Coalition of Latin American and Caribbean Cities against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia

Within the framework of UNESCO’s initiative to create an International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities, the regional Latin American and Caribbean coalition was launched on 25-27 October 2006 in Montevideo, Uruguay, on the occasion of the Forum of Ibero-American mayors held in Montevideo just ahead of the Summit of Heads of State and Government.

Montevideo has taken on the role of “lead city” for the region and has since the beginning of this initiative played an active part in its coordination and organization.

From 21 to 23 June 2006, the city of Montevideo hosted the meeting of experts that drew up a Ten-Point Plan of Action [PDF, 120 KB, also available in Spanish] reflecting the specificities and priorities of Latin America and the Caribbean. Mayors and representatives of a large number of Latin American and Caribbean cities have approved the Plan, thus committing themselves to adapt existing policies or introducing new municipal normative action that contributes to the struggle against racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination in their municipalities.

Among priorities are the fight against racism, xenophobia, ethnical and religious intolerance, the persisting legacy of colonization, and discriminatory attitudes towards street children.

The first General Conference of the Coalition of Latin American and Caribbean Cities against Racism, Discrimination and Xenophobia was held from 24 to 25 September 2007 in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Originally it was planned that the entire meeting would be a closed working session of local authorities representatives. Given the large interest it awakened, the City of Montevideo and UNESCO decided, in addition to the working sessions, to add a series of opening and closing ceremonial sessions, and also a series of panels and lectures on issues related to racism, discrimination and general human rights issues. International and national academic and civil society experts and representatives of municipalities from the region provided valuable contributions to the event.

The Conference was divided into two days. The first day was of a “ceremonial” nature. The second was made up of two components: an internal working “technical” session for members of the Coalition, and a larger thematic event open to the public.

The essential objectives were met, notably the adoption of all internal matters of the Coalition, the election of its Executive Committee and its Scientific Committee. The commitment of everyone to make the Coalition a reality and to have it work for the active struggle against racism and discrimination was strengthened.

All in all, in between 150 and 200 persons participated in the event. More than 30 cities out of the 60 that were present in 2006 at the Creation of the Coalition also participated . In addition, the city of Moron (Argentina), which holds the presidency of the “Mercociudades” network, came with a mandate to represent the 150 cities that are members. Thus, it ensured a significant proxy vote.

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