The European Coalition of Cities against Racism is an initiative launched by UNESCO in 2004 to establish a network of cities interested in sharing experiences in order to improve their policies to fight racism, discrimination and xenophobia. On December 10th 2004, the “European Coalition of Cities against Racism” was established in Nuremberg, and a “Ten-Point-Plan of Action” was adopted. In order to take into account the special conditions and priorities of different regions of the world, further regional coalitions have been established.
The Club de Madrid Shared Societies Project has decided that involvement with local activities has a number of advantages; promoting social inclusion at this level may be possible when national governments are not ready to engage with issues of inter-group at the level of national policy. To develop this area of work, the Club de Madrid has developed a publication to emphasize the role of the Shared Societies at the local level with dedicated materials based on the existing Shared Societies Project documents and made specifically relevant to local contexts. The English and French version of the publication, “Local Government for Shared Societies”, was disseminated during the Conference in Karlsruhe.
Benedetto Zacchiroli, ECCAR-President and representative of the City of Bologna, gave the keynote speech in this event focused in the challenges of the recent refugee’s crisis in Europe. He stressed that “the Mayors of European cities are in the forefront of receiving the requests of help of immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, of their acceptance and their integration.”
Turning to the issue of migration, Frank Mentrup, Mayor of Karlsruhe, stressed that “the exchange of best practices is the best tool to combat racism and discrimination.” The Mayor also explained how the City of Karlsruhe is undertaking special measures to promote a culture of anti-racism through cooperation with civil society organizations and actions in public spaces of the city.
Club de Madrid staff officer and representatives of the ECCAR Secretariat and UNESCO held bilateral meetings in order to discuss further cooperation on initiatives to promote social inclusion and diversity at the local level.