For a peaceful future of the Basque Country: Municipalities as spaces of peace and coexistence


Year: 2016

Organized by: DEMOSPAZ in collaboration with the General Secretariat for Peace and Coexistence of the Basque Government, the Human Rights and Public Powers Chair of the Universidad del País Vasco and the Madrid City Council.


Cities are spaces of coexistence where all kind of social processes are developed and where local authorities have growing responsibilities and capacity for action. The city represents a true “microcosm” with opportunities, tensions, demands and contradictions.
The city and the municipality, as a built space, contain and express the social relationships that are created and transformed over time, generating opportunities or risks for the people who live in it. Cities concentrate and express the diversity of a cultural and heterogeneous world that is increasingly global.
Municipalities have a long history of international commitment to the culture of peace and human rights, given that the consequences of conflicts are directly suffered at the local level. But also, because their experience from the local level makes them an indispensable actor to make proposals and carry out initiatives in favour of peace at the local and international level.

The city councils are the closest institutions to the citizenship and those that meet the most immediate needs of people and guarantee their well-being. Therefore, the municipalities must face adequately issues related to violence and conflict management problems. Municipalities must promote the recognition of citizenship rights for all; recognize and offer participation channels in the management of local politics; respond to the various forms of violence, establishing platforms for the transformation of conflicts and mediation to break the cycle of violence; they must manage social, cultural and identity diversity; and seek the always difficult balance between diversity and equality, from respect and tolerance, without allowing the impairment of rights and opportunities for certain groups. These actions are not, of course, the exclusive responsibility of local authorities, but they can play an essential role in laying the foundations for a State policy committed to peace and human rights. This has been recognized by UNESCO, as well as by the United Nations Conference of Habitat III and the Sustainable Development Goals, among other initiatives.

The purpose of this project is to explore and analyse the role played by local authorities in favour of dialogue, coexistence and the construction of peace.


  • Analyse and debate on the role played by local authorities in the promotion of peace, coexistence and the peaceful resolution of conflicts.
  • Identify the manifested violence in the local sphere and those elements that promote and inhibit coexistence in the municipalities and cities.
  • Analyse the role played by culture, education, and citizen participation in the configuration of violence-free cities.
  • Know other experiences and initiatives that have facilitated coexistence in other environments and explore how they can serve the current context in Euskadi.


Organization of an international seminar in Madrid and Bilbao.


  1. Documents for the debate.
  2. Videos and audiovisual material.
  3. Final report and report of the conference.


Further information