What happened at AIMF Congress in Phnom Penh?
More than 400 local elected officials, experts and partners gathered in Phnom Penh (Cambodia), from 2 to 5 December 2019, for the Congress of the International Association of Francophone Mayors (AIMF), which celebrated its 40th anniversary. PLATFORMA was there to represent European development cooperation players.
In this year of remembrance of the liberation of Phnom Penh, the resilience of the cities was at the heart of the exchanges. On the occasion of this meeting, the Mayors adopted a Resolution relating to the situation of Adama Sangaré, Mayor of the District of Bamako, a Resolution for enhanced support for refugee populations, and a Resolution on the action of Mayors in matters of biodiversity. They have retained support for 14 city projects, which will improve the living conditions of more than 3 million people. Finally, they wished to become a founding member of the International Observatory of Mayors in Danger (Observatoire international des Maires en danger), currently under construction.
#Climate and #Resilience at the heart of the discussions
How can a city rebuild and regain its life force after the most difficult ordeals? How to prevent and prepare for these situations? The symposium held on December 3 addressed these issues, drawing in particular on the experience of Phnom Penh.
Central to this resilience, climate issues were of course at the heart of the debates. The cities reaffirmed their firm commitment to local action, through a Resolution on the action of Mayors in matters of biodiversity. In addition, the AIMF Prize for Francophone Women was awarded this year to two citizens whose mobilization for the environment is particularly remarkable: the Nigerian Maïmou Wali, President of the NGO Cercle.DEV, and the Canadian Andréanne Laurein, CEO from LOCO Grocery.
#Data governance: adoption of a roadmap
Another major challenge for cities for tomorrow: the management, protection and enhancement of urban data, the production of which is exponential. To strengthen their cooperation on the governance of these data, French-speaking Mayors have adopted a Roadmap which will form the basis of an action program implemented from 2020 with the support of the European Union.
Resolutions and commitments
While an International Observatory of Mayors in Danger is being set up on the initiative of networks of lawyers and NGOs, the General Assembly meeting on December 4 validated the Bureau’s proposal to associate the AIMF with this future association. Around the world, Mayors are increasingly exposed to the risks associated with the exercise of their functions, which they sometimes pay with their lives. This observatory will first of all have the task of establishing an inventory of the situation and establishing a legal benchmark.
The General Assembly also adopted three resolutions: a Resolution relating to the situation of Adama Sangaré, Mayor of the District of Bamako, a Resolution for enhanced support for refugee populations, and a Resolution on the action of Mayors in matters of biodiversity.
Support for local development: 14 projects, 3 million beneficiaries
The Association’s office, meeting on December 3, examined the support program for cities to carry out urban development projects and granted nearly €1.5 million grants for 14 projects that will improve access to culture and education, water and sanitation, health services, but also to boost entrepreneurship. These AIMF grants will make it possible to form financial partnerships of more than €9 million. In Cambodia, this support will concern the structuring of a sludge management system in Siem Reap, and the Mayors have visited this city as part of the monitoring of this operation.
Cooperation follow-up meetings
In addition, the Congress was an opportunity for the working groups and networks linked to the AIMF to meet: the second Conference of Mayors of Southeast Asia was organised on December 2; followed by the meeting of the AIMF’s Innovative Cities Commission, chaired by Nantes, and by that of the Living Together Commission, chaired by Montreal.
The Fast Track Cities networks, an initiative of UNAida bringing together cities around the fight against AIDS, and Zero Palu!, have also organised information sessions for French-speaking mayors.
In addition, to deepen the field cooperation initiated with Phnom Penh, the preliminary studies on the sanitation of the city, carried out in partnership with the AIMF, were restored. A financial round was opened on this basis, in the presence of international partners and donors in the sanitation sector (World Bank, AFD, Jica, B&M Gates Foundation, etc.), for operational implementation from 2020.
For more information, check the AIMF website.