1,300 participants from 38 countries at Cités Unies France “Internationalisation of towns & regions” meeting
The “Internationalisation of towns & regions” meeting, organised on 9 and 10 October 2017, at the Pavillon d’Armenonville in Paris, were a great success. During these two days of exchange and dialogue, Cités Unies France welcomed more than 1300 participants from 38 countries!
These «Rencontres» have confirmed their status of flagship event in the calendar of decentralised cooperation players, both in France and globally. This event is a unique opportunity to reflect on actions covering a wide range of topics related to the local and regional governments’ external action. Crisis management and hosting refugees, the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or the attractiveness of territories were on the agenda, with 10 thematic conferences, 20 country-group meetings, several workshops and side events.
Once again this year, Cités Unies France gave all French and foreign levels of sub-governments – cities, «départements», regions, small municipalities and major cities – the opportunity to come together, to consider new opportunities for exchanges and to create new links for cooperation.
During the plenary session of the «Rencontres», the team of Cités Unies France welcomed Rémy Rioux, Director General of the French Development Agency, Roland Ries, Mayor of Strasbourg and President of Cités Unies France, Louis Giscard d’Estaing, Mayor of Chamalières and Member of the AMF Steering Committee, Mpho Parks Tau, President of UCLG and the South African Association of Local Governments (SALGA) and Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR). The topic of the Plenary was: «What challenges for networks? What tools to develop for an evolving international action of local and regional governments?«
The session provided the opportunity to call on local governments and development stakeholders to share their different experiences more effectively. Roland Ries noted that achieving the SDGs depends on the everyday actions of cities and must also lead to international action by local governments. Parks Tau, reminded the session that networks of local and regional governments make efforts to promote the SDGs and to mobilize their members, make them interact and cooperate at global level. He called for increasing local and regional governments’ resources and for these governments to be recognized as full partners in the achievement of the 2030 agenda at local level. As a concluding remark, Ms. Geneviève Sevrin, the new Director General of CUF, hoped that the next Plenary Session would have a more female face.
“The new Africa-EU partnership: which place for local governments?”
The session organised by PLATFORMA provided an opportunity to look back on the progress made for local governments in Africa and in relations with the EU. Jean-Marie Tetart, Chair of the Committee on international cooperation of the Yvelines department considered that the upcoming 1st Africa-Europe Local and regional government forum was a sign of recognition by the European Union and the African Union that local governments are at the centre of their relations and the development of regions.
For Boubacar Bah, President of the Mali Association of Municipalities, the challenge for associations of local authorities in Africa will be to act upon this recognition, to get States to sign the Charter of Local Self-Government and to establish an environment that is conducive to realising local governments’ potential in Agenda 2063 of the African Union and for the 2030 Agendas.