Member cities of Mayors for Peace

The distribution of the 2,028 current member cities of Mayors for Peace on the map reveals many cities in Europe yet fewer cities in Asia.

Germany, with 308, has the largest number of member cities, followed by 298 cities in Belgium. Referring to the many member cities in Europe, Yasuyuki Yakushiji, Division Director of the Mayors for Peace Secretariat, said, “There is a strong sense of crisis in Europe as nuclear weapons are still deployed in Germany and other countries, despite the end of the Cold War. Another major factor is the outreach that a number of organizations in that region perform to encourage the participation of cities.” In addition, the political makeup of Europe, with a large number of countries and local governments, seems conducive to a greater response.

It may come as a surprise that the United States, a nuclear superpower, has the fourth largest membership with 116 cities. This is about 10% of the member cities of the United States Conference of Mayors, composed of 1,139 cities that have a population of 30,000 or more.

Among the 106 member cities in Africa, half of them--53 cities--are located in Uganda. This is due to the fact that Wakiso, one of these cities in Uganda, has established a community-based organization to provide continuity to their membership in Mayors for Peace as city leaders change. At the same time, this organization is involved in such activities as encouraging other cities to join Mayors for Peace and organizing public discussions. They have also made a variety of proposals in regard to developing the Mayors for Peace structure, such as creating regional offices on five continents for more effective coordination and linking these to separate sections at the secretariat in Hiroshima.

On the other hand, there are only two member cities in South Korea, Japan's neighbor: Daegu, one of Hiroshima's sister cities, and Jeju. China, too, has only seven cities, including the capital, Beijing, that have joined Mayors for Peace. Mr. Yakushiji explains, “As Mayors for Peace is a multinational network, the documents are written in English. As a consequence, it's rather difficult to expand our membership in areas where English is not commonly used. We continue to appeal for participation, but these and other factors, such as socialist structures, impact our progress.”

Further reference
For more detailed information on the Mayors for Peace membership, please see the Map Showing Member Cities at the Mayors for Peace website.

Feedback from member cities of Mayors
for Peace

In connection with the above article on Mayors for Peace, we asked member cities to offer their thoughts in regard to the following questions...

1. What are your impressions in regard to the number of member cities growing to over 2000? What do you think might be the reasons for this rapid increase?

2. When and why did you join Mayors for Peace?

3. Why do you suppose Mayors for Peace has been received with such enthusiasm among cities in your country?

4. In your City Hall, have you established a special section or staff for Mayors for Peace? If so, what sort of activities are they engaged in?

5. In terms of the 2020 Vision Campaign, are you planning any special activities? What about other member cities in your country?

6. In September 2008, the G8 Summit of the Lower House Speakers will be held in Hiroshima. What sort of action would you suggest Mayors for Peace undertake in connection with this event?

Below is a selection of responses from member cities...

Hannover, Germany
by Bernd Grimpe

1. Cities are worried about the continuing nuclear threat, more than sixty years after the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They don't want to be targets.

2. In 1983, Hannover agreed to the declaration of sister city affiliation with Hiroshima and joined Mayors for Peace.

3. German cities suffered very much from World War II, so they know what war and bomb-destruction means to the cities. So Hannover's Lord Mayor tried to convince his colleagues to join Mayors for Peace.

4. As Hiroshima's sister city, Hannover feels obliged to support Mayors for Peace. And because the Lord Mayor of Hannover is one of the vice presidents of Mayors for Peace, one of the secretaries in his office is responsible for preparing the activities connected with the Mayors for Peace membership.

5. We celebrate the 25th anniversary of the sister city affiliation with Hiroshima this year and are preparing a meeting of the German M4P cities in November in Berlin. The 2020 Vision Campaign will be one of the main items there.

6. Mayors for Peace should try to inform the summit participants about their activities and aims. Visiting Hiroshima and having seen what atomic destruction means will make it easier to get support for the demand of abolition of all nuclear weapons and to go on to realize the “2020 Vision”.

Malakoff, France
by Michel Cibot

1. Mayors for Peace has set an ambitious plan in order to increase the number of member cities involved in peace matters. The plan consists of calling on current members to help recruit new ones. This strategy is already bearing fruit in France, with some encouraging results.

2. Malakoff was one of the first member cities of Mayors for Peace. This membership was made possible because of the establishment in France of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Institute, set up by a Japanese citizen, Miho Shimma. In 1990, we welcomed Mayor Araki, then Mayor Hiraoka on a number of occasions, and Mayor Akiba in 2005.

3. Eighty French cities share Mayors for Peace commitments and are members of the network. In our opinion, this number is quite appreciable even if not sufficient. France is a nuclear state and remains a society where public debate on nuclear weapons is still taboo. However, local authorities could can pursue such matters thanks to the NPT's article 6. French ratification of the NPT makes the banning of nuclear weapons in France a possibility under French law.

4. Answer to this question is included in the response to question 5.

5. Malakoff has set up a special section representing Mayors for Peace in our City Hall. At the same time we maintain a close cooperation with the Hiroshima and Nagasaki Institute in order to strength our relationship with Japan.

The City Council has decided unanimously to take part in establishing in France an independent branch of Mayors for Peace named “Association Francaise des Communes, Departements et Regions pour la Paix” (French Association of Local Authorities for Peace). This structure has its own office in City Hall and its own staff. The Chief Executive of the Community of Malakoff is in charge and works in association with Cultural Services and Communications.

Regarding our activities related to Mayors for Peace commitments and those we are developing to support the “2020 Vision Campaign”, we can mention projects designed to implement many of the UN's, UNESCO's or UNICEF's initiatives, in particular the eight areas of “Culture of Peace” designed by UNESCO. Each Community department is involved in the accomplishment of those goals. We have invited French member cities of Mayors for Peace to join us in this commitment. We provide assistance publishing materials in French related to peace matters: http://www.afcdrp.com/

In France, we are focused, in particular, on the CANT project (Cities Are Not Targets). The text has already been submitted for signature by several local governments to their citizens. We have also, recently, made a presentation of Mayors for Peace activities to teachers of “UNESCO's Associated Schools.” This meeting was presided over by the worldwide director of the school network.

6. At this stage, we don't have any information on whether or not France will be able to attend the “G8 Summit of the Lower House Speakers”. If so, we plan to get in touch with French representatives and discuss with them Mayors for Peace activities and commitments.

Montreal, Canada
by Lucie Lavoie

1. Our reaction is certainly positive, as the important increase in membership shows that more and more cities are preoccupied by the numbers of conflicts erupting around the world, and thus a need for a concerted effort on the part of the local governments to work towards an enduring peace.

2. The City of Montreal joined during the mandate of former mayor Pierre Bourque in July 1989, as relations between our two cities were steadily developing, following the construction of the Japanese Garden at the Montreal Botanical Garden.

3. Canadian citizens and thus Canadian cities adhere to our country's policy of peace. The ministry of Foreign Affairs states that: “Over the past 50 years, Canada's role in complex, integrated peace operations has evolved to meet new international challenges. Our steady activity in United Nations peace missions increasingly has expanded into regional or coalition missions mandated by the UN. Now, we support and participate in peace operations led by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU). Canada's part in such peace operations helps bring security, stability and support to highly volatile situations, and helps to lay the ground for reconstruction and development. 'Peace operations' is a simple label for a huge range of connected military, diplomatic and humanitarian tasks, as diverse as reforming justice and security systems, disarming and demobilizing troops, reintegrating them into peaceful pursuits, and supporting humanitarian assistance.”

4. No. All actions related to those of Mayors for Peace are managed by the Bureau of International Affairs and the Cabinet of the Mayor.

5. No special activities planned in Montreal. As for other Canadian cities, we do not possess any information at this time.

6. It is difficult for us to suggest any activity at this point as we are not able to play an active role in this event.

North Olmsted, Ohio, USA
by Mayor Thomas O'Grady

1. I am very pleased that there is growth in the number of cities. I believe that there is a growing concern with the direction our world is going. We need greater effort to ensure that all people are afforded the opportunity to live in peace.

2. I joined the Mayors for Peace organization in 2006 at the summer meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors. I joined in order to play a larger role in bringing Peace to our world.

3. I believe that there is great concern regarding the ongoing war in the Middle East, and the impact of that war on our cities and our families. Mayors see first-hand the problems that war has caused.

4. As Mayor, I have been active in the Mayors for Peace effort. I attended the summer meeting at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands. There, I spoke on the importance of actively working toward Peace.

5. I will be active through the United States Conference of Mayors.

6. Continue the good work that you are currently doing to encourage all people and powers to work together to bring Peace to our world.

Wakiso, Uganda
by Martin Sebuliba, Chairman of Springs Alive
(Springs Alive is a community-based organization handling the affairs of Mayors for Peace in Uganda and neighboring countries.)

1. The trend in the world is towards globalization and urbanization; more people are living in cities today than ever before, therefore cities tend to be epic centers of war and the threat of armed use of nuclear weapons in the cities is more eminent today. This underlines the need for non-use of nuclear weapons on cities in conflicts; people cannot forget what happened to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Looking at our changes in the environment, the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, floods, etc. are a result of the growing demand in the world for energy consumption. With the desire for countries to adopt cheaper and environment-friendly energy sources, nuclear power use is inevitable and this means the associated by-products such as plutonium can be used to manufacture weapons. In all situations the world is heading to a nuclear age.

2. Springs Alive, a local community-based organization, has been spearheading the activities of Mayors for Peace in Uganda and Africa. We became aware of Mayors for Peace in 2005 and, because of the situation expressed above as well as the stance of Mayors for Peace for the abolition of nuclear weapons, we were eager to get involved.

3. All this can be attributed to the sacrifices of the Chairman of Springs Alive, Martin Sebuliba, and the General Secretary, who is also the head of the Peace and Conflict Studies Division, Francis Omia, as well as our close working relationship with Urban Authorities Association of Uganda which gave Springs Alive a chance to explain and educate urban authorities about Mayors for Peace and how it was important to join such an organization for the benefit of mankind. The enthusiasm for Mayors for Peace in Uganda is due to the mobilization, marketing, and lobbying efforts of Springs Alive as it seeks to win over city mayors.

4. The model adopted is that, because the nature of urban authorities changes every five years and for continuity purposes and for centralized planning, coordination, and technical know-how, it was decided that an independent body, Springs Alive, handle these activities for all mayors registered with Springs Alive. This was done in close consultation with the Mayor of Wakiso, who is considered the pioneer of Mayors for Peace in Uganda.

Our main activities have involved recruitment, dissemination of the activities of Mayors for Peace, coordination with Mayors for Peace, communication with the mayors, exchange of information, lobbying government bodies and members of parliament, among others.

5. Yes, we are planning numerous activities, such as seminars, workshops, publicity through electronic and print media, lobbying of civil society groups and government, and public debates on topical issues concerning nuclear use and disarmament. Since these activities are organized by the umbrella body, Springs Alive, all the member cities take part in shared activities depending on their available logistical resources.

6. Mayors for Peace should appeal to the Lower House Speakers with the message that the threat of nuclear weapons use on urban settings is very real and that disarmament should start with G8 members thereby giving them the moral authority to prevail over other countries intending to adopt nuclear technology, such as Iran. Mayors for Peace should also assert the view that all nuclear technology be controlled by an impartial international body and not controlled or influenced by Western powers like the International Atomic Agency.

This is a very critical subject; we need to develop a research paper in this regard. Such a paper should therefore include all the views of the various stakeholders and should be tailored in such a way that we can win over alliances with the Speakers and other influential groups in the G8.

Melbourne, Australia
by Jane Sharwood

The City of Melbourne compliments the Mayors for Peace in their endeavours to working towards a total abolition of nuclear weapons and pursuit of lasting world peace. The Melbourne City Council declared Melbourne to be a nuclear free city in May 2001. Additionally, in supporting the objectives of the Mayors for Peace, Melbourne works to develop peace building and reconciliation at a community level through a variety of programs and initiatives.

During 16-21 March 2008 the City of Melbourne will celebrate cultural diversity in the municipality with Harmony Week. This celebration recognises the significant and vital role multicultural communities play in society and provide an opportunity for the community to learn about cultural diversity and the many vibrant ethic communities that contribute to Melbourne.

The City of Melbourne is also committed to demonstrating contemporary practice in local government on issues affecting the Indigenous community. This is reflected in the recognition of indigenous interests and to the development of strategies, agreements and protocols which further this objective. The demonstrated commitment by the City of Melbourne has strengthened relationships with the Indigenous communities and has contributed to a heightened awareness of Indigenous issues across the organisation.

The Council is committed to continuing and developing the concept of a united city, which counts diversity as one of its greatest assets, manifested in its programs and services to the community and to visitors to Melbourne. In this way it seeks to encourage the development of a peaceful community contributing to the harmony of the greater global environment.