Conflict, peacebuilding, and humanitarian aid: The perspective of local authorities

Image: Bill Munsie

Understanding how local authorities create space for dialogue and cooperation during times of conflict.

On 1 April 2022 ACCORD’s Executive Director, Dr Vasu Gounden moderated a panel discussion titled ‘Peacebuilding today: A vision from key partners’ at the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Municipal Peace Talks. These talks were held to promote local approaches to multilateral peacebuilding, focussing on how cities can respond to humanitarian emergencies, and how local governments can maintain and promote dialogue at local and regional levels.

As cities become ever more burdened by conflict and insecurity, the need for cooperation and collaboration between local governments becomes ever more pressing. A major theme that emerged from the session was that local authorities can initiate fast and effective humanitarian responses, and maintain multilateral relations between countries, even when state-level cooperation breaks down. Cities and local governments, therefore, can play a crucial role in keeping intra-state and inter-state channels of communication open in times of conflict, and can create the space for both constructive dialogue and humanitarian aid.

As a global umbrella organisation for local and regional authorities, UCLG is uniquely positioned to help foster this cooperation between cities and local governments. In this regard, ACCORD and UCLG will continue to collaborate on peacebuilding and conflict transformation at the local level. ACCORD will attend the UCLG Africa’s Africities summit in May 2022, and host a seminar entitled ‘Responding to Urban Conflict: Early Warning and Conflict Prevention’ during the summit. This seminar discussion will further unpack some of the themes raised at the Municipal Peace Talks, as well as explore the unique challenges faced by African cities and rapidly urbanising populations. 

Article by:

Adam Randera
Programme Officer in the Operations Division
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