10-Year Summary Report of the Asia-Pacific Coalition of Cities against Discrimination
Harnessing diversity and providing opportunity for all will be essential in the creation of inclusive and cohesive Asian and Pacific urban societies. How national and local governments in the Asia-Pacific adapt to cope with such change is both one of the biggest challenges and opportunities of the region’s urban transformation Those cities able to harness social transformation, in creating open, tolerant and inclusive societies, are more likely to benefit and progress.1 extracted from The State of Asian and Pacific Cities 2015 report.
It was a pivotal period in history marked by the defeat of apartheid in South Africa; commemoration of 50 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)2 and vivacious hope a dialogue among civilizations might pave the way to virtue, humility and love 3 that would set the foundation for the 2001 Third World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance and adoption of the 2001 Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA)4.
Amidst this social and political backdrop, was a growing appreciation of culture and diversity being recognized as cherished assets and sources of strength rather than divisive or confrontational. While simultaneously, there existed a willingness among countries to seek common ground in a manner which underlined tolerance and respect for diversity to fight the scourge of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance through enhanced cooperation, partnership and inclusion.
Propelled by these sentiments and a decade on since the inception of the UNESCO Asia-Pacific Coalition of Cities Against Discrimination (APCAD) in 2006, this 10-year Summary Report provides a valuable opportunity to critically reflect on the achievements of the Coalition, identifying key trends, challenges and priorities for its future development. Drawing on recent data, research and outcomes from the Jakarta Declaration to Habitat III; Asia-Pacific Urban Forum in 2015; Habitat III Regional Report; the report continues to consider the broader national-level compliance of Member States in the Asia-Pacific region to the 1965 International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) while addressing avenues to increase commitments.
The report focuses on five key sections related to cities and discrimination in the region: Regional Overview; Social and Human Context; About the Coalition; Membership Analysis; and International Instruments. A few suggested priorities for actions and recommendations are shared as opportunities to develop the coalition further in preparation for the First Meeting of the Global Steering Committee of the ICCAR in April 2016 and APCAD Conference in June 2016 to be held in Bangkok, Thailand based on the themes of inclusive cities, urban spatial strategies and social cohesion. It is envisioned that this report form the basis for further constructive dialogue around potential international mechanisms and partnerships that the Coalition might be able to leverage to enhance the work of APCAD and its future sustainability.