Chugoku Shimbun Peace news
World Conference of Mayors for Peace to open in Hiroshima 08/03/01

The Fifth World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-City Solidarity opens on August 4 in Hiroshima City, with the goal of eliminating nuclear weapons from the world through a global network of cities. On August 2, days prior to the opening, mayors of participating cities and other delegates began arriving in Hiroshima.

The keynote theme of this conference is "In order for humankind to live through the 21st century: Towards reconciliation between humankind and science and technology." For six days through August 9, the conference will meet first in Hiroshima, then in Nagasaki, to discuss the roles cities should play in building a peaceful 21st century.

The agenda for the Plenary Session includes discussion of what cities and citizens should do to eliminate nuclear weapons. The issue of violence among children will be discussed for the first time at this conference, after a survey of participating cities revealed a high interest in this issue.

Subcommittees will discuss specific themes including "dissemination and articulation of the A-bomb experience" and "peaceful resolution of conflicts." Subcommittees in Nagasaki will discuss the building of coalitions with non-governmental organizations (NGO) as well as global environmental issues.

As of August 2, sixty-nine cities and two organizations (municipal NGOs) were planning to attend from 31 foreign countries. First-time participants from overseas include 41 cities and two organizations, accounting for almost 60%. Nine countries are participating for the first time, including Pakistan, which conducted a nuclear testing in 1998, and New Zealand, which is a long-time proponent of total nuclear disarmament. A record 44 municipalities will attend from Japan.

On August 2, a total of about 20 participants from eight cities in four countries, including Banepa (Nepal) and Matara (Sri Lanka), and one non-municipal organization arrived in Hiroshima City.

(Caption) Delegations from Galle (Sri Lanka) and other cities arrive in Hiroshima to attend the World Conference of Mayors for Peace through Inter-City Solidarity. They are greeted by Hiroshima City employees (right). (7:55pm, August 2, at JR Hiroshima Station)