In August 2018, Lund’s city council appointed Lund as a Human Rights City, making it the first Human Rights City in both Sweden and Scandinavia. The decision was preceded by work in cooperation with the Raul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights (RWI), in Lund, in which the city and the RWI investigated the prerequisites for Lund to work systematically on human rights, with the intention of becoming a Human Rights City. At the same time, Lund and the RWI also entered into a partnership with the aim of promoting work with human rights and Human Rights Cities in Lund and Sweden as a whole. The city council members made the decision to designate Lund a Human Rights City because they were convinced that social issues such as inclusion, social sustainability, gender equality, accessibility, good governance and the delivery of public services are best handled at the local level rather, than the regional, national or international levels. People in the local community have considerable knowledge about their needs and want to contribute their ideas toward finding solutions. Becoming a Human Rights City means that the local level’s knowledge will be better utilised and contribute to the realisation of universal human rights in Lund.
We have been busy during our two first years as a Human Rights City. In cooperation with civil society organisations, Lund’s University , the Raul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and the city’s internal administrations and departments, we have carried out analyses and investigations about the current situation in Lund concerning human rights and public health. The aim was to find a starting point to begin our work as a Human Rights City. Based on the analyses and investigations, we have created a policy that describes Lund’s approach to the UN’s Sustainable Goals and a programme, Lund’s Programme for Social Sustainability. The programme details the city’s work with human rights and public health and focuses on the most urgent social needs in Lund as starting point for the Human Rights City. The programme is ten years in length but will be subject to revision twice depending on what needs arise. The areas we are going to focus on are as follows:
- Democracy—creating equal possibilities for participation and influence
- Education—creating equal opportunities for lifetime education
- Healthy Habits—creating healthy habits throughout life
- Work and Employment—better access to the labour market for everybody
- Housing and the Ambient Environment—all areas of the city should be developed
- Equality— women, men and non-binary individuals should have equal opportunities to shape society and their lives
Because of the valuable participatory working process, it has taken time to finalise the programme; however, the city council will make a final decision on the content of the policy and the programme in September of this year. Thereafter starts the exciting work with implementing the policy and programme with the aim that the city’s administrations and departments will implement a human rights approach in all their working processes. Our already established collaboration with all external partners will also continue, and together we will advance the work with creating a city based on human rights principals.