McAvan: “We often underestimate the importance of local government in economic development”
“Local government is close to people. It can make real change at low cost and quickly,” said DEVE committee chairwoman Linda McAvan MEP on Wednesday (24 January) afternoon during a debate on the outcomes of the 5th African Union-European Union Summit.
Ms McAvan was indeed among the speakers of the first ever Africa-Europe Local Government Forum organised by PLATFORMA, CEMR and UCLG-Africa in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on 27 November 2017, two days before the 5th African Union-European Union Summit.
She said: “when we were [in Abidjan], there was also a special meeting of local governments. I think we often underestimate the importance of local government in economic development (…) but local government is close to people. It can make real change at low cost and quickly.”
"#localgov can make real change, at low cost & quickly": thank you @LindaMcAvanMEP for mentionning our #AUEUlocal summit with @UCLGAfrica during @EP_Development meeting on Wednesday | @sommetuaue2017 #AUEU #UAUE @europeaid @MimicaEU @sbonaccini @eaDevPol @CCRECEMR @uclg_org pic.twitter.com/0cuSdS3i8O
— PLATFORMA (@Platforma4Dev) January 26, 2018
At the time in Abidjan, Ms McAvan said: “We must have local governments as real partners in the AU-EU partnership,” mentioning the European Parliament work on the revision of the European Consensus on Development, the negotiation mandate on the future of EU-ACP partnership and the discussions around the AU-EU strategy.
After a full day of panel and round-table debates, leaders of local and regional governments adopted a common Declaration calling for local and regional governments and their representative organisations to be systematically included and involved in the dialogue on the AU-EU political partnership. Unfortunatelly, despite all the supportive messages received, the AU-EU Summit failed to open the floor to local governments, civil society and youth. A comment shared on Wednesday by Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director for Africa of the European External Action Service (EEAS), during DEVE meeting. He announced that local governments will be put on the agenda at Mo Ibrahim’s annual governance weekend. “We need to pay much more attention to local governments because they are closer to the people!”, he said.