Peace in Our Cities (PiOC) network is a unique global urban network of 23 cities and 40 community-based and international partners that are working together to halve urban violence by 2030. The network creates concrete, participatory, and evidence-based platform exchanges to reduce and prevent the most severe violence in member cities while also building a global movement of urban violence reduction advocates.
The PiOC network hosted a symposium and network-member-only strategy retreat on innovations in urban violence reduction and prevention throughout the week of June 19–23, 2023, in Medellín and Palmira, Colombia. The host cities were chosen because of their successful track record of reducing violence and their whole-of-society approach for peacebuilding. Palmira has also been a member of the PiOC network since 2019, and was recently recognized for its efforts by receiving the prestigious United Cities Local Governments (UCLG) Peace Prize.
The symposium and member-only retreat drew on the examples of Medellín, Palmira, and other participating members to identify (1) how concerted efforts have contributed to reductions in violence and (2) which lessons may be applicable across different contexts. The sessions built on existing and ongoing efforts aiming to reduce violence in order to amplify knowledge and resources supporting the ambitious target of halving urban violence by 2030. The meetings in Colombia were PiOC’s first urban violence symposium and a second strategy retreat, following the inaugural meeting hosted in Amman, Jordan, in 2020.
During five days, the gathering featured panel discussions, breakout sessions, and site visits emphasizing how balanced, focused, interrelated, and legitimate strategies have contributed to violence reduction in communities. The convening was designed to bridge theory and practice, foster relations within communities and across borders, and capture lessons learned for city-serving networks and cities. With nearly 60 participants, two host cities, and three official meeting languages, the convening provided considerable opportunities for peer-to-peer exchanges and relationship building to strengthen the work of the PiOC network moving forward.
The PIOC network is co-managed by three independent institutions: the Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies at New York University’s Center on International Cooperation; the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego; and the Stanley Center for Peace and Security, collectively referred to as the PiOC Secretariat.