Over one hundred local and regional authorities came together during the first World Forum of Regions that took place in Dakar on 4th December 2012, at the joint invitation of the Presidents of United Cities and Local Governments and ORU-FOGAR, Kadir Topbas and Paul Carrasco.
The World Forum of Regions brought together Presidents of Regions, local elected representatives and their partners. A joint roadmap was drafted aiming to increase the influence of regions on the coming international agenda, in particular during the preparation of Habitat III and in the negotiation process of the Post-2015 Millennium Development Goals and the future Sustainable Development Goals.
During the opening of the Forum, Muchadeyi Masunda, Co-President of UCLG and Mayor of Harare (Zimbabwe), recalled the vital need for an alliance between both organizations, UCLG and ORU-FOGAR, and shared the key points of the roadmap for the coming months: “This Forum is an important step in the collaboration between ORU-FOGAR and UCLG and reflects the shared work conducted to date in the recognition of sub-national authorities at global level. The role of local and regional authorities goes over and above networking and peer learning; it is forged on dialogue and mutual comprehension”.
Paul Carrasco, President of ORU-FOGAR and Governor of Azuay (Ecuador), insisted on the need to find shared points to build a global proposal. He also recalled that the current global governance system must be reformed. National levels cannot be the only level to decide on these questions that entail the future of all peoples and all territories: their richness and diversity must also make their voices heard. He additionally insisted on the need to define the shared work pillars to establish a concrete proposal: “A wind of optimism must be created in global public policy.”
During the round table discussion, participants, among whom Joan Clos, Executive-Director of UN-Habitat, spoke of the increased weight of regions in globalization, demonstrating that throughout the world, despite the diversity of situations, regional levels have increased their impact in the implementation of democratic processes. They underlined that different sub-state levels can play a leading role in the promotion of citizen debates on national and global governance. A balanced partnership between national levels and different sub-national levels contributes to restoring citizen dialogue that can sometimes be strained in a fast-moving and globalized context.
The complementarity of regional, national and international policies in the creation and implementation of public policy and community services was reaffirmed, recalling that this key role of sub-state governments in the sustainable development of territories was formally recognized in the final document of Conference Rio+20.
During the Forum, participants agreed on a Political Declaration, calling on active contributions to the implementation of multi-level governance in strict association with the United Nations. They also called upon the development of services for citizens, in particular in terms of access to water, sanitation and health, maintenance of public aid for development and reinforcement of resources and the available means in order to develop technical capacities of regional governments. In the field of food security, regional governments made a call to go over and above issues of production and sectoral policies and to evolve toward more integrated steps that will allow a better level of self-sufficiency in food supplies for territories.
Follow the event on the UCLG Twitter account @uclg_org et #uclgdakar