Paris, September 2017 – What concerted actions can cities take to prevent violent radicalisation? How to involve civil society? These are the main questions to be discussed at the “Euro-Mediterranean conference of cities on the prevention of radicalisation” co-organised by the Euromed network of cities, Efus, the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, on 29-30 September, in Nice.
As both primary targets and breeding grounds of radicalisation, the cities of the Mediterranean area are not only faced with violent extremism but also its indirect consequences, such as a drop in tourism, a key sector for local economies, or in foreign investment.
Often the victim of violence, the Mediterranean civil society, and in particular the young, can contribute to preventing and fighting against radicalisation, thus contributing to a positive social transformation based on sustainable development and the promotion of tolerance, cultural diversity and mutual understanding.
In light of these observations, the Euromed network of cities “decided to take the leadership in organising an initiative by cities for the prevention of radicalisation in Europe and the Mediterranean area”.
The Euro-Mediterranean Nice conference is the first step of this initiative. Co-organised with Efus, the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, it is also supported by European and international institutions. It will be preceded by a citizen debate, “Europe: Stronger Together Against Terrorism?”, in the presence of Sir Julian King, European Commissioner for the Security Union.
An official document titled the “Declaration of Nice”, to be adopted at the end of the conference, will list a number of priorities and actions aimed at countering radicalisation in cities on both sides of the Mediterranean and protecting youth.
The key role of local authorities in the prevention of radicalisation
The Euro-Mediterranean initiative on the prevention of radicalisation echoes the “Alliance of European Cities Against Violent Extremism” created by the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Efus, and the cities of Rotterdam (Netherlands) and Aarhus (Denmark) following the Aarhus conference, in November 2015. In 2016, the Alliance gathered over 130 participants from 28 countries, including 55 mayors and deputy mayors from European cities, at the Rotterdam Summit of Mayors.
These initiatives show European local authorities are increasingly interesting in taking coordinated action, whether at the European level or, as is the case with this latest project, the Euro-Mediterranean level. Efus welcomes this development, as it is convinced that local authorities have a key role to play in the prevention of radicalisation and the drafting and implementation of prevention policies and programmes.
The Euromed network
Gathering over 100 cities, the Euromed network was created by the city of Bordeaux in 2000 with the objective of “starting a concrete and interactive dialogue between the Northern, Southern and Eastern Rim of the Mediterranean with the aim of initiating concrete projects, actions and programmes between its members.”
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