What is the Strong Cities Network?
The Strong Cities Network (SCN) launched in 2015 at the UN General Assembly to mount a city-led response against hate, polarisation and extremism in all its forms. We help our members partner with their communities to design and deploy local responses to these complex challenges, ensuring no city faces these threats alone.
Our network has grown to more than 140 local governments including megacities, states, counties and small municipalities, representing every major global region. While every city faces its own unique challenges and local risks, there are shared goals, tools and approaches that we can all strive towards. Through our global summits, city exchanges and regional workshops, our members build bridges, discuss innovative policy ideas and exchange good practices with counterparts from the world’s leading cities and experts in the field.
We also provide a range of in-depth models for capacity-building, interventions and youth engagement. Tailoring our existing approaches for multi-agency partnerships to new geographies, we work in close partnership with national and local governments and the communities they represent. SCN tools and policy models are used across the world, from Australia to North Macedonia, from Lebanon to the United States, and from Kenya to the United Kingdom. Many of our tools are available online via our Online Hub and we encourage you to explore our resource library, city profiles and training modules.
Led by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, an independent think tank with 15 years’ experience responding to hate, polarisation and extremism, the SCN is uniquely placed to marry cutting-edge research with locally led action. Our government partners include Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and the United States, with additional engagement supported or commissioned by individual member cities.
Why are cities important?
The risk of violent extremism – across racial, ideological, political and religious motivations – is a concern for families, communities and governments. Across the world, cities are on the frontline of building resilience to violent extremism. The SCN recognises that cities are uniquely positioned to safeguard their citizens from polarisation and radicalisation through partnerships with local communities. Mayors and municipal-level policymakers must work closely with their communities to identify and address the methods used by violent extremists to recruit, radicalise and mobilise targeted individuals.
A growing number of cities and other subnational authorities across the world have developed – or are interested in developing – local prevention and intervention programs that build social cohesion and resilience against all forms of violent extremism.
To do this, cities require a network that facilitates systematic exchange of good practice, expertise and lessons learned. The SCN fulfils this need by connecting and empowering cities through its global network, regional capacity-building, practitioner workshops and online information and training hub.
What are the SCN’s fundamental principles?
The SCN operates from the assumption that communities and local governments are both part of the solution to address violent extremism. The SCN is driven by a number of fundamental principles:
- A commitment to address violent extremism in all its forms
- A recognition that violent extremism and prevention efforts should not be associated with any particular religion, nationality or ethnic group
- A commitment to work in partnership with local communities, on an inclusive, collaborative, and non-discriminatory basis and in compliance with international human rights standards
Who can join the SCN?
The SCN has been established exclusively for policymakers and/or practitioners operating at city, municipal or subnational levels. Membership to the network is completely free of charge.
If you are interested in joining the Strong Cities Network and becoming a member of a global community of mayors, municipal-level policymakers and practitioners united in building social cohesion and community resilience to counter violent extremism in all its forms, please register to ‘Become a Strong City’. Our team will then be able to respond and advise on the formal membership application process.