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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23rd Session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa (Press Release)

On 24 June 2020 the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa held its 23rd session devoted to the approval of the 2019 accounts of the organization.

This session was chaired by Mr. Léandre Nzué, the Mayor of Libreville and President of UCLG Africa.

Six items were on the agenda:

1. Adoption of the Minutes of the 22nd session of the Executive Committee held on 9 November 2019 in Durban, South Africa.

2. Implementation of the recommendations of the 22nd session of the Executive Committee;

3. Approval of the execution of the 2019 budget and accounts of UCLG Africa;

4. Mid-term implementation of the activities and budget of UCLG Africa for the year 2020;

5. Update on the development of UCLG Africa’s 2020-2030 strategy;

6. Miscellaneous.

The official opening of the session was made by the Minister of Local Development of Egypt, General Mahmoud Shaarawy in the presence of: Dr. Mohamed Boudra, President of AMPCC (Morocco), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa Region, President of the world organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG); Mrs. Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the West Africa Region; Mr. Uwimana Innocent, President of RALGA (Rwanda), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the East Africa Region; Mr Jeffry Sibisibi, President of BALA (Botswana), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the Southern Africa Region; Ms Thembisile Nkadimeng, President of SALGA (South Africa), Co-President of UCLG; Mr. Armand Béouindé, Mayor of Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), President for Africa of UCLG; General Khaled Abdel Aal, Governor of Cairo (Egypt); Mrs. Fatimetou Abdel Malick, President of the Regional Council of Nouakchott (Mauritania); and Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

In his speech, General Mahmoud Shaarawy reiterated Egypt’s commitment to UCLG Africa. “We are working for the signing of the headquarters agreement with a proper inauguration as soon as possible after the end of the global health crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are also working for the signature and ratification by our country of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development and the African Union Public Service Charter. Egypt, will very soon host the work of the Bureau of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee No. 8. Egypt is committed to supporting the actions of UCLG Africa in the next steps and I take this opportunity to invite the members of the Executive Committee to take part in the second edition of the conference, “African cities, locomotive of sustainable development.” We advocate for this conference to become an annual meeting in the program of UCLG Africa. It is also important to inform you that the President of the Republic has appointed women as Deputy Governors and I have appointed a large number of women leaders to take up positions at the head of cities and positions of responsibility, which will strengthen the role and activity of women in the different governorates of Egypt,” the Minister said.

Members of the Executive Committee warmly welcomed the return of the Mayor of Bamako, Mr. Adama Sangaré to his pan-African family. After 7 months in prison, the Mayor of Bamako (Mali) was released on 21 May 2020. This liberation crowns the powerful movement of support and solidarity that was shown by his peers on both a continental level (UCLG Africa Motion of Support) and global level. “I am very happy to be back among you, after these 7 months of a very hard absence, but which I spent in a pleasant way with the support of my peers. I would like to thank you on behalf of the Bamako City Council for your efforts to get me back to the municipal office. Wherever the oppression continues on the mayors that we are, we will have to continue the fight because the struggle must be permanent. As long as the status of local authorities that we are, will not be determined, decentralization will not be able to evolve as we wish and the development of Africa will not be what we want for the best of our people,” said Mr. Adama Sangaré.

The Committee approved the activity report, the budget execution report and the audit report for the accounts of UCLG Africa for the financial year 2019 and discharged the Secretary General for his financial management. The Committee welcomed the continued support of the Kingdom of Morocco to UCLG Africa and requested the Secretary General send an official letter of thanks to His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

It expressed its satisfaction for the work carried out by the General Secretariat team, particularly in the strengthening of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA); for the training activities carried out under the aegis of the Africa Local Government Academy (ALGA); and for the launch of initiatives concerning the involvement of local and regional authorities in the territorialization of Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the Global Urban Agenda.

The Committee welcomed the excellent cooperation between the European Commission and UCLG Africa and expressed its appreciation for the invitation made to the territorial authorities of Africa, to take part in the programing process of the 2021-27 cycle of European cooperation in African countries, scheduled for July to October 2020. They thanked the Secretariat General for the webinars that it organized on 7 May and 19 June 2020 with a view to raising the awareness of UCLG Africa’s member associations on the programing exercise of European cooperation; and for the provision of consultancy services to members, to enable them to prepare the dialogue with the State and the Delegations of the European Union on the programing process of European cooperation.

Committee members were briefed on the progress of the study of UCLG Africa’s 2020-2030 strategy entrusted to the PwC consulting firm to which they shared their opinion on the two options proposed for the continuation of the study. The Committee agreed to the continuation of UCLG Africa’s interventions according to three pillars: 1) Institutional Development; 2) Advocacy and Mobilization in favor of decentralization; 3) Capacity Building and Knowledge Management for members, to which a fourth pillar was added 4) Technical Assistance for the development and implementation of concrete projects.

Regarding miscellaneous items, the members of the Executive Committee expressed their wish that work be carried out on the role of local and regional authorities in Africa in the face of COVID-19 pandemic. The Secretary General informed members that as part of the measures taken to support cities in the fight against the coronavirus, UCLG Africa had produced a report jointly with UN Habitat, UNECA, UNCDF, Shelter Afrique and the African Union on the theme: “COVID-19 in African cities: Effects, responses and policies”. He requested members share information on the actions carried out at their level to address the pandemic, with a view to enriching the feedback of experiences and gather elements to prepare post-COVID proposals that supported local and regional authorities, to be submitted to governments and development partners.

The Secretary General further informed members of the Executive Committee about the postponement of the first celebration of the African Capitals of Culture, which was due to be launched in Rabat, Morocco, in March 2020 and its postponement to a later date, due to the containment ordered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The UCLG Africa Secretariat will consult with the City of Rabat and the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco to decide a new launch date for the celebration in Rabat in 2020 and 2021.

Finally, the Secretary General pointed out that the second edition of the African Union (AU)-European Union (EU) Forum of Local and Regional Government Leaders would be held during the week of 19-23 October 2020, in the framework of the next AU-EU Summit of Heads of State and Government, during which the Global Partnership between Europe and Africa would be adopted. He requested that members of UCLG Africa mobilize to take part in this important event.

For further information please contact:

Gaëlle Yomi: Tel: + 212 610 56 71 45


About UCLG Africa

United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) is the continental organization representing Africa’s local and regional governments. UCLG Africa brings together 48 national associations of local governments and more than 2,000 cities and local governments that are direct members. Through its members, UCLG Africa represents more than 350 million African citizens. UCLG Africa’s main mission is to promote decentralization in Africa and the strengthening of the role of local and regional authorities in the development and integration of the African continent.

UCLG Africa’s bodies include
1) The General Assembly, which brings together all the members of the organization every three years for the Africities Summit, the most important platform for dialogue on decentralization in Africa;
2) The Pan-African Council of Local and Regional Authorities comprising of 45 members (9 from each of the 5 regions of Africa), which meets once a year and supervises the implementation of the organization’s policy between meetings of the General Assembly;
3) the Executive Committee comprising of 16 members, including 3 members for each of the 5 regions of Africa and the President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA);
4) the Bureau comprising of the 5 Vice-Presidents, from whom the President of UCLG Africa is elected, who will be responsible from 2019 to 2021 to the City of Libreville represented by its Mayor, Mr Léandre Nzué;
5) the General Secretariat, placed under the authority of a Secretary General assisted by a Deputy Secretary General based in Rabat, Morocco, where UCLG Africa enjoys diplomatic status as a pan-African international organization and supported by five Regional Bureaus: in Cairo, Egypt, for North Africa; Accra, Ghana, for West Africa; Libreville, Gabon, for Central Africa; Nairobi, Kenya, for East Africa; and Pretoria, South Africa, for Southern Africa.

Visit the UCLG Africa website:

African Virtual Forum of June 22, 2020 (Press Release)

168 Institutions and Participants, 16.000 followers on UCLG-Africa Facebook Page celebrated the International Public Service Day during the Virtual African Forum on:

“Reopening African Public Administrations:Leading, Managing and Delivering in time of Covid-19 and beyond”

Monday 22 June, 2020, on the platform ZOOM of UCLG-Africa

As part of their sound Partnership and the Celebration of the International Day of Public Service (23rd June each year), the African Local Governments Academy of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (ALGA of UCLG-Africa), the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM), the Faculty of Public Leadership of the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, the African Public Service Human Resources Managers (APS-HRMNet), the Local Africa HRNet, and with the support of their Anchoring Institutes and Partners, including the Directorate for Public Institutions and Digital Government of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA/DIPGD), OECD-GISMA, Steven J. Green School of International & Public Affairs/Institute for Public Management and Community Service of Florida International University (FIU)-USA and the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA), have organized a Virtual African Forum on : “Reopening African Public Administrations: Leading, Managing and Delivering in time of Covid-19 and Beyond”, on Monday 22 June 2020, from 2.00 pm to 19.30 pm on the UCLG-Africa Zoom platform.

The main objective of this Virtual African Forum, the first of its kind, was to organize a space for the promotion of a structured and constructive dialogue around the issues of Public Leadership, Public Services and Human Resources management at Covid-19 time and in anticipation of the reopening of Public Administrations, to exchange on challenges and obstacles, to highlight good practices and to identify areas of progress that could feed into a post-Covid-19 roadmap for a stable, sustainable and resilient Africa.

This Forum aimed to lead a serene debate on the three fundamental pillars of any stable, strong, sustainable and resilient society, namely transformational Leadership, Quality Public Services and Professional Human Capital.

This African Forum was also organized as an important moment to promote Human Capital, a strategic lever for good governance. Finally, the organizers also wanted to place this activity within the framework of the Decade for Action, decreed by the Secretary General of the United Nations, in order to demonstrate their willingness to transform Leadership, to develop, motivate and professionalize Human Resources, and to deliver quality Public Services to citizens.

One hundred and sixty-eight (168) participants from Africa and the world took part in this event, while 16,000 persons followed it on the UCLG-Africa Facebook page.

The official opening was punctuated by the respective speeches of:

Mr Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of the City of Rabat, City hosting the Headquarters of UCLG-Africa, Morocco;

Dr John Mary Kauzya, Chief, Public Service Innovation Branch, Division for Public Institutions and Digital Government (DPIDG), UN-DESA, New York;

Dr James Nkata, Vice President of International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA), Africa Region, Director General of Uganda Management Institute, Uganda ;

Dr Roland Msiska, President of the African Association for Public Administration and Management (AAPAM), Zambia;

Prof. Zwelinzima Ndevu, Director, School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa;

Ms Savia N. Mugwanya, President of APS-HRMNet, Commissioner, Civil Service College Uganda, Ministry of Public Service, Uganda ;

Ms Albertina Tivane, President of Local Africa HRNet, Mozambique.

This initiative was welcomed by all the speakers. These speeches were unanimous in emphasizing the importance of Institutional Development, Transformational Leadership, raising the collective challenges for quality public services, the perspectives of HRM beyond the crisis and the importance of constantly upgrading the skills of public service agents and in general, to have a professional and qualified human capital. The importance of the Sustainable Development Agenda was also recalled as well as the role and contribution of Local Governments in this process. Finally, it was unanimously underlined that this Pandemic of Covid 19 offered a portal to another world and reminded us all of the need for a better collaboration with a solid partnership, to value and share good practices.

The work of the Forum has been subdivided into three Panels. The first Panel was devoted to the impact of Covid-19 on Public Services through African and global experiences. This panel was enriched by the participation of eminent experts, senior civil servants, and academic researchers from Egypt, South Africa the United States and Uganda who gave their testimonies and insights on how the pandemic has impacted public services; how political and public leaders at the central level but especially at the local level have reacted to the scale and manifestations of the Covid-19 in terms of commitment, availability, listening, reactivity, adaptation, communication and resilience and finally the main challenges of the Public Administration before and after the Covid-19 Pandemic.

The second Panel focused on how to reshape the delivery of public services having highlighted above all the crucial role of having competent and professional human resources to do this. Human Capital being an undeniable basic strategic lever of good governance.

This panel brought together speakers from the UN-DESA / DPIDG of the United Nations, SIGMA-OECD, Yonsei University of South Korea, the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender of Kenya as well as specialists in Human Resources issues from South Africa.

The main communications from this Panel focused on the profile of an effective public servant for service delivery during a pandemic / crisis ; the main Risks, Challenges and way forward; the need to professionalize human resources, to be able to count on competent, ethical staff, well equipped and endowed with sufficient resources to be truly at the service of populations.

The third Panel was dedicated to Peer Learning. The Anchoring Institutes of the 5 African regions were invited to share their experience with their peers, focusing on the main challenges they encountered during Covid-19 and beyond, interventions, achievements and best practices during the Covid-19 pandemic as well as actions carried out on Leadership, Public Service and Human Resources Management. The Institutes that shared their experiences were:

– The National Capacity Building Programme for Cities Management (PNFMV), Cameroon;

– Association for the Love of Books and Local Development (ASSOAL), Cameroon

– Special Higher School of Architecture (ESSACA), Cameroon

– Ethiopian Public Administration Association (EPAA), Ethiopia

– Kotebe Metropolitan University (KMU), Ethiopia

– Kenya School of Government (KSG), Kenya

– School of Public Leadership, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

– Enda Ecopop from Senegal

– African Centre for Management and Executive Development (CAMPC), Ivory Coast.

Dr. Najat Zarrouk, Director of ALGA of UCLG Africa closed this third Panel with a presentation of the activities carried out by the Academy during the time of COVID 19 as well as the various projects in perspective.

The Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Mr Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, in his closing remarks stressed that the post-COVID 19 will necessarily be Digital and Numeric. Local governance and public services must therefore be able to become immersed in digitalisation. Entering this era of digitalization should not be done lightly, but above all, there should be a change of mindset at all levels of government and focus on “services to citizens”. He reiterated the importance of public service for citizens, requiring prerequisites, a set of principles such as planning for development, the establishment of a strategic plan, which is an important socio-economic lever that has been left aside for some time. The human resources development community and the spirit of public service for all is crucial. He stressed that the time to act is now to build the Africa we want. Finally, he warmly thanked all the Partners who contributed to the organization of the Forum./.

See pdf here

23rd Session of the Executive Committee of UCLG Africa (Press Release)

Rabat, 22 June 2020

The 23rd ordinary session of the Executive Committee of the Pan-African organization of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) is scheduled to take place on Wednesday 24 June 2020 in virtual format, due to the coronavirus pandemic (Covid- 19).

The meeting will be mainly devoted to the approval of the accounts of the organization; the 2020-2030 strategy of UCLG Africa and the implementation of the recommendations from the Executive Committee held in Durban (South Africa) in November 2019.

The proceedings will be chaired by Mr. Léandre Nzué, Mayor of Libreville (Gabon) and President of UCLG Africa.

The following leaders of UCLG Africa will also participate in this virtual meeting via the Zoom platform:

Mr. Mohammed Boudra, President of GCCA (Morocco), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the North Africa region and President of the world organization UCLG;

Mrs. Soham El Wardini, Mayor of Dakar (Senegal), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the West Africa region;

Mr. Uwimana Innocent, President of RALGA (Rwanda), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the East Africa region;

Mr. Jeffry Sibisibi, President of BALA (Botswana), Vice-President of UCLG Africa for the Southern Africa region;

Mrs. Dao Macoura, Mayor of Foumbolo (Côte d’Ivoire), President of REFELA (Network of Locally Elected Women in Africa);

Mrs. Thembisile Nkadimeng, President of SALGA (South Africa) and Co-President of the world organization UCLG;

Mr. Armand Béouindé, Mayor of Ougadougou (Burkina Faso) and President for Africa of the world organization UCLG;

Mr. Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa.

As a reminder, UCLG Africa’s Executive Committee is the body in charge of the political leadership of the organization. The Executive Committee is comprised of 16 members, 15 members equally representing each of the 5 regions of the continent, (3 for each of the 5 regions), plus the President of the Network of Locally Elected Women of Africa (REFELA – UCLG Africa’s gender committee).

For further information, please contact:

Gaëlle Yomi:
Tel: + 212 610 56 71 45


UCLG Africa: United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), is the umbrella organization that represents the local authorities of Africa. UCLG Africa has 48 national associations of local authorities and more than 2,000 cities and local authorities that are direct members. Through its members it represents more than 350 million African citizens. UCLG Africa’s main missions are to promote decentralization in Africa and the establishment of African local and regional authorities as an autonomous sphere of governance, distinct from, but complementary to, the national government; to support the creation and strengthening of national associations of local and regional authorities with a view to promoting structured dialogue between the Government and local and regional authorities in the definition and implementation of public policies, including decentralization policies; and to contribute to the development and unity of the African continent from the cities and territories.

Visit UCLG Africa’s website:

𝑷𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒔 𝑹𝒆𝒍𝒆𝒂𝒔𝒆-Interaction between the Associations of Local and Regional Governments andEuropean Union (EU) delegations in the framework of the programming process of the EU Cooperation (2021/2027) in Africa:

Rabat, 07 May, 2020

On Thursday 07 May 2020, UCLG Africa organized a webinar on the Interaction between the National Associations of Local and Regional Governments and the European Union (EU) delegations in the framework of the programming process of the EU Cooperation (2021/2027) in Africa.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLG Africa organized a webinar attended by over a hundred people including Presidents of the National Associations of Local Authorities of the five regions of the continent, African Mayors, as well as guests including representatives of the European Commission’s Directorate for International Cooperation (DEVCO), Representatives of the world Organization of Local and Regional Governments (United Cities and Local Governments, UCLG) and experts who facilitated the event.

In his opening speech Mr. Léandre Nzué, Mayor of Libreville and President of UCLG Africa invited his colleagues to take this opportunity to make National Associations of Local and Regional Governments aware of the programming process of EU cooperation. Since the adoption of the 2013 Communication, the European Commission has recognized Local and Regional Governments as state actors and must now be involved in defining the priorities of European cooperation for the period 2021-2027 in the same way as National Governments.

The agenda of the Webinar was presented by Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, who said that although the priority of leaders of Local and Regional Governments is the implementation of concrete projects to solve people’s problems, the continuity and sustainability of these projects need permissive conditions, in particular institutional and financial conditions negotiated at the level of different actors and stakeholders, for their implementation. UCLG Africa has been active on this front at the level of the African Union and the European Union.

On the African Union level, UCLG Africa was the initiator of the African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralization, Local Governance and Local Development, adopted by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union at their Summit held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014. This Charter is a fundamental tool for the definition, implementation and strengthening of decentralization policies in African countries. It is a powerful advocacy document that Local and Regional Governments should adopt to get all actors and stakeholders to support decentralization processes in their respective countries.

To date, the Charter has been signed by 15 Member States of the African Union and ratified by 6. To become an official instrument of the African Union, the Charter must be signed and ratified by at least 15 Members States and these instruments deposited with the African Union Commission. UCLG Africa has set itself the target of the end of the year 2020 for the Charter to become an official instrument of the African Union.

Similarly, UCLG Africa has worked to ensure that Local and Regional Governments are recognized as public authorities at the level of the European Union. This effort began during the structured dialogue that brought together EU institutions, EU Member States, Civil society organizations (CSOs) and Local Authorities. Previously, Local and Regional Governments were categorized as non-state actors, with non-governmental organizations at their core. UCLG Africa has tirelessly advocated for the recognition of the public authority nature of Local authorities, which must therefore be distinguished from NGOs and recognized as State actors. This effort has resulted in the inclusion of Local authorities among the beneficiaries of the thematic budget line reserved until now for Civil society organizations. Some African Local and Regional Governments and their Associations have benefited from this budget line and have been able to implement concrete projects thanks to the funding they have been able to access following calls for proposals reserved for Local authorities.

Another important outcome of the dialogue was the adoption in 2013 of the European Commission’s Communication on “Empowering Local Authorities in Partner Countries for better governance and more concrete development results”. This policy reference document marks a major change, because for the first time, and from now on, the EU Commission officially recognizes Local and Regional Governments as a public authority and state actor and abandons their inclusion among non-state actors. This improvement has led the European Commission to conclude a framework partnership agreement for five years (2015-2020) with five international and continental Associations of Local and Regional Governments, including UCLG Africa.

Read more here

Press release: African cities without street children, the time of action









“Women and youth suffer the most. The risk of infection from the Covid-19 virus is 50% higher,” said Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul (Gambia) and President of REFELA for Gambia, when speaking about the consequences of the Covid-19 virus in informal settlements.

This is proving to be true! The Covid crisis has exacerbated the situation of those who do not have a home. Such is the case for street children who cannot be confined to their homes because they have no home. In Africa there are more than 30 million street children! They live on the streets in conditions of extreme poverty unable to meet their basic needs or receive any education, begging for food and often suffering from serious health conditions. How can these children wash their hands when they have no water? How can they be expected to respect social distancing when they live together in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions?

In Nairobi, Johannesburg, Lagos, Bamako, Dakar, Cairo, and Kinshasa, one can see thousands of street children.  Statistics, when they exist, indicate a far lower number than what the reality is! This phenomenon has many causes: poverty, population displacement linked to urbanization, armed conflicts, socio-political crises, natural disasters and famine. In an increasingly urbanized and connected world with huge inequalities and terrible wars, the issue of street children is affecting an increasing number of cities in Africa, as well as in the rest of the world.

UCLG Africa and its network of locally elected women, REFELA, launched the Campaign for African Cities without Street Children in November 2018, during the Africities Summit in Marrakesh, in the presence of and with the support of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco. More than 60 African Cities have subscribed to the campaign, whose aim is to build a common response to the issue, one which undermines social cohesion within our communities and is a real ticking time bomb that calls into question the resolution of the international community to leave no one behind, as expressed in Agenda 2030.

The Campaign of African Cities without Street Children has been met with great support. UNICEF has shown its interest together with many other international organizations and institutions. However, the campaign now needs to become a reality and to deliver a concrete response to these children who are suffering more than ever.

For this reason, UCLG Africa and REFELA call on the international community to intervene and to provide real assistance. “We need to honour the social pact of our society. The International community can no longer stand by without doing anything to help these children,” said the Secretary General of UCLG Africa, Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi. “We need to support cities to finance projects and build shelters, schools, health and psychological centers for these children. We need to transform words into actions.”

Consult the Second Call for expression of Interest for the African Cities Without Street Children Campaign (+)

Leveraging migrants’ contribution to the emergency and protecting the most vulnerable during the COVID-19 crisis

Barcelona, Spain and Nairobi Kenya, 20 April 2020

As the level of government that is closest to citizens, local and regional governments bear the greatest responsibility for “leaving no one behind”, regardless of people’s legal status.

The Live Learning Series hosted by UCLG, Metropolis, and UN-Habitat, has brought together more than 1,000 participants over the course of six sessions in which participants from local and regional governments, the UN system, and partners from civil society shared their experiences, initiatives, and actions to support their communities facing the pandemic through the provision of key basic services.

The Live Learning Session that took place on April 16, organized in collaboration with the Mediterranean City-to-City Migration (MC2CM) project, addressed the relevance of inclusive responses to the pandemic. During the session, local governments from different regions of the world also shared their aspirations for the future. Mayors and vice mayors from cities that are contributing towards changing the narrative on migration such as Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble, Mounir Elloumi, Mayor of Sfax, Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of Rabat, Souad Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Salvatore Martello, Mayor of Lampedusa, Gissela Chalá, Vice Mayor of Quito, Latif Karadag, Vice Mayor of Gaziantep, were joined by Spyros Oikonomou, Greek Council for Refugees, and UCLG’s and UN-Habitat’s key partners in regards to migration such as Michael Spindelegger, Director General of the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, highlighted the opportunity that local and regional governments have to change the mainstream perception on migration, sharing stories about positive contributions by migrants and countering prejudice. The Executive Director of UN-Habitat further argued that “migrants need to be included in the recovery phase of the pandemic, and it is vital to include them in local planning processes. Solidarity is necessary to regain prosperity”.

The Executive Director of UN-Habitat reminded participants that cities are the major destination for migrants and must remain places of opportunities for all populations, further highlighting the important contributions of migrants to cities’ economic, social and cultural development. She stressed the need to put an end to segregation and foster social cohesion, stop rumours and counter the xenophobia that is spreading around the world.
Mohamed Boudra, Mayor of Al-Hoceima and President of UCLG, argued the pandemic that the world is currently experiencing will change our perceptions and strategies, and in particular regarding solidarity and migration. The mayors of the world are trying to adapt to the situation and meet the needs of their citizens at this time of a serious health crisis, he said and commended the service delivery provided by local and regional governments and the efforts of the whole of society in providing care to all citizens.

“Tomorrow we will no longer talk about migrants but about citizens of cities. Stranded tourists, migrant workers and undocumented migrants are experiencing the pandemic within host communities and they are being treated in the same way in the face of the pandemic.

Michael Spindelegger, Director General of ICMPD, affirmed that the first priority in this emergency situation should be to ensure rights of migrants and foster inclusive societies by enhancing trust and implementing evidence-based responses. The Director General of ICMPD said the input of cities was critical in ensuring inclusive measures in the quarantine phase.

The first part of the Live Learning Experience was a roundtable on how local and regional governments were responding to the need to reach out to local communities regardless of their legal status, their living or work conditions. It was moderated by Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG-Africa, who advocated for building cities of solidarity that contribute to a new perception of migrants.

Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble, emphasized the rise of inequalities that the COVID-19 crisis may bring if measures are not taken and stressed the efforts of Grenoble to enhance access to services for all citizens by issuing local ID cards.

“The City of Grenoble is a land of refuge and safety and despite the crisis, we wish to bring this open-mindedness. Grenoble is an open city with an integrating philosophy that enables migrants to benefit from the local community through citizenship actions, access to participatory budgets, citizens’ councils, housing sports and cultural activities.”

read the rest of the press release here

Digital Technologies and the COVID-19 Pandemic

Barcelona, Spain and Nairobi Kenya, 16 April 2020

  • Covid-19 distancing policies are accelerating the digital transition. Yet even in the wealthiest cities vulnerable people are often not connected.
  • Access to the internet and digital public services now being seen as on essential for dignified living, leaving no one behind. Cities are at the forefront to balance the equality of services, performance, accessibility, choice, security and rights of all citizens.
    The 5th Live Learning meeting was again hosted by UCLG, Metropolis and UN-Habitat on April 15.

    The series started late March and has brought together over 1,000 participants from local and regional governments, the UN system, partners from the civil society and the private sector. Cities across the globe have shared their experiences, initiatives and actions in response to the pandemic. They also shared their frontline views on how cities may transform beyond the outbreak.

    The live learning session on Digital Technologies highlighted the role of new technologies during the pandemic and beyond. Mousa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah, the Deputy Mayors of Barcelona, Laia Bonet, and Milan, Roberta Cocco, as well as representatives from Bogotá, New York City, Amsterdam, and Xi’an, together with partners from the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Global Initiative for Inclusive ITCs (C3ICT), and the Head of the Open Government Partnership Local took part in the session, introduced by Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of Eurocities.

    Maimunah Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, expressed her concern regarding the digital divide, and mentioned how cities and regions can contribute to ensuring that digitalisation leaves no-one and no place behind. On the principle of Human Rights First, also online, she commended the Coalition of Cities for Digital Rights on their work on advancing universal access to technology, data security, transparency, and non-discrimination.

    “Half the world’s population is connected to the internet – the other half is not,” she observed. “Existing inequalities in developed and developing countries will be widened further. Cities can do a lot to ensure that the digital revolution does not leave anyone or any place behind,” she said.

    The Executive Director of UN-Habitat also highlighted that it is time to look at the outcome of COVID-19 as “the new normal”, and how lockdown unlocks opportunities for introducing new technologies and for alternative ways of working.

    Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General of Eurocities, highlighted how the pandemic was showcasing new ways of working that had not been implemented at this scale until now, and warning that technology is not a fix-all solution, stated that: “We need to strike a balance. We need to make sure for the future that we watch out to ensure technologies won’t infringe people’s rights.”

    The first part of the session, aimed at showcasing digital actions undertaken by municipal governments from all over the world and how technology can be shaped by communities in the midst of the outbreak, was moderated by Francesca Bria, President of the Italian Innovation Fund, and UN-Habitat Adviser on People-Centred Smart Cities. The second part, facilitated by UCLG, highlighted the use on technology on the ground, and how the pandemic was affecting our daily lives.

    Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona, described how the city is reducing the digital divide, as a cornerstone of its broader efforts to guarantee universal public services, and how Barcelona had brought in the private sector.

    “We have witnessed the fact that digital technologies delineate social inequalities. What we are learning is important: if such inequalities can be addressed in a context of crisis, they can also be addressed after the outbreak. We should approach digitalization as a human rights issue”

    Privacy was one of the key issues, with Barcelona focusing on the management of data in the aftermath of the pandemic, and Roberta Cocco, Deputy Mayor of Milan, looking at how the city should support citizens through technology, but not if this posed a risk to rights. The concept of smart living beyond implementing tele-working was also introduced by Cocco, pointing to a full digital transformation having been started.

    “We put citizens at the very centre of our action plan. Digital technologies have been the backbone of our response, playing a fundamental role from delivering public services, to securing the basic necessities for those most in need. Now we are working on the tools and a robust digital inclusion strategy that will serve the reopening of our cities to make sure that no one will be left behind.”

    The City of Amsterdam argued against the concept of “techsolutionism”, and the idea that technology, in itself, is enough to combat the pandemic. It was further highlighted that it was critical to avoid false dichotomies between security and privacy by ensuring that the use and ownership and data are with public interest in mind. This sentiment was also echoed by Scott Campbell, representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, who argued that, while technology is an enabler, it is up to governments at all levels to use technology in a way that can protect human rights. An all-of-government response to digitalization was called for by Amsterdam, and resonated as well with the Open Government Partnership, who called for a multi-stakeholder approach to address digitalization, and in particular to ensure that the data being accessed by companies and governments does not interfere with the rights of the individuals.

    An important aspect when addressing the digital divide is how it affects people with disabilities, with G3ICT stating that the recovery phase after the outbreak needs to ensure more accessibility as we move towards the digital era.

    Mousa Hadid, Mayor of Ramallah, argued that local and regional governments have a responsibility towards their citizens to guarantee safety, and stated that Ramallah had worked to ensure a response from day one and was already thinking about how technology could be used in rebuilding

    “We are seeing the engagement of people in the city though technology, and it is important to think about the aftermath, the day after the crisis finishes, we need to think about the psychological aspects, how we can use technology to service communities then.”

    read more here

  • Mobility, a cornerstone of public services in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic


    Barcelona, Spain and Nairobi Kenya, 09 April 2020
    The Live Learning Series hosted by UCLG, Metropolis, and UN Habitat, is going strong with local and regional governments sharing their experiences, initiatives, and actions to support their communities facing the pandemic through the provision of key basic services.

    The third in the Live Learning Series, which was  co-organized with the International Union of Public Transport (UITP) on 8 April brought together local and regional governments, partners from civil society, key actors in the transport sphere, and the United Nations to address issues around urban mobility and the pandemic.

    The Governor of West Java, Ridwal Kamil, the Mayor of Strasbourg, Roland Ries, the Mayor of Banjul, Rohey Malick Lowe, the Mayor of Kigali, Pudence Rubingisa, and. Borja Carabante, Councillor of Madrid were joined by political representatives from MadridMexico CityShenzhen and Toulouse. The political representatives were joined by the UN-Habitat Executive Director, the Secretary General of UITP, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, the President of World Enabled and representation from Creative Mobilities.

    The meeting was opened by the UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, who called for cities to ensure that “all modes of public transport are now considered a public service, to save lives and livelihoods. Cities must now sustain good public service and the trust in good public service.” She said cities should prioritize access to those people who need affordable and safe transport most including those with disabilities and those employed in essential services. And she concluded: “I appeal to all to provide safe mobility today and to start planning the sustainable mobility of tomorrow.”

    The Secretary General of UITP, Mohamed Mezghani, highlighted the need to  maintain public transport networks during and after the outbreak, as a backbone of cities, and in particular to ensure that the health crisis does not become a social crisis. He reminded the meeting of the joint statement signed with UCLG, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), and the International Union of Railways (UIC), that highlighted public transport as an essential service in the face of the pandemic and beyond, as well as integral for the right to move.

    “We want to remind everyone of the crucial role of public transport in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the necessity to maintain this in the current context, and to thank again all public transport workers, our guardians of mobility, for professionally fulfilling their duties and providing a public service,” said the Secretary General.

    Over 160 participants gathered online for the session that explored the challenges to ensuring the right to move in a pandemic that calls on people to stay at home. The first part of the session centred around local and regional actions and challenges in regards to mobility in the midst of the pandemic.

    Local and regional leaders at the frontline, such as the Governor of West Java, addressed measures undertaken to ensure that population movements were slowed down in regards to the homecoming during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which starts later this month. He highlighted how the province was working to maintain the delivery of goods and road transport to provide food for the more than 50 million people in West Java.

    The Mayors of Banjul and Kigali addressed the challenges in mobility when it comes to cities with a large informal public transport system. The informal nature of many people’s work means they can not afford to stay at home, and thus ensuring safe mobility calls for raising awareness, training public transport workers, and providing protective gear. The Mayors also addressed the need to rethink mobility going forward, and to foster sustainable urban mobility policies that can contribute to regeneration after the outbreak.

    European cities are among the hardest hit by the outbreak. The Mayor of Strasbourg and the Deputy Mayor and Secretary of Transport of Madrid provided examples of measures undertaken to ensure physical distancing during the outbreak, and how public transport has been reinforced to ensure a regular connection with hospitals. Reducing the number of people allowed into buses and providing cleaning material to workers were some of the key day-to-day measures mentioned, and coordination among spheres of government and all social representatives were highlighted as essential to maintain safe and orderly transport measures.

    The second part of the session highlighted how partnerships among local and regional government, transport unions and organizations, the private sector and civil society can contribute to ensuring alternative modes of urban mobility, and develop a multimodal approach to mobility. The President of World Enabled called for a rethink of modes of transport around accessibility for all, highlighting that the crisis provides an opportunity to build back resilient.

    The Secretary General of RMT highlighted the importance of protecting workers in the most vulnerable and poorly organized sectors of transport, and argued that the outbreak is now shining a spotlight on cleaners and workers that are often over-looked, saying this was essential for the well-being of societies.

    The delegate general of Creative Mobilities called for linking culture and transport to ensure the right to move and to bolster the outreach of campaigns that bring to light the value of public transport.

    Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, closed the session highlighting the value of public transportation, as it ensures that that key basic needs are covered. She emphasized the importance of maintaining the regularity and frequency of public transport as well as hygienic conditions. She added there was a need to “ensure that we have a safe way of staying at home, but also that we are able to take care of workers. People need to feel safe again in public transport, and this requires adapting to the new realities and providing continued information”.

    The live learning exercises will continue with weekly sessions on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the crisis. Upcoming topics being covered will include access to technology in service delivery during the current crisis, the role of Local Governments’ Associations and migration as cities around the world look at how to overcome challenges with a new generation of solutions.

    Download the Press Release here
    About United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG):

    UCLG is the global organization of local and regional governments and their associations that represents and defends their interests on the world stage. Representing 70 per cent of the world’s population, UCLG members are present in all world regions: Africa, Asia Pacific, Europe, Eurasia, Middle East-West Asia, Latin America and North America – organised in seven continental sections, a metropolitan section and a regional forum. This network covers more than 240,000 cities, regions and metropolises and more than 175 local and regional government associations present in 140 countries. UCLG includes among its main areas of political interest local democracy, climate change and environmental protection, the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals, local finance, urban development and city diplomacy for peacebuilding. Visit and follow @uclg_org for more.

    About UN-Habitat:

    UN-Habitat is the UN agency focused on our cities, towns and communities. UN-Habitat works in over 90 countries supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future. Working with governments and local partners, its high impact projects combine world-class expertise and local knowledge to deliver timely and targeted solutions. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated Goal on cities, SDG 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.   Visit and follow @unhabitat for further information.

    For more details contact:
    Alejandra Salas
    UCLG World Secretariat, Barcelona

    Susannah Price
    Chief of Communication, UN-Habitat
    Tel 254 722 719867

    Postponement of the Official Launch of the celebration of Rabat, African Capital of Culture








    The Organizing Committee of the African Capitals of Culture informs the public and interested institutions that the official launch of the celebration of Rabat, African Capital of Culture, initially scheduled for March 26, 2020, is postponed to a later date in accordance with Order No. 4917 of the Ministry of the Interior dated March 4, 2020, on the measures taken as part of the fight against the risk of propagation of the Coronavirus – COVID19.


    For the Organizing Committee,

    The President

    Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi

    The Secretary General of UCLG Africa

    Download The Release here

    Read the press release relating to the designation of Rabat, African Capital of Culture 2020-2021.