PAZOS, Peace and Opportunities for Palmira: Transformative Learning to Build Peace from the Bottom-Up


The final agreement for ending the conflict and building a stable and lasting peace in Colombia marked the conclusion of the internal armed conflict, which was primarily rural in nature. While the agreement and post-conflict policies aim to structurally transform the conditions that gave rise to the armed conflict, their focus is predominantly rural. This leaves the task of building urban peace in the hands of municipal and local administrations. Historically, Palmira experienced a peak in violence in 2011, with a homicide rate of 98.1 per 100,000 inhabitants, ranking it first nationwide and among the world’s most dangerous cities.

Although in 2020, when the current administration took office, the municipality’s homicide rate was at its lowest point since data was available (36.4 in December 2019), it remained well above the national homicide rate (25.4 per 100,000 inhabitants) and the international average. Despite being one of Colombia’s top 20 cities in terms of population and territorial expanse, it held the second position within this group in terms of homicide rate, surpassed only by Cali, a neighboring city with interconnected violence dynamics.

Despite the significant challenges in terms of citizen security and urban peacebuilding, Palmira possesses various tools to overcome this adverse context. The city boasts unique economic and political potential due to its strategic geographical location in the international logistics chain, with features such as an airport, free trade zones, and a robust business sector.

In this context, PAZOS (Peace and Opportunities for Palmira) represents a social innovation initiative by the municipal administration of Palmira, addressing the historically high homicide rate among young people per one hundred thousand inhabitants, stemming from territorial control by criminal organizations and gangs (as a strategic route to the Pacific Ocean), as well as the lack of opportunities resulting from unmet basic needs.


Building on the lessons of the local policy and peer initiatives documented through the UCLG Peace Prize, the main objective of the Local4Action HUB Palmira is to broaden and make the PAZOS policy well-known and to facilitate its appropriation by other local governments for replicability and inspiration for their own policies. Palmira’s local initiative is understood as a coherent package of actions and institutional improvements that have shown promising and successful results in peacebuilding and resource optimization in the city of Palmira. The Local4Action HUB aims to develop a technical learning instrument that can be disseminated and could foster discussions and in the end support and inspire other local governments in their action plans to prevent violence and build peace from the bottom-up. The Local4Action HUB process will allow to co-create a learning tool to highlight and set in stone the legacy of the local policy and its lessons. In this sense it aspires to make a meaningful contribution and mobilize the tool in discussion spaces and working meetings to build the global Peace Agenda from the local perspective and especially from the view of intermediary cities.

Expected outcomes

  • Create a presentation document and learning package, highlighting the most interesting elements of the PAZOS strategy from its design, to its implementation and result evaluation.
  • Share and adopt practices to ensure the medium and long-term sustainability of violence reduction initiatives originating from local governments.


The Local4Action HUB Palmira connects with the formulation of global policies as it focuses on an objective pursued by the majority of cities today: the reduction of violence. On one hand, in the era of globalization, cities are increasingly interconnected in economic, political, and social terms. The problems and challenges faced by a locality or region can have broader ramifications and affect others. Therefore, global collaboration is crucial to address these issues.

On the other hand, cities can learn from each other by sharing their experiences and best practices in violence prevention. Each country and its localities face unique challenges, but there can also be effective approaches that can be adapted and applied in different contexts.

Collaboration based on local experiences facilitates the exchange of knowledge and successful strategies, enriching the capacity for violence prevention worldwide. Additionally, research on violence is essential to understand its causes, consequences, and possible solutions. Global-local collaboration can promote cooperation in research, data exchange, and joint analysis of factors contributing to violence. This can help develop evidence-based policies and programs that are more effective in preventing violence at both the global and local levels.

Link to Agenda 2030

  • SDG10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • SDG11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • SDG16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • SDG17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development


Link to the UCLG Pact for the Future of Humanity

  • Commitments for People
    • C1 – Guarantee equal rights and opportunities for all and respect and celebrate diversity.
    • C2 – Foster universal and equitable access to public services, including housing, health, education and participation in cultural and political life. 
    • C3 – Promote informed and sustained citizen’s participation in public life and decision-making promoting freedom of speech and conscience and artistic expression.
    • C4 – Focus on human development with culture, peace, creativity & quality of life at the core. 
    • C8 – Contribute to citizens’ living in safe, peaceful and violence-free environments, including in domestic settings. 
  • Commitment for Government
    • C4 – Strengthen public institutions to enhance the protection of our global commons and provision of public goods.


Link to other Global Agendas

  • New Urban Agenda



Coming soon


Coming soon

How to join the Local4Action HUB

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