Representing African local authorities at the Policy Forum on Development (PFD) Global Meeting and 10th Anniversary

From 27 to 29 September 2023, UCLG Africa Secretary General, Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, participated in the Global meeting of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD) on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary, in Brussels (Belgium).

The PFD brought together 88 delegates from developing countries, representing a wide range of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Local Authorities (LAs); workers unions; associations of employers, cooperatives, philanthropies, at national, regional and global levels. Africa accounts for 15 representatives on the PFD. The continent also has 2 representatives on the 15-member Task Team of the PFD, the African representatives being FEMNET for the CSOs and UCLG Africa for the LAs.

The theme chosen for the meeting was “Multistakeholder partnerships for building a better future: the quest for equality and opening up civic space in the context of Global Gateway”.

The proceedings started with regional meetings where regional members of the PFD from Africa were introduced to one another and highlighted what in their view was necessary to undertake for the improvement of PFD’s work:

  1. Consider organizing in a yearly basis a regional meeting of the PFD members in Africa;
  2. Organize the PFD also at the national level with the collaboration of the EU delegation;
  3. Identify issues which African CSOs and LAs would want to put on the agenda of the PFD, namely, the implication of LAs and local CSOs in the management of migration, the structuring and financing of national and regional networks of CSOs and LAs, the involvement of CSOs and LAs in advisory committees pertaining to the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the Partner countries’ Multi-annual Investment programs; seeking coherence between the African Continental Free Trade Area and the Economic Partnership Agreement signed between EU and a number of African countries.

Many African members of the PFD complained that the EU Delegations do not seem informed about the PFD and are reluctant to work with its members. This is a priority question to raise during this global meeting of PFD. Other members requested that African Task Team members provide new African members of the PFD with information on the work done so far and to be done by the PFD.

The opening session of the global meeting moderated by Ms. Marlene Holzner, Head of Unit, G2, Local Authorities, Civil Society Organizations & Foundations, International Partnerships, European Commission, received a keynote address by Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships at the European Commission, and four opening statements by: Ms Tanya Cox, Concord Director and PFD co-chair for Civil Society Organizations; Mr. Fabrizio Rossi, Secretary General of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, PFD co-chair for Local Authorities; Ms. Izabella Toth, Cord-Aid, former PFD member; and Mr. Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, UCLG Africa Secretary General, Task Team and PFD member.

Panel discussions were organized around the following issues:

  • Opening up civic space: democracy under threat
  • The quest for equality: intersectional and multi-dimensional inequalities: trends and implications
  • Opening up civic space: strengthening collective action and partnerships to build solidarity for an open, free, and democratic future
  • The quest for equality, topic discussion in the following parallel sessions:

(1) Towards multistakeholder actions and collaborative climate and green transition;

(2) Driving change and building partnership in the urban context;

(3) Towards a sustainable and inclusive digital transformation;

(4) Framing migration on justice and human rights: gaps, opportunities and challenges to migration governance;

(5) Creating a genuine, inclusive and sustainable framework of economy;

(6) The EU Global Gateway as a value-based strategy: the role of CSOs and LAs, and state of play of the Dialogue Platform.

The Global meeting adopted the conclusion and recommendations attached.

The closing remarks were made by Mr. Koen Doens, European Commission’s Director General of International Partnerships.

Read the Concluding remarks and recommendations here.