Join us for the second edition of the
Academy and Conference “Human Rights Go Local – What Works”
Towards Strengthened Commitments to Human Rights
Cities and municipalities are the public authorities closest to their citizens. Therefore, it is crucial to implement human rights at the local level to ensure that no one is left behind. What are concrete ways for local governments and stakeholders to strengthen their commitment to human rights? To answer this question, we want to draw together efforts from across the world aiming at fostering commitments to human rights at the local level.
Around the world, many ways are being developed and implemented with the goal of making human rights a more mandatory guideline for local policies. The Academy and Conference in 2022 will build on the success of last year’s event and provide a forum for gathering such current approaches and initiatives, discussing experiences and lessons learnt from various regional and local approaches thereof, and disseminating practices that have been identified as successful by local governments.
This is the second edition of the event series "Human Rights Go Local - What Works", organized by the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels under the auspices of UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security in Graz, Austria, together with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN-Habitat, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA).
(Co-organisation still to be confirmed by some of these organisations.)
The Academy and Conference series demonstrates innovative approaches and proven practices for protecting and promoting human rights at the local level, making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable. It ultimately seeks to improve the quality of life in urban areas around the globe for all. With this event series, the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels fulfils its mandate to build bridges between all institutions, organisations, initiatives, engagements, efforts, and ideas that focus on local and regional human rights practices.
The second edition of the annual Academy and Conference aims to contribute to the United Nations vision of protecting and promoting human rights for all by informing local governments on how to deliver on their related obligations, as well as to the goals set by the 2030 Agenda, and its promise to “Leave No One Behind”.
The Academy’s particular aim is to collect successful initiatives for strengthening the commitment of local governments to human rights, and to formulate guidance for local governments on how they can further strengthen their commitment to human rights. It aims to facilitate implementation by directly providing local level authorities with the findings and proposals gathered during the Academy.
The Conference, which takes place on 8 February, seeks to provide a broader audience of local level authorities with condensed knowledge on successful approaches for strengthening the commitment to human rights at the local level, to make concrete proposals on how to locally implement the international agenda following a human rights-based approach, and to adopt an Outcome Document expressing possible ways forward.
The Academy is a forum bringing together human rights professionals and practitioners to discuss successful strategies and initiatives for strengthening the commitments to human rights at the local level.
Some of the key questions that will be discussed are:
Current developments, policies, and experiences: What developments are underway around the world to strengthen the local governments' commitments to human rights? What initiatives and policies have a tangible impact on municipal activities in practice in different regions and why? How can global initiatives be translated into transformative action at the local level? What policies and practices have been most effective in this respect? What do we learn from the experience of organizations such as the OHCHR, UCLG, UNESCO, UN-Habitat, and FRA? What institutional and legal frameworks have contributed to create enabling environments to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, and what are the interfaces between the national and local levels?
Tools and measures: What tools and measures (e.g. establishment of institutions or procedures; review mechanisms including self-assessment and peer-assessment; action plans, etc.) have proven to support local governments in achieving a stronger commitment towards advancing human rights locally? How can they be transferred to other settings? What are the gaps and needs in this respect around the globe?
Relation to 2030 Agenda and New Urban Agenda: To what extent are such initiatives related to local governments' commitments to the 2030 Agenda and its pledge to leave no one behind and to target those furthest behind? How can local initiatives be more clearly connected to efforts by national governments to meet the SDGs? How can local action benefit from such connection?
A look into the future: How can we contribute towards positive scenarios for the role of local authorities in the realization of human rights? Which steps are necessary to achieve them? How can we empower the next generation to play an active role and act as changemakers? For instance, how can human rights research play a role in this respect?
The International Centre and the UNESCO Chair in Graz aim at bringing together the knowledge and experiences of cities, city networks, international organisations, such as UNESCO, UN OHCHR, UN-Habitat, EU FRA, human rights practitioners, and next generation human rights professionals who seek to strengthen the commitment of local governments to human rights and to discuss related challenges, solutions, and good practices.
The prime target groups are city (network) representatives (policy-making, public administration) and intermediaries, such as human rights professionals and practitioners working in all relevant areas (think tanks, academia, civil society, and international or regional organisations). The event further targets professionals and practitioners interested in gaining expertise on the subject, and explicitly includes members of the next generation wishing to professionalise in human rights.
Date: 1 – 8 February 2022
Time: between 2 and 4 hours each day
The Academy is a virtual event held in English.
For more information on the event, please consult the FAQ section below and check the programme outline. Sign up for updates on the right hand side of the page!
- PDF: Concept Note (barrier free, text-only version here)
- PDF: Programme Outline (barrier free, text-only version here)
- PDF: Call for Applications (barrier free, text-only version here)
For any questions about the Academy and Conference 2022, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Frequently asked questions
Both the Academy and the Conference take place online using the conferencing system BigBlueButton. The event will be held in English without translation.
The Academy and Conference are free to attend.
The Academy and Conference will take place over several days from 1-8 February but only take between 2-4 hours each day. Online sessions will take place around noon CET to ensure participation across time zones. Please check the programme outline for more information.
Friday, 4 February 2022 is a day dedicated to networking and professionalization opportunities, particularly targeting next generation human rights professionals. The group will have an informal place to engage and connect with established human rights experts and practitioners. The networking day seeks to establish a link between today’s stakeholders and tomorrow’s actors in order to exchange practical knowledge of working in the field, discuss the realization of future perspectives and aspirations, and provide insight into the opportunity to professionalize in human rights, a field of professional activity that is becoming increasingly important at the local level.
No other activities are planned for this day.
More information about the programme is available in this document.
The Academy takes place over four days. On these days, 4 topics are introduced by brief inputs. These are followed by intense, interactive exchange in small groups. The focus is on engagement and interaction. One day, Friday 4th February 2022, is exclusively dedicated to next generation human rights professionals.
You can find the programme outline here.
The exact programme including event times and concrete topics/speakers will be posted in due time. Meanwhile, please consult the programme outline to get an overview of what is planned for each day.
Yes! Active participation on all days is crucial. The Academy must be understood as one overall workshop that brings together different perspectives on the topics and creates meaningful outcomes. Therefore, active participation in all strands, formats and events is preferred.
The Academy will be held on an open source conferencing software called BigBlueButton. The International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels hosts the programme on its own, secure and encrypted server. Users do not have to download anything and can simply participate via their browsers.
To attend our online events, we recommend the following:
- good, stable Internet connection (no mobile networks)
- Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge (Opera is not supported by BigBlueButton!)
- Headphones and microphone
- A quiet location from where you can take part
Participants will receive a detailed user guide via email.
The Conference “Human Rights Go Local” is a high level gathering. Its purposes are to discuss the outcomes of the Academy and to make concrete proposals on how to locally implement the international agenda following a human rights-based approach. The Outcome Document will be adopted as a guideline for local authorities on how to effectively strengthen commitments to human rights at the local level. More information will become available towards the end of the year 2021.
The event is organized by the International Centre for the Promotion of Human Rights at the Local and Regional Levels under the auspices of UNESCO and the UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Human Security in cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), UN-Habitat, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the Provincial Government Styria, the City of Graz, and the University of Graz.
Co-organisation still to be confirmed by some of these organisations.