ensure prevention of conflict and remembering of victims.
One of the projects, Colectivo Alma Real, that works in the neighbourhood of San Cristobal for the prevention of conflict, through cultural activities with youngsters, was present in the meeting and demonstrated their graffiti art and raps.
The ceremony closed with the peace flame, a symbolic act of the City of Bogotá, that was lit by Jorge Rojas, secretary for social integration of the City of Bogotá.
Local governments can from now on apply for the prize through the website:peaceprize.uclg.org
In 2008, the UCLG Committee on City Diplomacy, chaired by the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), organized the First World Conference on City Diplomacy in the Hague. This event recommended to launch a local government peace prize. This prize has taken shape in the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize.
Mr. Dr. Ton Rombouts, Mayor of ’s-Hertogenbosch, Vice-Chair of the Committee on international affairs of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG), presents the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize.