The First World Forum of Intermediary Cities, held from July 5-7, 2018 in Chefchaouen, Morocco, and attended by 250 participants from 40 countries, hosted a dialogue between the representatives of the governments of intermediary cities and other key stakeholders, such as international organizations, national and regional governments and representatives of other types of cities.
The meeting of Chefchaouen served as a platform to scrutinize multi-level governance for the implementation of the common Global Agendas. The meeting ended with the adoption of the Chefchaouen Declaration-Charter of the Intermediary Cities of the World .
UCLG Africa took an active part in the debate on the various key themes of the agenda. As the representative for African local governments, it organized the “Multi-level Africa Dialogue for the Implementation of Global Agendas” on the afternoon of July 5, 2018.
The talks, led by the Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, witnessed the participation of different stakeholders on the panel and in the hall. The latter expressed their views on how they imagined the involvement of territories in the implementation of the African Union Agenda 2063, as well as Agenda 2030. Panelists included: Ms. Leila Yassine, Africa Coordinator of the association ‘Climate Chance’ (platform regrouping non-state stakeholders ), Ms. Leontine Bona Weya, First Vice-President of the City of Bangui (Central African Republic), Mr. Mohamed Sadiki, Mayor of the City of Rabat, Mr. Sitholé Mbanga, Director General of Cities Network (South Africa), Mr. Dago Djahi Lazar, Director General of the Department of Decentralization and Local Development (DGDDL) of Côte d’Ivoire, Ms. Nouzha Bouchareb, Climate and Sustainable Development Expert at the Ministry of the Environment of Morocco, and Dr. François Paul Yatta, Director of Programs of UCLG Africa. The different contributions placed emphasis on working in synergy and adopting an inclusive approach, as a necessity, between the various stakeholders in order to ensure the full implementation of the global agendas (Agenda 2063, Agenda 2030, New Urban Agenda, Agenda of the climate, Sendai framework for risk reduction).
In conclusion, it ensues that the African local and regional governments can act on five aspects to implement the global agendas:
– Feeding territories by adopting climate-compatible approaches (40% of the wealth of each territory must be used to feed the territory).
– Building territories (20%);
– Serving territories by delivering the basic services (20%);
– Maintaining territories;
– Administering and managing territories.
Mr. Mohammed Boudra, President of the Moroccan Association of Municipal Councils (AMPCC) and Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, also contributed to discussions.
“The territorialization of SDGs and the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) vests the local governments with a new role which they should fulfill. The territorial space is a space of coherence, it is a space of coordination, a space of implementation, planning and questioning,” expressed Mr. Mbassi at the closing of the session, who also scheduled an appointment for the continuation of the dialogue at the Africities 8 Summit to be held from 20 to 24 November 2018 in Marrakesh .
At the session, “Talanoa Dialogue for Africa-Vertical Integration of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs),” Dr. Paul François Yatta shared the initiative, introduced by UCLG Africa, to establish a national dialogue in order to include the local dimension of NDCs as the only viable course to maintain the level of temperature increase below 2°C by 2100. On this component, UCLG Africa and ENERGIES 2050 published the report entitled, “Challenges and Opportunities for the Territorialization of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa” .
The opening ceremony, held on the evening of Thursday, July 5, also witnessed UCLG Africa taking front stage: The official opening, chaired by the head of the Government of the Kingdom of Morocco, H.E. Saad Eddine El Othmani, was marked by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government of Morocco, UN Habitat, UCLG and UCLG Africa .
The Secretary General spoke about the fiscal and financial mechanisms which could be set up to encourage sustainable development in intermediary cities as well as in the territories. According to Mr Mbassi, the first project of the forum of intermediary cities is to ensure that the distribution of resources is equitable, because the intermediary cities structure the organization of the economy in all countries. A study, conducted by UCLG Africa in 50 intermediary cities in West Africa, revealed that the latter offer rural populations prospects that are four times higher than what the global market offers. Intermediary cities are presented as the poor parents of decentralization. They do not know their tax base and the level of infrastructure is poor and drives businesses away. Thus, there is a need to work on a tax system that upgrades intermediary cities and creates jobs for young people and women.
The Secretary General also contributed to discussions regarding the types of instruments available to further strengthen the cities of the future. For Mbassi, as intermediate cities are now stages in the dynamics of migration, it is necessary to involve these cities in the management of migration (national and international).
“Intermediate cities are the right place to begin the transition to sustainable development,” he said.
Indeed, the performance of national economies will be increasingly dependent on the performance of cities. It is estimated that the financing needs of cities in Africa is 25 billion Euros, yet Africa can only contribute up to one billion Euros. Two solutions proposed by UCLG Africa are: access to the climate finance and access to the financial market. On these two points, UCLG Africa launched, the UCLG Africa Climate Task Force at COP23, in November 2017, in order to prepare local governments to develop projects eligible for the Green Climate Fund and other financing mechanisms. The organization also created the , the African Cities Development Fund (FODEVA) in October of the same year.
The Secretary General also moderated the thematic table on “Upgrading Intermediary Cities in the World: A Unique Opportunity for a Sustainable Development and a Global Territorial Justice“.
Sharing and learning
The last day of the forum was dedicated to the “sharing and learning” sessions. UCLG Africa, through its REFELA Gender Standing Committee, organized the morning session on “Gender and Intermediate Cities“. The afternoon saw the thematic session “Food security: A challenge between intermediary cities and regions“. The session addressed the issue of the localizing of the food economy in the face of the agro-allied industry, which is considered a non-beneficial model for the territories. The mayor of Chefchaouen, Mr. Mohamed Sefiani shared the experience of his local government in raising the value of local products. “We have set up the training of women farmers and we have created the museum of the dieta mediterranea .
It was noted that in France, the fight for the production and distribution of agricultural produce is also critical. 40% of farmers are below the solidarity threshold, which leads to the loss of food balance, said Ms. Geneviève Barat, Vice President of the New Aquitaine region. Her region has adopted the territorial approach in the promotion of dishes of the territories, as well as a regional approach. This is achieved with the involvement of several stakeholders including high schools, locally elected officials and farmers. Ms. Barat insisted on the need to sensitize the young in order to raise their awareness and make them ambassadors of local consumption. An online farmer platform has also been created to provide them with the opportunity to sell their products.
In terms of food security, Mr. Mbassi again made reference to the Songhai project in Porto Novo, Benin, as an example of good practice in Africa. This project aims to create green rural towns with the practice of an integrated farming; organic farming respecting the nature and based essentially on bio-mimicry.
“In Africa, the road infrastructures are very far behind to be conducive for food distribution. It is therefore necessary to structure the markets and this comes under the responsibility of the regions and cities,” he explained.
Read the article “Gender and Intermediary Cities”.