On 14 and 15 July 2021, a broad consultation workshop was held via the Zoom platform in the framework of the drafting of the “Local Authorities Charter for Gender Equality in Africa”.
Open to the public, the two day workshop aroused the interest of many.
A total of seventy three participants were registered, of which 42.5% were men and 57.5% were women, they came from about twenty African countries, and also Belgium, Spain, France, and Canada.
The Workshop aimed at providing a platform for dialogue, allowing local and regional government representatives, gender experts and civil societies organisations from Africa and Europe to exchange on the Charter in order to have a more inclusive final document, which will reflect the diversity of the African realities and therefore facilitate its application. This was also a first step towards ownership.
In accordance with the established programme, the two-day Workshop was held under the moderation of Mrs. Jacqueline MOUSTACHE-BELLE, Director of the Gender and Youth Department of UCLG Africa.
The opening speeches for the Workshop, were made by Mrs. Macoura DAO COULIBALY, President of REFELA, (Reseau des Femmes Elues Afrique), Mrs. Emilia SAIZ, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments – World and Mr. Jean Pierre ELONG MBASSI, Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa.
Mrs. DAO COULIBALY, recalled the history of the process of elaboration of the Charter and noted its importance as a political instrument aiming at truly engaging Local Authorities on the path of equality between women and men. She affirmed REFELA’s conviction that this Charter will be the starting point of a new era for gender equality in Africa and expressed her confidence that the final version of the Charter will be adopted as planned during the 9th edition of the AFRICITES summit in Kisumu, Kenya, which will be held from 26 to 29 April 2022.
The Secretary General of UCLG World, Ms. Emilia SAIZ, noted the importance of the Charter and the involvement of Local Authorities in the battle for equality between women and men, especially that women
represent more than 50% of the world’s population, and yet remain the most exposed to violence and discrimination. She expressed the wish that the consultation be open to actors from other continents.
The Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr Jean Pierre ELONG MBASSI, recalling the history of the birth of REFELA in 2009. He emphasized on the importance of the Charter to guarantee the presence and participation of women at the local level to become concrete.
He praised the cooperation and collaboration with UCLG World and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), which allowed the idea of this Charter to emerge and become a reality. He also acknowledged that by involving the other branches of UCLG at global level, the dynamics aiming at addressing the issue of gender equality would be more effective and sustainable.
Finally, Mr MBASSI thanked the teams of UCLG, CEMR and UCLG Africa for their excellent work, the fruits of which are visible today. The Consultant, Ms Silvie SIYAM was also commended for her remarkable work. The consultant then presented the Charter to the participants following which they went into three groups work for deliberations of the draft.
Dr. Najat ZARROUK, Director of the African Academy of Local Authorities of UCLG Africa, headed the Arab speaking, Mr. Brygo GAUTIER, Director of the Department of Territorial Coaching of UCLG Africa was with the francophone and Mr. Charles PATSIKA, Adviser on Decentralisation and Local Governance of UCLG Africa was the moderator for the English speaking participants.
The day concluded with a plenary debriefing session of observations and suggestions from the groups.
On the second day the Consultant presented the newly amended draft which had taken into consideration the comments proposals and suggestions the participants had made the day before.
The concluding remarks was made by Mr Frédéric VALLIER, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) said he was impressed by the challenge undertaken since 2018 to make the
Charter for Equality for women in Africa a reality, whereby he referred to the similar work carried out in Europe more than 15 years ago. Mr Vallier congratulated the dynamic that, through REFELA, has allowed African women to be involved in the elaboration of this Charter, thus ensuring that the particularities of the African continent are taken into account. Finally, he reaffirmed the support that CEMR will continue to give to the elaboration of the Charter.
As for the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr MBASSI wished for a strong commitment from all in the implementation of the Charter which, once adopted, will be the subject of a call for voluntary adhesion in the direction of African Local Authorities. UCLG Africa, CEMR and UCLG will need to be ready to support local and regional governments in the implementation of the Charter, in particular through decentralised cooperation with certain European local authorities.
It was on this note that the moderator, Mrs. MOUSTACHE-BELLE, ended the Workshop by thanking the secretary generals of UCLG Africa, UCLG World and CEMR, the team of focal points, the facilitators of the working groups, the consultant and especially the participants.
The African Union (AU) has announced the theme for the 2021 edition of the African Decentralization and Local Development Day (ADD), celebrated on 10 August of each year.
The theme is : “The contribution of arts, culture and heritage in the sustainable development of African cities and territories”.
The African Charter of Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development, adopted in June 2014 by the Heads of State and Government meeting at their Summit in Malabo, in its Article 20 paragraph 4, institutes the commemoration of the African Decentralization and Local Development Day (ADD) on 10 August each year. The celebration of the ADD by all AU Member States is organized under the authority of the Sub-Committee on Decentralization and Local Development of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee No. 8 (AU-STC Nb 8) including the African ministers of public service, urban development and local governments and decentralization.
The theme chosen for the celebration of the ADD is based on the theme of the year defined by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union. The Heads of State and Government of the African Union have defined 2021 as the Year of arts, culture and heritage in Africa. It is in line with this choice that the theme for the celebration of the African Day of Decentralization and Local Development 2021 has been chosen, specified the concept note produced by the AU.
Three sub-themes have been defined, inviting African cities and territories to reflect on them:
Subtheme 1: Using art and culture as levers for social inclusion and for the promotion of the sense of belonging and oneness in African cities and territories
Subtheme 2: Mobilizing the energy of youth to boost the contribution of cultural and creative industries in job creation and sustainable development of African cities and territories
Subtheme 3: Developing activities around cultural heritage as a way to build city identity and to promote city branding and territorial marketing
The celebration aims to:
– sensitize and inform the general public;
– share positive experiences and good practices among Member States; but also
– recognize and encourage cities and territories that excel in the implementation of remarkable actions in the area of arts, culture and heritage.
Read the concept note here.
Read the message here.
On 23 and 24 June 2021, CEMR, Platforma, and UCLG Africa held the first Africa-Europe meeting of young local elected officials, since the Africities Summit of 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco.
This meeting, aimed at finding new avenues of reflection and action, to bring the continents closer through the action of young local leaders. The participants of this seminar were mostly young mayors, entrepreneurs and other representatives of youth Organisations.
Together, the young leaders analyzed the weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities of the Africa-Europe partnership in light of the lessons of the COVID-19 crisis. This 2-day meeting had 3 main highlights, including the opening of the proceedings with contributions from Mr. Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR, who called on young African and European elected representatives to bring the partnership between the 2 continents to a higher level. Ms. Jacqueline Mustache-Belle, Director of the Gender and Youth Department at UCLG Africa, for her part, invited young people to build a collaborative partnership. The contributions that followed the opening of the proceedings emphasized the essentiality of young people for the development of territories on the 2 continents and the need for their inclusion in the decision-making process both on the political level and from the economic and sanitary standpoint.
Ladies Annica Floren, Fiorella Perotto, and Betania Lulu Berhanu from the European Commission mentioned many European Union programs dedicated to youth and especially the place of cooperation of education in what will be the new partnership desired by the young elected officials. It became clear in their message that young people are at the heart of the partnership between Africa and Europe. Ms. Adelaide Hirwe, Secretary General of the African Union’s Diaspora Youth Initiative and Mr. Daniel Ajudeonu of Génération Action Afrique (GAA), for their part insisted on capacity building for young people and its importance for the future of the 2 continents.
The political voice was expressed by 3 local elected officials, Mr. Cemal Bas, Municipal Councilor at the municipality of Keçiören (Ankara), Ms. Thérèse Faye Diouf, Mayor of the municipality of Diarrere (Senegal), Mr. Nektarios Kalantzis, Municipal Councilor of the Municipality of Pallini (Greece), and Ms. Ibticem Atitallah, Deputy Mayor of Sfax (Tunisia). Based on their political experience, the elected officials discussed the means of engaging young people at the political level and highlighted the challenges awaiting young leaders in this new approach to the Africa-Europe partnership.
Thanks to the use of technological tools during this virtual meeting, the participants were called upon in particular to answer the following questions: in a word, how do they see the future of this partnership desired by the young leaders, and what would be the priorities for which the platform of young African and European leaders should initiate discussions and concrete actions?
For the first question, the majority of participants mentioned collaboration, reciprocity, and innovation.
For the second question, the participants overwhelmingly chose: gender equality, migration, climate change, and political and democratic inclusion.
You can see and review the proceedings of the first day and of the second day by clicking on the following links:
As part of the 2021 edition of the European Development Days (EDD), UCLG Africa organized a Lab Debate on 15 June 2021 on the theme of “Unite efforts and cooperate around Innovative and Sustainable Cities”.
Organized in partnership with UCLG, UN-Habitat and Cities Alliance, the session made it possible to share experiences and approaches on innovative and smart sustainable urbanization, with a view to raising awareness of the centrality of partnerships at all levels. The following took part in the debate: Mrs. Thembisile Nkadimeng, President of the South Africa Local Governments Association (SALGA), Mr. Mohamed Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, Vice-president of the Climate Task Force of UCLG Africa, Mr. Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, Romania, Mr Ishaku Maitumbi , Senior Advisor to the Regional Office for Africa , UN-Habitat , Mr. Andries Gryffroy, Member of the Flemish Parliament (Belgium), Mr. Greg Munro, Director of Cities Alliance , and Ms. Sherine Omondo, Young Leader (Kenya). The introduction of the exchanges was made by Ms. Carla Montesi, Director of the Green Deal and Digital Strategy, at the European Commission, and moderation was provided by Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.
In her introduction, Ms. Montesi said that “cities will play a central role in achieving green transformation. There is no one-size-fits-all solution: experimentation and knowledge sharing are essential to scale up”. SALGA President Mrs. Thembisile Nkadimeng stressed that “a green recovery is essential to strengthen local public services, especially so that they reach the people who need them most.” For her, “cities and regions have taken the initiative to show that it is possible and appropriate to continue climate action in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic“.
Sharing his experience, the Mayor of Chefchaouen, Mr. Mohamed Sefiani, explained that his city has relied on strategic planning to implement the vision of a sustainable ecological city. This has resulted in the replacement of conventional lamps by energy-saving lamps for public lighting and in the promotion of local products. Mr. Emil Boc, Mayor of Cluj-Napoca, initiated the concept of “Green Friday” in his city. People are invited to walk at least 15 minutes and use public transport. “As mayors, we must think green, digital and resilience,” said Emil Boc.
UN-Habitat called for mobilizing investments for Africa, and Cities Alliance called on actors to activate access to data and basic services in African cities. In his speech, Mr. Andries Gryffroy endorsed the theme of the meeting by affirming that “the transition to sustainable cities will only be possible by uniting efforts and cooperating“.
The European Development Days also offered space for the “Global Village” virtual stands. The five major international networks of local and regional governments active in development cooperation (AIMF, CLGF, PLATFORMA / CEMR, UCLG, and UCLG Africa) hosted a common booth to showcase the actions of cities and regions in favor of sustainable and ecological transformation.
As a reminder, AIMF, CLGF, PLATFORMA / CEMR, UCLG and UCLG Africa signed a framework partnership agreement with the Commission of the European Union in 2015. Thanks to this partnership, the EU has recognized the role of cities and regions as state actors to address global challenges and implement shared global agendas at the local level.
Watch the videos intervention of the session
On 10 and 11 June 2021, the Regional Forum on “Strengthening the Resilience and Increasing Climate Ambitions of Local Governments in Africa” was held at the Hôtel 2 Février in Lomé (Togo).
Placed under the High Patronage of His Excellency M. Faure Gnassingbé , President of the Republic of Togo, the meeting for local and regional governments of the WAEMU area was organized by United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), in collaboration with the Government of Togo, the Economic Union and West African Monetary (WAEMU), the West African Development Bank (BOAD), UNDP, and Expertise France.
As part of the activities of the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA), the Forum registered the participation in a hybrid format of more than two hundred delegates.
The proceedings were opened by His Excellency Mr. Payadowa Boukpessi, Minister of State, Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization and Territory Development of Togo, representative of the President of the Republic of Togo, and included the participation of HE Mr. Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga, Head of Delegation of the European Union in Togo, Mr. Mohamed Yassine Daoudi, representative of the President of UCLG World, Mr. François Amichia, President of the CCT of WAEMU, Mr. Serge Ekué, President of West African Development Bank (BOAD), Mr. Aymeric Lorthiois, First Counselor of the Embassy of France in Togo, representative of the Ambassador of France, Mr. Markus Wagner, Director General of GIZ Togo, Mr. MacDonald S. GOANUE, Director of the Research and Strategic Planning Department of EBID, representative of the President, Mr. Kossi Dzinyefa Atabuh, Prefect of the Golfe district (in Lomé), and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.
Call for greater involvement of local authorities
The various speeches highlighted the essential role that local authorities must play in the fight against climate change. This requires in particular a paradigm shift as underlined by the President of BOAD, Mr. Serge Ekué. “The WAEMU countries are among the 50 countries most exposed to global warming. We will not be able to cope with climate change without a real paradigm shift in the financing of African economies. It would be wise to involve local authorities as key players to understand and deal with the difficulties encountered by municipalities. It is crucial to include them in the process of planning, preparing, and budgeting for investment plans. Access to financial resources by local authorities should be improved. We stand ready to support local authorities in the context of robust, transparent issues allowing investors to gain the confidence of investors around the world “, he pleaded.
The Togolese government is of the same opinion. “Our local governments must become vanguard actors in the fight against climate change and the acceleration of the continent’s climate ambition. The holding of this forum represents for us an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and convergence of the territories of the WAEMU countries in terms of operational solutions and the search for the necessary financial resources in support of low-carbon growth, in a quality environment”, declared Mr. Payadowa BOUKPESSI, Minister of Territorial Administration, Decentralization, and Territorial Development of Togo.
For the EU, “the regional forum marks the start of the implementation of the national approach of the CoM SSA in Togo, through which the EU intends to support inclusion, an environmental, energy and climate dimension in the decentralization process. We appreciate the efforts of the CoM SSA and of UCLG Africa to rightly promote the action of local governments with other donors, so as to give them the means to access climate finance alongside their national governments”, said HE Mr. Joaquín Tasso Vilallonga, Head of the Delegation of the European Union in Togo.
WAEMU welcomes the opportunities presented to local and regional governments. “This forum rightly reminds us that the territories are partners in the new agenda of resilience and of the fight against climate change. This is an opportunity for us to salute and congratulate the community of technical and financial partners for the many initiatives and projects undertaken in this area by relying on local governments through UCLG Africa. Among these initiatives, we note with great interest the preparation of a climate – energy portfolio and the mobilization of climate finance through the Readiness program, for the benefit of local and regional governments in the WAEMU area with the Green Climate Fund”.
“Local governments must be our active partners to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement“, said in her video intervention Ms. Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC
The two days of the Forum made it possible to address issues such as carbon neutrality and the resilience of African cities and territories, the implementation of the territorialization of Nationally Determined Contributions at the center of post-Covid 19 economic recovery plans, the role of dialogue between the national government and local authorities for improving the territorialization of NDCs, the planning for the implementation of territorial climate plans and capacity building of National Associations of Local Governments, and the mobilization of Climate Finance.
These issues were the subject of in-depth debates during the 5 sessions that led to recommendations that are intended to be a contribution of the local authorities of the WAEMU space to the main events included in the climate agenda, namely, the Africa Climate Week scheduled for August 2021 in Kampala, Uganda; the Climate Chance conference scheduled for September 2021 in Dakar, Senegal; and the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled for Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom, in November 2021 (COP 26), and the adoption of the Lomé Declaration by the participants representing: WAEMU member states; the focal points of the Green Climate Fund of the WAEMU member states; the WAEMU Commission, the Council of Territorial Communities (CCT-WAEMU) and the Presidents of the National Associations of Local Authorities that are members of the Council of Territorial Communities (CCT) of WAEMU; the local authorities adhering to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoM SSA) and their partners; representatives of regional development banks and international cooperation partners.
In the recommendations, the participants in the Forum mainly undertake:
- Integrate environmental and climate goals in the development plans of local authorities and in the post-COVID economic recovery plans in order to make our societies and our economies more resilient to foreseeable future shocks;
- Encourage local authorities in the WAEMU area to adhere to the Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy (CoM SSA) so that they can benefit from the support put in place within this framework for the development of climate and energy plans of their territories;
- Establish a sub-regional version of the African Alliance of Ministers for Urban Affairs and Urban Development launched at the Abidjan Meetings to support African Sustainable Cities, in February 2020. This Alliance of WAEMU Ministers will work primarily under the aegis of the WAEMU CCT on the financing of the climate transition of the cities of the sub-region. The Alliance will engage in a strategic dialogue with the umbrella associations of local governments, the financing institutions of local governments, and the technical and financial partners on strengthening the financing of city climate plans and projects;
- Subscribe to the establishment of a Regional Readiness program targeting the local and regional governments of the countries of the WAEMU area with a view to mobilizing climate finance and contributing to the transition towards inclusive, sustainable, and resilient territorial development;
- Welcome the commitment of WAEMU, EBID, and BOAD to support the implementation of the regional Readiness program intended to support local authorities in the WAEMU space for the definition of portfolios of projects eligible for finance climate. In this regard, we call on these actors to work to make Lomé the hub of climate finance in West Africa;
- Request that within the framework of the planned Readiness Program, with the support of the Climate Task Force of UCLG Africa in collaboration with WAEMU, a capacity building mechanism and a technical assistance tool for the benefit of associations be set up local authorities in the WAEMU area, including through the establishment of focal points for the climate within said associations, the development of awareness and training guides, and the provision of consultants for support technical structure of climate-energy projects integrated into territorial development plans;
- Invite the local authorities of the WAEMU space to adopt a multi-stakeholder approach in the definition and implementation of climate action at the territorial level, and to work with the private sector, the research community, and the civil society to explore innovative solutions and participate in the collection of the data necessary to ensure the monitoring, reporting, and verification of the implementation of the climate agenda within our territories.
The full declaration is available here .
The Summary report is available here.
Find the full forum content below:
The forum photo gallery is available here.
On May 26, 2021, UCLG Africa held a webinar on the theme of “African Cities and Local Governments at the heart of post-COVID Economic and Financial Recovery: The role of the Africa Territorial Agency (ATA)“.
The official opening was made by General Mahmoud Shaarawy, Minister of Local Development of the Arab Republic of Egypt. More than 150 participants including elected officials (Mayors and Presidents of Regions), members of financial institutions (AfDB), Chief Financial Officers of Local and Regional Governments, City Managers, Chief technical Officers, Executive Secretaries of National Associations of Local Authorities, Executives and Directors of Tax and Treasury services, and the Heads of the National Decentralization Directorates of the Local Authorities as well as Officers in charge of development planning at the national level.
Productive exchanges of ideas were held around the sharing of experience of the various actors of the 5 regions of the continent concerning the impact of COVID-19 on the financial capacities of local authorities and the role that the Africa Territorial Agency would play in the provision of additional resources from the financial market and ensure a revival of the more viable financial system.
It emerges from the work that local and regional governments of the continent are determined to adhere to the implementation process of the Africa Territorial Agency (ATA) which will allow them to have access to the financial market in a collective manner.
The proposed next steps include enrolling more members into the ATA cooperative in order to reach 100 or more members. The national associations of local authorities and cities were invited to: 1) Seize the financing opportunities put in place by the AfDB in favor of local authorities, 2) Organize exchanges between them and with their government on ways and means to strengthen the capacities of local authorities to access the financial market.
Follow the different exchanges here .
Check out the ATA presentation brochure here.
The Institute of African Studies at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat in partnership with UCLG Africa organized a seminar on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, to celebrate Africa Day. Placed under the theme of ” Cultural and Creative Economy, lever of sustainable development”, the meeting, held in blended format, both in-person at the Institute of African Studies in Rabat (Morocco) and online via the Zoom platform, who was recorded the participation of a hundred people.
The official opening of the seminar was punctuated by speeches from: Mr. Mohammed Rhachi, President of the Mohammed V University of Rabat, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, and H.E. Mr. Ambassador of Cameroon in Morocco, Mouhamadou Youssifou, Dean of the Diplomatic Corps in Morocco.
They underlined the importance for young Africans to take their place, in their home which is the African Union for the construction of the Africa of We Want. “Many of our young people have doubts about Africa. Young Africans must change the way they look at Africa. Young Africans must have a good esteem of themselves. We are here to invite the youth of Africa to inhabit this slogan “the Africa we want” said Mr. Mbassi. “This is the 58th edition of the celebration of Africa Day, for us, it is a duty of remembrance to African youth to remind them of all the struggle that the founding fathers of African states have had to lead to free the African continent from the yoke of colonization. It is also a moment of reflection to think about the future of the African continent. We are Africans, we must take root in our culture before opening up to the world. No development as sustainable and as comprehensive may be sustainable if it is not based on an endogenous cultural substrate,” explained H.E. Mr. Mouhamadou Youssifou. “This theme highlights a year full of promise for the creative economy. The Mohammed V University has a significant cultural asset with an enrollment of nearly 90,000 students including more than 2,000 students from African countries, neighbors and friends, “said Mr. Mohammed Rhachi.
Students representing each region of the continent actively participated in the discussions and sent creative messages for “The Africa They Want”.
The meeting was punctuated by two discussion panels:
Panel 1: Cultural and creative activities and attractiveness of territories: what prospects for emergence?
Featuring as speakers:
– Mr. Mohamed Mbarki, Director General of the Oriental Agency, Morocco.
– Dr. Najib Kettani, Expert in Development, President of Organization Maroc Afrika, Cultures & Development, Morocco
– Mr. Ibrahima Wane, Professor of African Civilizations at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Director of Doctoral Training in African Studies, Senegal
–Mr. Saliou Ndour, Cultural industries specialist, Professor at Gaston Berger University in Saint Louis, Senegal.
– Ms. Hanane Baali, Professor at the Institute of African Studies, Mohammed V University of Rabat, Morocco.
The second panel focused on: Development of cultural professions, creative arts and design in Africa: what strategies for what impacts in the digital age?
Featuring as speakers:
– Mr. Raoul Rugamba, Founder of “Africa in Colors” and “Hobe Agency”, Rwanda.
– Mr. Brahim El Mazned, Founding Director of Visa for Music, Artistic Director of the Timitar World Music Festival, Morocco.
– Mr. Mehdi Alaoui, Vice-president of APEBI, Founder of the startup Factory, Morocco.
– Mr. Mustapha Moufid, Director of the Culture, Migration, Peace and Security Task Force, UCLG Africa, Morocco.
– Mr. Mohamed Dafir El Kettani, Vice-President of the Mohammed V University of Rabat in charge of Governance and Information System, and Acting Director of the Institute of African Studies, Morocco.
Moderation was provided by: Mr. Abdelkader Betari, Professor at the Institute of African Studies, Morocco and Mr. Gautier Brygo, Communications Director UCLG Africa and representative of the Belgian NGO Echos Communication in Morocco.
The Secretary General of UCLG Africa expressed the wish to institutionalize this celebration with the IEA every 25 May.
As a reminder, the day coincides this year with 3 major events:
– The African Union has adopted, for 2021, the theme of “Arts, culture and heritage: a lever to build the Africa We Want”,
– The UN has declared 2021 ”International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development “,
– United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) designated the city of Rabat as “African Capital of Culture”.
Watch the full webinar here .
The photo album of the event is available here .