Global Communities and society

Reconciliation: Case studies and resources for local government


An Indigenous Canadian women taking part in the Every Child Matters campaign as part of the National Day for Trust and Reconciliation. Canadian Indian residential school system Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

Every week, we highlight inspiration and innovation from local government worldwide. In this article, we focus on ways local government shows themselves as leaders in reconciliation. You’ll find best practice from Ireland, Scotland, USA, Canada and England along with plenty of practical policy and resources to for more insight and guidance on the topic.

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Policy innovation and inspiration examples from the local government sector

Ireland: A home for peace 

Monaghan County Council have become the permanent home to a new multi-million euro Peace Campus which will house priceless artefacts belonging to ‘Project Children’ – a pioneering charity, launched during The Troubles in Northern Ireland. In 1975, the founders, brothers Denis and Patrick Mulcahy, partnered with the New York Police Department to bring Catholic and Protestant children together to spend time with each other outside of the war-torn shores of Ireland. What began with just six kids evolved to reach 23,000 children over the years. Now the charity’s enduring reconciliation efforts will be celebrating 50 years with the launch of the landmark Campus and a series of exhibitions, events and programmes run in collaboration with the Council to spread awareness of the region’s history and space for reflections and promotion of peace.
Irish Independent

Scotland: It all begins with education

Glasgow City Council launched their ‘Sense over Sectarianism’ initiative which aims to combat sectarianism through education and awareness-raising. The program involves partnerships with schools, community groups and football clubs to promote understanding between different religious and cultural groups. There is a range of educational resource packages and a series of competitions and awards, like next week’s ‘National Week of Action’ where pupils have been invited to make poster art about tackling sectarianism.

USA: Righting wrongs

After decades of lobbying, Eureka City Council in California, returned Duluwat Island back to the Wiyot Tribe after it was stolen in 1860 during a massacre which killed 100-250 tribal people. This move has been recognised by the National Congress of American Indians as ‘the first known voluntary municipal land return achieved without sale, lawsuit or trade’. After two unanimous city council votes across two different city councils, Eureka, a small city of 27,000, declared Duluwat Island as surplus land before providing an official transfer of deed and land ownership to the Wiyot Tribe. The Council’s decision was met with some resistance but an overall enduring belief that restoration and reconciliation is the best path for all.

Canada: recognition at the local level

The City of Vancouver, Canada, has been deemed a ‘city of reconciliation’ after embarking on a mission to promote reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. Since 2013, the City Council has created key policies and frameworks to enhance collaboration, improve relationships and support Indigenous rights and cultural practices across the city. The initiatives include encouraging citizens to engage with truth and reconciliation efforts through a new municipal holiday and hosting key events to commemorate issues of existing inequalities and honour the survivors of residential schools.

England: a peaceful walk

Coventry City Council, England, launched the ‘Coventry Peace Trail’ – a guided walk of 30 different sites around the city associated with peace to commemorate the city’s rich history of peace and reconciliation efforts, as the named ‘peace capital of the UK’. The trail featured a series of art installations and landmarks to pay dividends to Coventry’s peacebuilding journey. The walk aims to provide educational insights into Coventry’s past and present commitment to promoting peace, harmony and understanding. It also showcases notable figures and organisations that have worked to advance reconciliation in Coventry and beyond.
Coventry City of Peace

Resources to help build stronger communities

Old file folders books

Resource: Reconciliation Actions Plans (RAPs) are a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation and a plan of action to support the reconciliation processes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Reconciliation Australia offers a platform for local government and other organisations to demonstrate their commitment and share the strategies they’ve implemented to promote unity and respect between different cultures.

Research: This research paper from APO explores how local government can contribute to reconciliation processes by helping to create inclusive communities and addressing cultural inequalities. The guidance covers various initiatives including developing RAPs, methods to foster partnerships and ways to incorporate Indigenous perspectives into local government policy and practices.

Toolkit: The Stronger Together toolkit works to empower local government to take proactive steps to combat discrimination and promote social cohesion. It includes tools, case studies, and practical advice to help municipalities assess their current inclusion practices, identify areas for improvement and develop action plans to get there.

Report: The Rwanda Reconciliation Barometer 2020 report serves as a tool for monitoring and evaluating reconciliation efforts in Rwanda and covers a variety of aspects, including social cohesion, economic development, justice and accountability, and public institutions’ role in promoting reconciliation. Although specific to the situation in Rwanda, the analysis and evaluation of the different driving factors contributing to community cohesion has interest for all.

Network: The Women Mediators across the Commonwealth (WMC) network brings together diverse groups of women mediators and peacebuilders from across the Commonwealth to showcase their work. Their report, Women Mediators: Bridging the Peace Gap highlights the significant contributions of women mediators in peace efforts and advocates for greater inclusion of women in peacebuilding and mediation processes.

Looking for even more on this topic? Check out our tackling inequalities collection! Make sure you subscribe to LGIU to never miss out on this essential service for the local government sector everywhere.


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