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).

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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.

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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).