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1st Africa-Europe Local Government forum

4 octubre 2017

The partnership between Europe and Africa is key to answer the challenges of the 21st century. Therefore, PLATFORMA and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) are joining efforts with United Cities and Local Governments-Africa (UCLG-Africa) to organise the first Africa-Europe Local Government forum on 27 November in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

In the current global context, subnational governments everywhere are faced with phenomena such as rapid urbanisation, climate change, unprecedented migration flows, youth unemployment… It is therefore clear that local governments need to be empowered to ensure sustainable and cohesive development at local level, be involved in policy design at all levels and be in the driving seat of policy implementation.

The African Union’s Agenda 2063 commits to transformative leadership at the local level. Moreover, the reviewed “European Consensus on Development” and the “Next steps for a sustainable European future” explicitly recognise the role of decentralisation processes and of local governments in achieving a sustainable future. Therefore, the time is right for the regional associations of local and regional governments to propose concrete ways to contribute.

Promoting a new political dynamic

The 5th EU-Africa Summit offers a major opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the local and regional governments to promote a new political dynamic. This strategic partnership between our two continents should embrace the promotion of interaction between all levels of governance, articulating the local, national, sub regional and continental tiers of government as the indispensable way to promote political dialogue and to ensure the necessary coherence and efficiency of the cooperation policies.

In line with the strategic partnership of UCLG-A and CEMR-PLATFORMA with the European Commission and the long-standing relations between UCLG-A and the African Union, the proposal to host an Africa-Europe Local Government forum received support from the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini, and from the presidency of the African Union Specialised Technical Committee 8 “public service, urban development, decentralisation and governance”.

In this positive setting, the political leadership of CEMR, UCLG-Africa and PLATFORMA can mark a clear spot for local and regional governments’ contributions in the future cooperation between Africa and Europe. I hope you will be able to contribute to the success of the forum.