The National Stadium of Praia (Cape Verde) hosted the 4th World Forum on Local Economic Development over four days starting September 20, 2017.
Why, when we are just minutes away from the last plenary session, which preceded the closing ceremony of this meeting?
Participants, present in the country of Cesaria Evora, converged on Santiago where the final deliberations of the Forum took place. Figures released from the organizing committee showed over 2000 people participated in the plenary session, Building sustainable cities for locally rooted investment, decent jobs, services and inclusive growth.
The session, moderated by the Secretary-General of UCLG Africa, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, featured a panel of prominent dignitaries including the Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Mr. Ulisses Correia e Silva; the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, Mr. Mohamed ASIM; a Member of the Cape Verdean Parliament and former member of the municipal council of Santo Antao, Ms. Vera Almeida; the co-Director of the Global Development Fund for Cities (FMDV), Mr. Carlos de Freitas; the Mayor of Yunchará, Bolivia, Ms. Gladis Alarcón; and the Mayor of Ouahigouya, Burkina Faso, Mr. Boureima Basile Ouedraogo.
The Prime Minister of Cape Verde, Mr. Ulisses Correia E Silva, elaborated on the initiatives taken in 2008 stating, “In Praia we worked for satisfying primary needs by educating citizens about the importance of having a city where it is good to live. This is how we have reduced informal settlements in the streets and inculcated into people the need for a clean city.”
The current municipal team of the city of Praia has continued this work to repeated applause for the cleanliness of the Cape Verdean Capital. “I would like to congratulate the Mayor of Praia, because for the last four days that I have been here, I have not seen a single plastic bag in the city of Praia,” commented Mr. Boureima Basile Ouedraogo, Mayor of Ouahigouya.
With regard to the Maldives, good practices, in terms of resilience was also evident. “We are a small archipelago that brings together thousands of islands of which 103 are inhabited,” said Mr. Mohamed ASIM, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Maldives. “Fishing and tourism account for 80% of our GDP. Our innovation lies in the development of sustainable tourism. We also promote angling to preserve our maritime environment.”
Challenges in housing, due to the overcrowding of the capital, are being managed by the Maldivian authorities and have seen the creation of cities of youth. “These cities have more infrastructures (sanitary, educational, etc.), which allow young people to grow in an appropriate setting without the need to migrate to the capital. Young people are the key players for our government,” said the minister.
Women at the heart of the action
In Yuncharà, Bolivia, women have been the main focus. The mayor and her municipal team have involved women in achieving the goals of inclusion, providing basic social services and access to decent work within the community. “We have launched programs to strengthen the capacity of women and to train entrepreneurs. Local gardens have been created with 50% of the production assigned for households and 50% for sale. The laying hens program is intended to fuel schools in the community. This company has led to the creation of the first local producer market with 50% of the products offered to children through school canteens. These products are transformed by the inhabitants,” stated Ms. Gladis Alarcón. These initiatives have helped to reduce migration by 50%. “Women must be trained technically to send their children to school. Education is the key to getting children out of poverty,” she said.
The mayor of Ouahigouya noted that sanitation and access to water remained the major challenges in his locality. To improve the living conditions of people in the 4th largest city of Burkina Faso, the municipality has invested in the marketing of off-season products. This allows women to sell fruits and vegetables with a consequent benefit. The next development to be launched by Mayor Basile Ouedraogo will be the opening of a tomato operation plant.
The Co-director of FMDV, Mr. Carlos de Freitas advised local authorities to seek financing on the bond market.”This is an interesting alternative for cities. We have 15 years to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the Paris agreement.”
The Moderator of the session, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, concluded the discussions by recalling themes highlighted by the panelists; the mobilization of people, their discipline and the mobilization of women.