Skip to main content

International Day of Peace today - over 12,000 people across city involved in peace building projects as part of PEACE IV programme

Date: 21 Sep 2023

Four people including the Lord Mayor inside City Hall

On International Day of Peace today (21 September) a special event was held in City Hall to celebrate the achievements of the Belfast PEACE IV Programme over the five years.

On International Day of Peace today (21 September) a special event was held in City Hall to celebrate the achievements of the Belfast PEACE IV Programme over the five years.

Over 12,000 residents across the city, of all ages and backgrounds, have been involved in peace building projects through the PEACE IV Local Action Plan.

With a budget of £14.5m, the programme has supported the delivery of 18 project elements across three core themes – Children and Young People, Building Positive Relations and Shared Spaces and Services.

Over 4,500 children and adults engaged in PEACE IV projects and over 8,000 people attended PEACE IV events across the city.  The programme also resulted in the creation of a new urban greenway, Forth Meadow Community Greenway, connecting existing open spaces in north and west Belfast along a 12km route from Clarendon Playing Fields to the new Transport Hub in the city centre.

The Belfast PEACE IV Local Action Plan was funded through the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, which is managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB). The PEACE IV Programme was designed to support peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland and the border counties of Ireland and contributes to the promotion of social and economic stability through actions that promote cohesion between communities. Match funding was provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland. 

Over 2,600 children and young people took part in PEACE IV projects which focused on play, personal development, tech and digital courses, citizenship and leadership building.

Under the programme’s Building Positive Relations theme, over 1,100 participants completed cross-community projects looking at Transformative Leadership; Capacity Building and Placeshaping to inspiring creative communities; supporting minority communities including Roma and Traveller communities in the city; looking at Belfast and the World and developing exhibition resources associated with the regeneration of St Comgall’s on Divis Street – a multi-use cross-community hub.

The transformation greenway, Forth Meadow, connecting existing open spaces across a 12km route across North and West Belfast, the training of over 30 volunteers and involvement of 700 residents in projects along the greenway were achieved under the programme’s Shared Spaces and Services theme.

Reflecting on the milestones reached of the Belfast PEACE IV programme and council’s PEACE IV Action Plan at City Hall today, Lord Mayor, Councillor Ryan Murphy, said: “The achievements realised under PEACE IV are significant and have been instrumental in creating our vision of a shared city for all.  It is hoped that the relationships and learnings of these fabulous projects will encourage other communities, organisations and individuals to realise that by working collaboratively, residents and communities can shape their future and together we can achieve more.

“Thanks to the Special EU Programmes Body, we have been able to deliver innovative projects that will leave a lasting legacy across the city.

“The legacy of the programme will continue to develop, as Council looks forward to the new PEACEPLUS Programme, which will build upon these positive achievements.” 

Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development, Joe O’Brien TD, said: “I am delighted to see that Belfast City Council, having been awarded over €17 million under the European Union’s PEACE IV programme, successfully delivered their Local Action Plan for the district. The Plan supported a vast range of initiatives which will have a very beneficial impact on people living in this area.

“I am delighted that my Department of Rural and Community Development was able to provide match funding and support for the delivery of this very significant plan.  

I want to congratulate the programme implementers and all the participants on the successful outcomes under this plan. This Local Action Plan will help to break down barriers, support peace and reconciliation and bring a real, tangible benefit to the city, with recreational facilities for all members of the communities to use.

“I am confident that Belfast City Council will continue their excellent work under the new PEACEPLUS Programme that will help to further establish ongoing peace and reconciliation for generations to come.”

CEO of the Special EU Programmes Body, Gina McIntyre, said, “Development of permanent shared spaces like the Forth Meadow Community Greenway are about much more than creating opportunities for cross community interaction, these become future places for everybody, and in an increasingly multicultural Belfast, it is important to reimagine and widen our understanding of what community means for this city today.

“The many locally based projects and initiatives delivered under PEACE IV have fostered greater levels of positive relations, integration, and inclusion, and we are tremendously proud of the positive legacy PEACE funding has had. There is, of course, still more work to do, and the newly launched PEACEPLUS programme will allow us to keep providing vital funding directly into the communities that need it most.”

Chris Gardner, Director of Good Relations and T:BUC Division in The Executive Office, said: “The Executive Office is proud to have supported Belfast City Council’s PEACE IV Local Action Plan. This very successful programme has made a significant contribution to good relations in Belfast. Through creative initiatives in education, culture and sport, it has encouraged understanding and respect among communities, and created shared spaces for people to come together.

“I would like to congratulate everyone associated with the Local Action Plan, from the dedicated staff and groups who delivered the programme, to the participants who got involved. Their collective determination has made the programme the success it has been and we look forward to seeing its impact being realised for many years to come.”

Vice Chair of Belfast City Council’s Shared City Partnership, Councillor Ian McLaughlin, said: “Communities across the city continue to be affected by the conflict.  The Belfast PEACE IV Local Action Plan was designed to address local needs and provide opportunities for all residents across the city to be involved in peace and reconciliation activities.  The vast range of projects and activities delivered through PEACE IV resulted in over 12,000 people taking part in the programme and numerous achievements, which deserve to be celebrated. 

“Congratulations to all those involved in the delivery of projects and our residents who took part. Everyone involved has made a vital contribution to breaking down barriers and promoting peace and reconciliation in the city.  This work is vital to transform our communities, and the city as an inclusive, forward-thinking and dynamic place.”

For more information on Belfast PEACE IV, visit

Read aloud icon Read aloud