On Thursday 19 November, the City of Bogotá (Colombia) hosted a conference to present the first edition of the UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize, a triennial award for (a coalition of) local governments that have implemented initiatives in conflict prevention, conflict resolution or peace building, that are proven to have had a significant positive impact. The Peace Prize was presented by the organizing partners (the City of Bogotá, VNG International, Province of Barcelona and PAX) to the media, international organizations, embassies and other interested parties.
The UCLG City of Bogotá Peace Prize aims to contribute to full acknowledgement of the important but often overlooked role of local governments as peace building actors, thus creating a more effective approach to conflict resolution. In situations of conflict, local governments have an important role to play: they have to ensure that service delivery towards citizens is in place despite the difficult context, and they need to promote and facilitate peace as an alternative to violent conflicts.
At the conference, 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.
First award ceremony at UCLG Congress in Bogotá in October 2016
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). Nominated cases for the Peace Prize will be assessed by a high level expert jury. The winning local government will be awarded a modest prize package worth €20.000, aimed at strengthening its peace projects and facilitating learning and exchange with other local governments that are facing similar challenges.
Local governments can from now on apply for the prize through the website: www.peaceprize.uclg.org
Background of the UCLG Peace Prize
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.The Prize is supported by the City of Bogotá, the Provincial Council of Barcelona, the Dutch NGO PAX and VNG International, the international cooperation agency of the VNG.