At CUF “Rencontres”, PLATFORMA focuses on how European local governments react to conflicts

8 July 2019

At the occasion of the 10th Forum of Local Governments International action organised by Cités Unies France, PLATFORMA has lead several workshop, in particular one on European local and regional governments reaction following the crisis in Nicaragua and the conflict in Ukraine.

Crisis and conflicts in partner countries: reaction of European local and regional governments. The case of Ukraine and Nicaragua

Strengthening capacity building of local and regional governments contributes to social cohesion and develops inter-social links. These elements are the basis for a resilient society, better prepared to absorb the shock of a possible political crisis or conflict.

In Ukraine, the Association of Ukrainian Cities (represented by Nazar Mykolyuk, Expert on IDP and Social cohesion) encourages international partnerships between cities to develop the most efficient hosting strategy of IDPs coming from Eastern Ukraine. Close to 2 million IDPs have fled their home due to the conflict following the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and Russia backed armed forced actions in the Donbass. According to VNG International, represented by Julia Soldatiuk, Eastern Partnership Project Manager, city-to-city partnerships are levers to implement responsible, inclusive and transparent local policies in times of conflicts. It contributes to restore social cohesion and dialogue within a territory.

The willingness to continue these decentralised cooperation projects can be obstructed by the lack of information or feedback on projects on the ground in times of conflicts. It is the case with several partnerships with Nicaragua cities where the direct involvement of Mayors in civil repression have been pointed out by several international reports. Cités Unies France, represented by Jean-Louis Testud, Secretary General  and Deputy Mayor of Suresne, outlines the principle of solidarity between populations and suggest closer cooperation with Civil society.

The Quaker Council for European Affairs, represented by Clémence Buchet, Peace coordination programme Assistant, recalls the role of local and regional governments in peace education to build resilient societies.

The following conclusions were identified after the exchanges :

  • Decentralised cooperation remains a key tool to build sustainable peace via responsible, inclusive and transparent governance.
  • Multi-actors and multi-level dialogue (including aligning it with the MFA policy) is central to guarantee that the cooperation between cities remains a tool serving local populations.
  • The solutions provided by decentralised cooperation are varied, including peace education for citizens resilience and awareness raising. The collaboration with local governments associations and European coordination of networks contribute to exchange information and develop the most relevant partnerships.


The new European political framework 

Marlène Siméon, Director of PLATFORMA, presented the new European political framework during the opening of the Forum, in particular : the nomination of new presidents of the Council and the Commission, along with new commissioners; the European Parliament elections which have modified the existing panorama (with 8 political groups; 60% of MEPs are new comers – 450 are elected for the first time – and 37% of MEPs are women) and finally Brexit remain a major interrogation. Further information were shared on the following day during the Workshop “Understand European Institutions for a successful advocacy”.

The 2020 edition of the PLATFORMAwards

Finally, the Forum was the occasion to launch the 2020 edition of the PLATFORMAwards. This second edition will promote the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goals (SDG). 10 years from the deadline of 2030, the SDG framework remains unknown for many. This is why the 2020 edition PLATFORMAwards Jury will reward the local and regional governments which implement best the 17 global goals. During this Workshop, laureates from the 2018 edition, Sylvain Davila, representative of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region and Edmond Zida, President of the Plateau Centrale Region in Burkina Faso, presented their partnership, So’Faso and the added value to participate to PLATFORMAwards.

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