2nd Meeting of the Africa-Europe Committee and of the UCLG Africa working group, in support of the drafting of the “Charter of Local Authorities for Gender Equality in Africa”

Tuesday, 28 July 2020 was the second meeting of the Africa-Europe committee and the UCLG Africa working group, which was held to support the drafting of the “Charter of Local and Regional Authorities of Africa for Gender Equality. “The online meeting was organized by UCLG Africa’s Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) in collaboration with CEMR/Platforma and UCLG, the other stakeholders of the project and signatories of the Marrakech Pact for the promotion of local equality.

The drafting of the Charter forms part of the implementation of the “Marrakech Europe-Africa Pact for Local Equality,” which aims to make progress on issues of gender equality in Africa. The Pact was adopted at the 8th edition of the Africities Summit in Marrakech in November 2018.

The work chaired by Mrs Macoura Dao Coulibaly, President of REFELA, was attended by some 60 members and participants from Africa, Europe, including other continents and countries such as Peru. Opening speeches were made by Mr Léandre Nzue, Mayor of Libreville in Gabon, President of UCLG Africa, Mrs Thembisile Nkadimeng, Co-President of UCLG, Mrs Emilia Saïz, Secretary General of UCLG, Mr Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR-PLatforma and Mr Emil Broberg, President of CEMR’s Standing Committee for Equality.

M. Léandre Nzué, the president of UCLG Africa, emphasized the need to make the charter a reference guide for local and regional authorities on the continent withthe “objective being to arrive at a final text to be submitted to African local elected representatives at the next Africities summit in November 2021“; this to be achieved by encouraging the continuation of the partnership between the 3 organizations of UCLG Africa and its network, REFELA, CEMR-Platforma and UCLG, and to bring the draft charter to completion.

Mrs. Thembisile Nkadimeng stressed the importance of the continent’s local and regional authorities in adopting the charter. “I am convinced that the Charter of Local and Regional Authorities for Gender Equality in Africa is now more necessary than ever, if we want to adopt a path towards generational equality, where women’s leadership is no longer an exception but the new norm. The time has come to ensure the full inclusion and participation of women and girls in the political and social fabric of cities and regions. Equality, especially gender equality, must be placed at the heart of all development processes to ensure that decisions are made conscientiously, without forgetting half of the world’s population when it comes to making decisions that affect us all,” she explained.  (Read More).

Evolution of the negotiation process between the national associations of local and regional authorities and the European Union Commission for the programming period 2021-2027

Since June, UCLG Africa has been providing technical assistance to all national associations of African local and regional authorities in the framework of the dialogue with the central government and the EU delegation at country level for the next EU programming cycle (2021-2027).

Some forty consultants are working with national associations to produce a reference document that will enable local elected officials to conduct national country seminars and produce a road map for programming 2021-2027. These national seminars will bring together all the members of the national association of local and regional authorities to equip them for the major role they must play in the negotiation process.

It should be noted that for the first time, local authorities will participate in this process as a public player alongside the central state, which was previously the only public player involved in defining the priorities of European cooperation.

The reference document prepared by each country consultant will focus on three main points:

– The national development policy and priority sectoral strategies defined and/or implemented by the national government and the level of participation of local authorities in its implementation (including for SDOs and NDCs: National Determined Contributions for the Implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement);

– The implementation of the decentralization policy by indicating the level of involvement of local governments;

– The implementation of EU cooperation in the country, including the National Indicative Programme (NIP) supported by the European Union, the Development Fund under the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement and any information providing an assessment of the involvement of the different actors in the definition, implementation and monitoring of the interventions defined by the NIP.

The month of July enabled the various consultants to present a compendium on the three points mentioned above and an analytical report, documents which will be included in the final reference document. The reference document will also address the strengthening of the participation of local authorities in development and cooperation policy, as well as a roadmap planning the actions of national associations of local authorities.

In addition, national associations of local and regional authorities have already initiated contacts with the ministries, parliament and its committees concerned and involved in the dialogue process and the EU delegations in their respective countries.

October 2020 will mark the end of the negotiation phase of the next EU programming cycle (2021-2027).

The Committee on Morocco’s new development model and UCLG Africa Placing Territories at the centre for balanced development

On 8 July 2020, the President of the Commission on Morocco’s new development model, His Excellency Chakib Benmoussa, granted audience to a delegation of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA Africa) led by its Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, and including Mr. François Paul Yatta, Director of Programs, and Mr. Mohamed Cherkaoui, Head of Protocol and in charge of Relations with Administrations.

The meeting that was also attended by Mr. Mohamed EL Mahdi Gaouane, Director of the Cabinet of the President of the Commission and Ms. Ihssane Guennoun, Task Manager, took place at the Commission’s headquarters in Hay Ryad, Rabat.

The Secretary General of UCLG Africa first welcomed the clear-sightedness of His Majesty King Mohammed VI who felt the need to reflect on a new development model for Morocco before the COVID-19 pandemic imposes the obvious need for it all over the world. He then praised the effective way Morocco is managing the health crisis related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed the thanks of the community of mayors and heads of local authorities in Africa for the solidarity shown by the Kingdom of Morocco towards its sister countries in Africa through the sending of medical and protective equipment and medicines to these countries, at a time when everywhere else in the world the pandemic has created a reflex of selfishness.

Mr. Mbassi then recalled the important role that the Government of Morocco has played in the creation of UCLG Africa. In particular, he underlined the fact that since the organization’s headquarters were established in Rabat, Morocco, in 2008, UCLG Africa has continued to receive multifaceted support from the Moroccan Government and local authorities and their representative associations, all of which are members of the continental organization.

At its founding congress held in May 2005 in Tshwane, capital of the Republic of South Africa, the members of UCLG Africa defined the general objective of the continental organization of local and regional authorities as contributing to the unity of the continent and promoting its development from the bottom up. It is this orientation that guides the commitment and action of the 48 national associations and some 2,000 cities and territories across the continent regrouped within UCLG Africa.

This return to the territories or to the impulse of development from the territories is now a must for all countries wishing to improve the standard of living and the living conditions of their populations in a sustainable way.

This reflection has matured within UCLG Africa over successive Africities Summits, one of the most remarkable of which took place in Marrakesh in December 2009, under the leadership of His Excellency Chakib Benmoussa, then Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Morocco.

Read More.

Renewal process of the UCLG Policy Councils

As you know, the UCLG Policy Councils provide an opportunity for political representatives to participate in the Organization’s policymaking and to have their views raised before the UCLG’s governing bodies.

The Policy Councils usually meet twice a year, in the framework of the UCLG statutory meetings (Executive Bureau in the first half of the year / World Council in the second half).

Four Policy Councils are currently active:

The Policy Council has carried out its mandate to place the focus on shifting the narrative around Migration, as well as debating views on how to support the realization of the right to adequate housing for all.

The Policy Council has brought the views on Culture as the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development, protecting its core value, and fostering city diplomacy and dialogue as a way to promote peace.

How to carry out an integrated territorial approach to development and, in particular, how to promote local governments’ access to finance by rethinking and strengthening subnational financing in order to better provide basic services for the citizens has been the main focus of the Policy Council.

The Policy Council has promoted the role of local governments in creating the Global Alliance on Urban Crises, and has worked to highlight the role local and regional governments can play in carrying out an ecological transition. The Declaration on Humankind Rights was recommended to be adopted at the Executive Bureau in Montevideo after being debated by the Policy Council.

The above themes are the results of the priority axes of our Organization and reflect key issues covered by the global agendas for development. It is clear that the work of the above Councils remains very relevant and that they will need to adapt their focus to the post-COVID reality.

The Executive Bureau also validated the need, expressed by the membership, to develop a 5th Policy Council dedicated to the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, which could pay special attention to the work of local government associations in the country wide implementation plans.

[For more information on how the Policy Councils function, you can read the Terms of Reference adopted by the Executive Bureau in Madrid in 2017]

How to express your interest in actively participating in the Policy Councils

Should you be interested in becoming a member of a Policy Council, we invite you to send an email to UCLGExBu@uclg.org by 10 September at the latest, indicating in the subject of the email “Policy Councils renewal” and the name of the Policy Council you would be interested in.

If you are already involved in a Policy Council and wish to continue your work, please also write to UCLGExBu@uclg.org, following the same indications.

Next steps

  • All the expressions of interest will be put to the consideration of the Presidency during its next meeting in September (date to be confirmed).
  • The Committee on Statutory Affairs will conduct a final revision and will present the proposals to the World Council in November.
  • Renewed priorities for the work of the Councils are expected to be developed until the Executive Bureau of 2021 following initial discussions at the World Council.

Should you have any questions on the process, the statutory affairs team remains at your disposal at the same email (UCLGExBu@uclg.org).

UCLG will call for maintaining the SDGs as the framework for the COVID-19 recovery at the 2020 HLPF

The 2020 High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) will take place virtually from Tuesday 7 July, to Thursday, 16 July 2020. Under the auspices of ECOSOC, this year’s theme is “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”.

The gathering will assess the state of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the midst of the outbreak, allowing participants to reflect on how the international community can respond to the pandemic and set us back on track to achieve the SDGs and accelerate action.

Local and regional governments are proving that solidarity among territories and communities is critical to build a future that leaves no one and no place behind. During the HLPF, our constituency will address the importance of the 2030 Agenda as a framework for the transformative measures in the aftermath of the pandemic, as well as the need for the renewal of the current multilateral system as integral to address the shortcomings of our current development systems.

The Local and regional Governments’ delegation at the HLPF

UCLG and UN Habitat: VLR Series Launch (8th July). UCLG, together with UN-Habitat, will be presenting the first volume of Guidelines for VLR, aiming to showcase the value of VLRS, beyond their importance in the monitoring and reporting process towards the global goals, but also as a political process that can enhance coordination between spheres of government. VLRs are an integral element that can contribute towards multilevel governance and the transformation necessary to achieve just, resilient, and sustainable cities, territories, and societies that leave no-one and no place behind in the aftermath of the crisis.

Local and Regional Governments Day (10th July) UCLG, on behalf of the GTF, is convening a dedicated event of the organized constituency of local and regional governments at the HLPF. The objective of the LRG Day is to bring together the whole delegation of local and regional governments to discuss and agree on the constituency’s Statement to the HLPF; reinforce linkages with partners from the UN, civil society, and other stakeholders; and define the priorities of the constituency for the decade of action.

The Local and Regional Governments’ Day will also see the launch of the fourth “Towards the Localization of the SDGs” report, our constituency’s report to the HLPF. This year’s edition highlights the progress made on the local involvement in the monitoring and reporting process of the global goals, as well as the measures that local and regional governments are implementing to carry out the SDGs in their territories and overcome the pandemic.

Local and Regional Governments Forum (13th July) The Global Taskforce, facilitated by UCLG, will be co-organizing the third edition of the Local and Regional Governments’ Forum with UN DESA, UN-Habitat, UNDP and the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General. The overall objective of the Local and Regional Governments Forum is to produce a fruitful debate and strong commitments from local and regional governments, national authorities and the international community to support a transformative bottom-up process grounded on multilevel governance based on the achievement of the SDGs in the aftermath of the COVID19 crisis, while contributing to the Decade of Action. The LRG Forum will debate the importance of basic service delivery, the need for a renewed multilevel territorial governance in the midst of the pandemic, and how to carry out a full collaboration among spheres of government to build back better after the outbreak.

Dialogue between UCLG and UHC2030 (14th July) Co-organized with the WHO the session will aim at envisioning the future of health services and the critical role that local governments can play to ensure that no-one is left behind in our communities. Through an open dialogue between our constituency, experts on health, and high-level authorities on the matter, the dialogue will aim at ensuring the link between science and policymaking, and move the conversation on universal healthcare forward by highlighting the necessary steps that need to be taken to protect the public servants that take care of all.

More information:

UCLG Africa leads the advocacy for the Territorialization of NDCs





The launch of phase III of the Covenant of Mayors for Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) dedicates to UCLG Africa the responsibility for policy advocacy and strategic coordination through three pillars, namely: the mobilization and capacity building of National Associations and the mobilization of climate finance from Donors.

This third phase has four main objectives:

-Ensuring access to funding for CoM SSA signatory cities;

-Strengthen synergies between the CoM SSA and other initiatives;

– Increased support from national authorities to local climate action through a Structured Dialogue between Associations of Local and Regional Authorities and National Governments;

– Strengthen the capacity and role of local government associations to promote local climate action in cities.

Creation by GCoM of the RLDC Committee

The Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (GCom) has created an Ad-Hoc Committee whose mission is to establish a methodological guide for the development of the concept of Locally Determined Contributions (LDCs).

The Climate Task Force is part of this Committee and has put forward its LDC Initiative based on a Cooperation model that takes into account in a combined way two approaches, a bottom-up approach led by local governments and a top-down approach led by national governments. In this framework, a practical guide on the territorialization of LDCs in Africa was developed and presented at the 1st meeting of this Committee.

Read the RLDC4Africa  fact sheet submitted by UCLG Africa.

It should be noted that UCLG Africa is now part of the Paris Committee Network on Capacity Building “PCCB-Network”. This Network, which brings together entities or initiatives involved in climate-related capacity building, will further strengthen the operational capacities of Local Government Associations in the context of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Another action carried out by UCLG Africa’s Climate Task Force is:

The mobilization of African local and regional authorities to take part in the survey conducted jointly with the OECD on water governance at the level of African local and regional authorities. This survey is part of the preparation of the 9th forum organized by the OECD in March 2021 in Dakar (Senegal) on “the governance and economics of water security for sustainable development in Africa”. About fifty African cities participated in the survey (see the list of cities).  During the Forum, a round table dedicated to African local authorities will be held, jointly led by OECD and UCLG Africa.


Africa’s Cultural and Creative Sector Defines the New Normal

Despite the challenges of Covid19, the continent’s rich and diverse cultural and creative industries have emerged fighting for survival and facing the greatest challenge to re-define itself, as public performances are restricted and entertainment venues and tourist attractions remain closed.

In 2018 United Cities and Local Governments of Africa launched the African Capitals of Culture during its
flagship event Africities in Marrakech, Morocco. This cultural celebration, being a first on the continent, will
follow a similar model to the well-established European Capitals of Culture, which has been running for over 35
years. The European Capitals of Culture initiative was designed to:

  • Highlight the richness and diversity of cultures in Europe
  • Celebrate the cultural features Europeans share
  • Increase European citizens’ sense of belonging to a common cultural area
  • Foster the contribution of culture to the development of citie

Read more

Closing of the GFMD 2020 regional consultation process in Africa

The official closing session of the African consultations of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) was held on 23 June for the English-speaking countries and on 25 June for the French-speaking countries, in the presence of the representatives of the co-chairs of the regional consultation process (United Arab Emirates and African Union), the 3 thematic experts and the representatives of the 3 GFMD mechanisms (civil society, mayors and the private sector).

UCLG Africa and the city of Ouagadougou took the floor during this session on behalf of the Mayors’ Mechanism.

The closing session was marked by two highlights, first the word of the representatives of the different mechanisms who thanked the organizers for holding these virtual meetings; then the exchange on possible partnerships between the different actors.

The mayors’ mechanism has highlighted three points:

– The importance of multi-stakeholder dialogue platforms necessary for local elected officials to find new allies and partners.

– The role of local elected representatives in changing the discourse on migration, as local and regional authorities, being at the forefront of migration management, have an impact on the lives of migrants.

– The need not to forget migrants

It should be noted that with regard to partnerships, the African Union has promised to work more closely with local and regional authorities on the issue of migration in Africa.

The African consultations agreed on the following 4 points:

  • Participation and partnerships: National and regional migration policies should be designed in coordination with all stakeholders, including local and regional authorities, the diaspora, civil society and the private sector. There is also a need to test new partnerships in which cities engage directly with humanitarian and development actors and are eligible to directly benefit from technical and financial support.
  • Legal framework and access to resources: In practice, local governments are the ones who ensure the inclusion of migrants in the local community. However, they often lack the legal framework to engage in the governance of local migration. Existing migration governance frameworks need to include decentralized actions and resources.
  • The importance of data at the local level: There is a lack of reliable data on the vulnerabilities of the population, especially at the local level.
  • Access to services: The importance of providing access to protection and social security for migrants, regardless of their migration status.

Read the intervention of the Secretary General of UCLG Africa here.

Read the intervention of the Mayor of Ouagadougou (in French) here.

Read the full report (in French) here.

UCLG Africa resolve to support local authorities and their national associations in dialogue and interaction with central government and the European Union delegation at country level in the framework of the new programming of EU cooperation (2021-2027)

UCLG Africa organized a second webinar on 19 June 2020 as part of the preparation of local and regional authorities and their national associations in dialogue and interaction with central government and the EU delegation at country level at the next EU programming cycle (2021-2027).

Aimed at permanent secretaries of national associations of local and regional authorities and national consultants in charge of technical support to the national association, this second meeting followed the webinar held on 7 May for the benefit of presidents and permanent secretaries of national associations.

The European Union will start the programming process of its cooperation with partner countries for the period 2021-2027 in July 2020. For the first time, local authorities will participate in this process as public actors alongside the central state, which was previously the only public actor involved in defining the priorities of European cooperation.

In order to carry out this process, it is important for African local and regional authorities to focus on two stages:

– The first step must concern the dialogue with the State and Government to build a united front of public authorities and have a common position on the priorities that the public authorities of the country wish to put forward in the framework of the European Union’s cooperation program.

The second step will involve negotiating with the European Union delegation the priorities for the new cooperation and the concrete arrangements for its implementation.

The meeting saw the participation of 22 national associations of local and regional authorities and consultants retained by UCLG Africa, to support them technically in order to succeed in the negotiation process. The secretariat of UCLG Africa proposed that the associations that wish to mobilize the services of a consultant do so at their own expense.

In his speech, the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, recalled the selection process of consultants that was done jointly with the national associations. The latter has submitted a short list of five country consultants, one of whom was selected by the selection committee of UCLG Africa.

Mr. Mbassi referred to the new context favorable to the participation of local authorities in European cooperation, the obstacles to be overcome for the full participation of local authorities in the programming process of EU cooperation, the preparation of local authorities to play a proactive role in the programming process, the strategic dialogue to be engaged between the central state and local authorities and the importance for EU delegations to interact with local authorities.  He concluded by presenting the 5 steps proposed by UCLG Africa to facilitate the integration of local and regional authorities in the programming of EU 2021-2027.

Step 1: Strategic dialogue between the national government and the national associations of local authorities;

Step 2: Joint/concomitant consultation between public authorities (central government and local authorities) and the European Union’s delegations as part of the European cooperation programming process;

Step 3:  Negotiation and Conclusion of a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPAs) between the EU Delegation and the NALAs for the duration of the cycle;

Step 4: Exploration with the central State and the EU delegation of funding mechanisms guaranteeing direct access and LAs to European cooperation funds;

Step 5: Influencing the drafting by DG DEVCO of guidelines and a political orientation note relating to the integration of LAs in European cooperation.

Following Mr. Mbassi, the President of UCLG and President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Communal Councils (AMPCC), Mr. Mohamed Boudra, gave a word of encouragement to the participants. He stressed that the work to be carried out was at two levels, “The political level and the technical level.  We have a platform for the Africa-Europe dialogue through the first Africa-Europe Local Government Forum to be held in 2017. The declaration produced at this meeting must be used as a basis for negotiations at the political level.  The struggle for decentralization is not easy. It is a permanent struggle to make it a success and it must be conducted in such a way as to avoid breakdowns. Partnership with the EU is important for the success of decentralization.

The space was then given to exchanges with the permanent secretaries and consultants on three fundamental aspects: the understanding of the consultants’ terms of reference, the nature of the relationship between the State and the association in each country and how participants appreciate the 5 proposed steps. The terms of reference were accepted by the different associations and the consultants.

The relationship between the central government and the associations of local and regional authorities will materialize through dialogue in several countries. This is the case in Senegal, Cameroon, Zambia, Liberia, Mozambique, Burundi, Benin, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. Nevertheless, tensions can arise when it comes to the transfer of resources. “The challenge is to create good relations with central governments for finance,” says Maurice Mbolela, Permanent Secretary of the Local Government Association of Zambia.

Guinea’s relations with the central government are considered to be average. In Libya, the context of crisis in which the country finds itself with two governments at the helm, does not allow local authorities to play their role fully.

Some associations have already contacted the EU delegations in their countries. For Mali, the AMM (Association of Municipalities of Mali) made initial contact after being informed of the new dynamics adopted by the EU, during the first UCLG Africa webinar.  This is also the case for Comoros, Zambia, Mozambique and Mauritania. In Benin and Burkina, ANCB and AMBF are used to working with the EU delegation.

In addition, the national associations present adhered to the 5 proposed steps and committed to holding national webinars to prepare their members for further negotiations.  Some countries expect to manage tight deadlines due to the installation of new mayors (Comoros) and the renewal of the national associations’ bodies (Cameroon).

Others raised the difficulty of access to the Internet for the holding of the national webinar, (Burundi, Liberia, and Chad). The schedule of national webinars for those who can attend will be established at the end of June. The meetings will be held with the logistical support of UCLG Africa.

At the close of the meeting, Mr. Mbassi emphasized that, “it is important to work with the State for the recognition of local and regional authorities as public actors. In this sense The African Charter on Decentralization is a strong argument to start the dialogue with the central state,” he explained. “Furthermore, the EU recognizes local and regional authorities as partners and all countries have adopted Agenda 2030, which will have to be localized so not to leave anyone on the sidelines. We must therefore seize the opportunity offered to us by European programming. The central state must know that it has a new ally, the local and regional authorities, to improve the lives of its citizens. At the end of these dialogues, a framework agreement must be concluded between the three parties.


Webinar REFELA: review and prospects in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic

On 3 June 2020, the members of the Pan-African Council of the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) hosted a webinar for their 3rd statutory meeting and their 1st meeting of the year with the theme: “REFELA: Assessment and perspectives in the context of the Covid 19 pandemic.” The webinar was chaired by Mrs. Dao Macoura Coulibaly, Mayor of the commune of Foumbolo (Ivory Coast) and President of REFELA, in the presence of the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi.  More than 68 people attended, made up of women, mayors and local elected women, members of REFELA and also members from the national chapters of REFELA.

In her opening speech, the President of REFELA said that the main objectives of the webinar were to : (i) take stock of achievements; (ii) examine the prospects in the light of the current situation marked by the Covid 19 health crisis; (iii) and define the most appropriate trajectories to pursue for the achievement of the objectives that the Network had set in the framework of its three-year action plan 2019-2021, around the five points on the webinar’s agenda.

The debate opened on three points relating to the impact of Covid-19 on the implementation of the 3 campaigns by African cities; on the process of drafting the Charter of Local and Regional Authorities for Gender Equality in Africa and on the implementation of the national chapters (REFELA-Countries), as strategic and priority actions, inscribed in the agenda of REFELA 2019-2021. These 3 points were introduced successively by Mrs. Mariam Iddrisu, Mayor of Sagnarigu and President of REFELA Ghana, Mrs. Ratsimbazafi Sahondramalala Esther, Mayor of the Commune of Fianarantsoa in Madagascar, REFELA Vice-President for East Africa, and Dr. Malika Ghefrane Giorgi, the Network’s Special Advisor. Elements of the discussion were synthesized by Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of ALGA.

Read More.