European Cities address new Challenges in the Struggle against Racism and Discrimination
Almost five years after its initial launch in 2004, the European Coalition of Cities against Racism (ECCAR), a network of 97 cities from 20 countries, held its third General Conference in the French city of Toulouse from 19 to 20 November 2009. Representatives from over 50 cities, the Council of Europe, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and numerous civil society groups gathered to discuss ways and means to better address racism and discrimination at the local level.
Under the motto “New Challenges – New Partnerships: Shaping our Future”, almost 400 participants called for increased solidarity and exchange among all stakeholders concerned. Five working groups, one of which was organized as a youth forum, provided a platform to discuss ways and means to better address racism and discrimination at the local level, in particular with regard to participation, housing and employment – commitments which are outlined in ECCAR’s Ten-Point Plan of Action – and new obstacles arising from of the international political and economic context. As a result, the working groups formulated a series of recommendations to enable municipal authorities to better deal with these issues.
Representatives of minority groups from Madrid (Spain) and Toulouse (France) and municipal representatives from Auschwitz (Poland), Bradford (United Kingdom) and Toulouse (France) exchanged their viewpoints on the situation regarding racism and discrimination in their respective cities. They discussed concrete ways of working together and possible action to improve the local situation.
In addition, a new ECCAR Steering Committee was elected for the coming two years. It is composed as follows: Aubervilliers (France), Barcelona (Spain), Bologna (Italy), Botkyrka (Sweden), Chair (Macedonia), Gent (Belgium), Graz (Austria), Karlsruhe (Germany), Lausanne (Switzerland), Liège (Belgium), Malmö (Sweden), Nantes (France), Potsdam (Germany), Saint Petersburg (Russian Federation), Toulouse and Villeurbanne (France). Nuremberg (Germany) and UNESCO are both permanent members of the Committee. Mr Hans Hesselmann (Nuremberg) was re-elected President and the cities of Toulouse and Botkyrka entrusted with the Vice-Presidency of the network.
For more information, please contact Kornelia Guse, k.guse(at)unesco.org
Watch the video of the ECCAR Youth Forum