History and Background

“The equal dignity and rights of every individual must remain the starting point for all action, and the measure of its success. This requires dialogue on the basis of respect. It calls for understanding the wealth that lies in diversity. It means that all voices must be heard and all individuals included.” — UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova.

In 2001, UNESCO contributed to the organization of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa. In an effort to address the recommendations coming out of the Durban conference, in 2004 UNESCO established the International Coalition of Cities against Racism (ICCAR), a network aimed at strengthening municipal capacity and policy to promote greater inclusion.

ICCAR is composed of seven regional or national coalitions: Europe, Africa, Asia and Pacific, Arab states, Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States, and Canada.

The beginning of CCMARD

  • In 2005, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO organized a meeting of representatives of municipalities, NGOs, human rights commissions and researchers. The goal was to discuss the possibility of establishing a Canadian coalition.
  • Later that year, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and its partners invited Canadian municipalities to join the Canadian Coalition of Municipalities against Racism and Discrimination (CCMARD).
  • The text of the resulting Declaration was inspired by the European Coalition, but adapted to fit Canadian reality and jurisdictions.