Supporting the role of municipalities, civil society organisations and citizens in building peace at local level was both the title and the objective of the Libya International Peace Forum that took place in Tunis on 6 and 7 September. With mayors or representatives from eleven municipal councils attending, plus numerous local Libyan civil society activists, there was considerable belief on their part that, with the country’s political leaders unable or unwilling to take the necessary steps to make peace happen, local communities had to try to make it happen.
The Forum consisted of plenary sessions and workshop sessions, concerning topics as supporting the role of women and young people in community peace-building efforts at the local level, donor engagement, and dealing with militias and armed actors in building peace at the national level. The Libya International Peace Forum succeeded in providing a platform where local government are recognised as vital partners to sustainable peace in Libya. During the frank discussions, it was very clear that much is expected of mayors and their municipalities and they are committed to take on this responsibility, though they are faced with limitations in the mandate to respond adequately to such requests.
The Libya International Peace Forum was organised in the framework of the Libya Local Governance and Stabilization Project funded by the EU and co-funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This three year project aims at contributing to strengthen and empower local governance in Libya.