The African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG Africa plans to integrate the issue of human rights in its training for local authorities. To this end, the director of ALGA, Dr. Najat Zarrouk, visited Austria last month, August 16-18, at the invitation of the Honorable Mayor of the City of Graz, Mr. Siegfried Nagl, and Dr. Klaus Starl, executive director of the European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (ETC), based in Graz and specializing in human rights training where discussion surrounded the definition and framework for cooperation and partnership between the city of Graz, ETC and ALGA.
Graz, the second largest city after Vienna, is a city committed to human rights. It has been classified as the first human rights city in Europe, and since 2007 it has incorporated a human rights advisory council as a permanent institution within the municipality. It has adopted a declaration on inter-religious dialogue and created a human rights prize at the local level, the Graz Human Rights Award, awarded each year by the University of Graz.
ETC ( firstname.lastname@example.org), as a Centre for education, training, research and consulting, is dedicated to the promotion of human rights. It supports a number of initiatives of Graz, including the city of human rights; the Human Rights Advisory Council; the publication of the Graz Human Rights report (Focusing on human rights at local and regional level, June 2017, edited by Simone, Philipp and Klaus Starl); a platform dedicated to young people; the “Know your Rights” Program; and the European Coalition of Cities against Racism, Discrimination and Intolerance (ECCaR). It also conducts legal research and analysis on human rights and non-discrimination.
The three entities, City of Graz, ETC and ALGA, are committed to the forthcoming signing of a memorandum of understanding, cooperation and partnership around the project entitled, ‘Promoting human rights, democracy and diversity at the regional level and through the training and capacity building of the local authorities and other relevant stakeholders.’ Implementation of the project is scheduled for 2018 to 2021 and will be an integral part of the current decentralization agenda; the new Vision of the African Union 2063; and the African Charter of decentralization, local governance and local development (2014).
This partnership will enable ALGA to benefit from the expertise, initiatives, training and tools developed by both the city of Graz and ETC for the integration of human rights at the regional and local level. Partnership activities will be prepared, particularly for the Africities 2018 summit, to support the executive Masters programme and a college that will be dedicated to the promotion and integration of human rights, democracy and diversity at the regional and local level.