No Comprehensive Strategy with Africa without local and regional governments
“Decentralised cooperation between Africa and Europe – city-to-city and region-to-region exchanges – is one important tool to guarantee Local and Regional Governments’ role in the development dynamic of partner countries,” states PLATFORMA in a reaction to the joint communication Towards a Comprehensive Strategy with Africa released by the European Commission (EC) and the European External Action Service (EEAS) on 9 March.
This communication will serve as the EU’s input for the African Union – European Union Summit, due to take place at the end of October.
“The key role of the ‘local level’ at different stages is clearly acknowledged”, writes PLATFORMA. The Commission specifically mentions the impact of EU development policy on African local governance, the intensification of “people-to-people contacts through exchange programmes, joint research activities or twinning initiatives” and the potential increase of “strategic and operational coordination and joint action” with local governments.
PLATFORMA especially appreciates the inclusion of “the human dimension of development, as well as the principles of good governance, democracy, rule of law and gender equality”. The umbrella organisation however calls on EU institutions “to remain particularly vigilant on local democracy and local governance, and to actively ensure their promotion and support.”
Peer-to-peer cooperation and multilevel governance
The reaction also highlights “the importance of local government associations’ capacity building in partner countries and local government peer-to-peer development cooperation as a means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other priorities”.
The document concludes on the “outstanding opportunity” of having an event dedicated to Local and Regional Governments at the the EU-African Union Summit in October.
Finally, the reaction includes concrete examples of cooperation partnerships between EU and African local and regional governments.