Part of a CoR initiative to encourage younger Libyans to develop post conflict, community-building projects in their home cities.
Members of the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) were recently nominated to share experience of peace-building on the island of Ireland with almost 200 young leaders from across the lines of conflict in the North African state.
The four-day event, held in Tunis (2 - 5 April) is one of three workshops on peace-building which are the result of a two-year effort by the CoR to establish cooperation between Libyan cities and European cities and regions, and to pool international expertise, experience and good will to help provide crucial public services in Libyan cities as well as make economic ties.
Arnold Hatch, NILGA President and Committee of the Regions Member said. "Hope - that is the principal message from the island of Ireland. Decades of conflict can be overcome. It is hard work. But the hard work that brings peace is also work that makes our communities stronger and that makes life better for young people. Our communities are sustainable when civil society is strong, when there are sports clubs, youth clubs and cultural organisations that reach young people, when they have an opportunity to learn, develop their skills, gain experience, are recognised as enterprising and are vital to shaping the cities and regions of tomorrow."
The participants, who are aged 18-25, come from the Union of Libyan Youth, universities and civil-society networks and have been encouraged to think and develop ideas that could be applied in their communities. They came primarily from the eight cities with which the CoR has been working most closely.
The workshops reflect a broad collective effort: the CoR has driven the political and institutional collaboration, the content was developed by the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), the workshops were organised by UNICEF, and the funder was the Italian government.
Alderman Hatch concluded: “Twenty years after the Good Friday Agreement, we do not have a perfect peace, but co-operation on the island of Ireland has never been more proactive. We are concentrating on things that bring us together, like infrastructure, youth development, the economy, protecting our coastline and wider environment, together with providing the best public services for those in greatest need. As always, our councils, and the Associations of councils on both sides of the Border, are effective, efficient and on the ground we “get things done”. This is hopefully clear across the globe, including Libya – put power and resources into in local cities, councils and municipalities and you will have social cohesion, a better economy, stronger democracy and a better environment for the communities of today and tomorrow”.
The Committee of the Regions (CoR)
CoR is the EU's assembly of regional and local representatives from all Member States. Its mission is to involve regional and local authorities and the communities they represent in the EU's decision-making process and to inform them about EU policies.