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Fourth Global Summit — Enhancing Global-Local Cooperation in Protecting Soft Targets and Engaging Local Communities

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On 19 – 21 September 2023, Strong Cities Network held its Fourth Global Summit in New York City, which brought together over 240 participants, including city leaders and practitioners representing more than 115 cities from 50 countries globally. The Summit featured 11 events and provided city officials from diverse contexts the opportunity to share and learn from promising practices for city-led prevention of hate, polarisation and extremism. A full overview of the Summit is available here.

As part of this programme, Strong Cities partnered with the UN Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate (UNCTED) and New York University’s (NYU) Center for Global Affairs to organise a workshop on ‘Enhancing Global-Local Cooperation in Protecting Soft Targets and Engaging Local Communities’. This brought together more than 40 local government officials, frontline practitioners and representatives from UNCTED and other UN agencies to strengthen understanding amongst local governments of relevant UN frameworks, as well as showcasing for multilateral representatives existing city-led efforts to protect soft targets and engage communities, including those that are ‘hard to reach’.

The workshop was inspired by feedback from local authorities that Strong Cities has engaged over the course of the past few years, which showed that cities have had little direct interaction with the UN. This is despite the increased recognition amongst the UN and other multilateral partners of the vital role that local actors play in addressing threats of hate and extremism. At the outset of the workshop, UN and city representatives agreed that mayors and local governments are crucial actors in operationalising a whole-of-society approach to prevention that is globally recognised as good practice, and that they can help facilitate on-the-ground implementation of counter-terrorism and preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE) measures the UN Security Council and the UN more broadly has adopted over the past two decades. David Scharia, Chief of Branch at UNCTED, also emphasised the role of mayors and local governments more broadly in post-attack response, particularly in mitigating the long-term social consequences of terrorist and/or extremist violence.


Event Report