Peace in Wellington, New Zealand

.. DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION ..

by Celia Wade-Brown, Mayor of Wellington, in Wellington Peace Newsletter

When Wellington became a Nuclear Free capital in 1982, I was protesting against nuclear missiles at Greenham Common in the UK. Given my interest in ending nuclear warfare, it’s a real pleasure to write this first annual newsletter as Wellington’s Mayor for Peace

Wellington

Wellington City has been a member of Mayors for Peace since 1988. Mayors for Peace started in Japan, there are now 6,940 cities in 161 countries around the world who are part of Mayors for Peace. The Mayors for Peace 2020 Vision Campaign pushes for a nuclear-weapon-free world by the year 2020.

The Mayor of Hiroshima, Matsui Kazumi, invited me to become an Executive Leader of Mayors for Peace. The other thirty New Zealand Mayors for Peace supported me taking up this coordinating role. This newsletter is one outcome.

Wellington City Council endorsed the invitation and recognised that, internationally, Mayors for Peace “strive to raise international public awareness regarding the need to abolish nuclear weapons and contribute to the realisation of genuine and lasting world peace.”

This year’s Wellington Women’s Walk for Peace theme was, “Peace is everyone’s responsibility.” It was an opportunity for women of all ethnicities and beliefs to send a message to the rest of the world that we care about peace.

Peace is something that everyone here has a part in creating. It is noisy, protest-filled and democratic. It is full of debate and differing opinions. From this active view of peace, we can build collective wisdom, common action and collaboration against nuclear weapons. There are many excellent organisations and individuals acting in the interests of peace in New Zealand. Coordinating communication, events and conferences has been busy in 2015.

I also called on cities around the world to join with me in sending a simple post of a “wave goodbye to nuclear weapons” on social media on 27 April 2015 as part of Global Wave 2015.

Our pledge, as Mayors for Peace, is to engage our constituencies and cooperate in eliminating nuclear weapons. The Council focuses on supporting a number of peace events, especially International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Hiroshima Day, International Peace Day and Gandhi’s birthday, the International Day of Non-Violence.

There is a strong link between peace and resilience and I’m delighted Wellington was chosen to be part of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities. Resilience is about social cohesion, neighbourhood connections and access to resources as well as physical infrastructure and long-term planning.

The Climate Change talks in Paris also highlight how, like nuclear weapons, emissions and effects are not confined by national boundaries.

Resilience, nuclear abolition and greenhouse gas emission reductions are three issues, among many, where cities can take a lead, whatever their country’s national policies. Citizens and Mayors can consider wisely, commit positively to the community’s future and act locally with a global perspective. Enjoy the following snippets about 2015 events here and abroad and I look forward to working with you in 2016!

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