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City-Led Incident Response

City-Led Incident Response

The motive behind hate- and extremist-driven attacks is not just to inflict violence, but to create societal fear and division. In the immediate aftermath of an attack, national authorities take the lead in emergency responses, reinforcing public safety and launching criminal investigations. However, as the days, weeks and months progress, the impact of an attack can run deep, causing untold social consequences across communities and geographic borders. Communities, no matter how resilient, need strong local leadership and a coordinated, sustained, multi-agency response to help them heal, recover and rebuild.

Transatlantic Dialogue on City-Led Response

In May 2023, more than 80 mayors, national and local officials, law enforcement, academics, practitioners, and civil society from across Europe and North America gathered in Oslo for a workshop on Responding to Extremist and Hate-Motivated Violence: Building Strong and Resilient Communities. Hosted by Governing Mayor Raymond Johansen, the workshop was an opportunity to explore how city-led prevention measures, such as those aimed building social cohesion, resilience and trust-based relationships with key community stakeholders, can not only support healing for those affected, but also mitigate the risk that an attack can create new or exacerbate existing social, political or communal divides.

Response Toolkit

This Strong Cities Toolkit on Responding to a Terror Attack offers a guide for local governments in formulating a sensitive and effective response in the wake of a terror attack. Mayors and locally elected officials have a critical role to play in stabilising, reassuring and tackling social division in the aftermath of an attack or in a heightened threat environment.

The Toolkit offers mayors, their cabinets and city officials a framework to develop and deliver activities in the wake of such an event in a way that complements, rather than duplicates, national government action. The toolkit draws on a series of interviews with city members from across the Strong Cities membership, desk-based research and colleagues from the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD). Strong Cities will be released an update in September 2023.


The workshop included a tour of the island of Utøya, one of two sites attacked by a Norwegian national on 22 July 2011, killing a total of 77 people. Participants had the opportunity to learn about the extensive consultation process with families of victims and survivors that reimagined Utøya as both a memorial and a center for learning, democracy promotion and youth engagement.

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Strong Cities membership is open to local authorities at the city, municipal or other subnational level. Membership is free of charge.