The Director General of WAI takes part in the 4th World Forum for Local Economic Development, Praia, Republic of Cabo Verde, 17 - 20 October 2017

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The Director General of WAI takes part in the 4th World Forum for Local Economic Development, Praia, Republic of Cabo Verde, 17 - 20 October 2017

At the invitation of the Scientific Committee of the National Organizing Commission of the 4th World Forum for Local Economic Development held in Praia, Republic of Cabo Verde, from October 17 to 20, 2017, the Director General of WAI, Prof. .Djénéba Traoré, participated on October 19 in the panel entitled: «Facilitating cohesion in and between territories: an alternative or complementary role for national (or supranational) and local policies?»

The panel consisted of the following speakers:

M. Santiago Gallo, Counselor, National Confederation of Municipalities, Brazil

M. Gerardo Rodriguez, Office of Planning and Budget of the National Government, Uruguay

M. Sidi Khalifa, National Expert on Decentralization and Local Development, UNDP, Mauritania

M. Rocio Molina, Counselor, Cochabamba, Bolivia

M. Pablo Rodríguez Valido, Vice President and Minister of Public Service and Transport in the Government of the Canary Islands, Spain

Prof. Djénéba Traoré, Director General of the West Africa Institute (WAI), Praia, Cabo Verde

Mrs. Elcira Berrutti, in charge of Territorial Development Programs, UNDP Uruguay, moderated the session.

During her speech, the Director General of the WAI thanked the Government of the Republic of Cabo Verde, the National Organizing Commission and the Executive Committee of the 4th World Forum for Local Economic Development (WFLED) and underlined the importance of the present Forum as key component in the process of achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with maximum efficiency, as there is a real urgency, the deadline being 2030.

Prof. Djénéba Traoré addressed the following issues:

Reminder of the SDGs: Eradicate poverty and hunger in the world; Provide quality education and health for all; Enable access for all to renewable energies at an affordable cost; Fight against climate changes; Guarantee decent work and economic growth; Work for the protection of aquatic life; Promote industrialization; Protect the environment ; Reduce inequalities; Ensure peace, justice and effective institutions; Establish equality between the sexes; Establish sustainable cities and communities; Give access to all to drinking water; Promote consumption and responsible production; Establish partnerships to achieve goals.

These objectives contribute to social, economic and territorial cohesion. The inequalities existing in and between the territories force greater solidarity based on respect from the more affluent territories to those whose means are limited. Therefore, in order to strengthen social bonds and sustainable economic development in and between territories, we propose to implement the following actions:

Recognize and respect the history and cultures of different peoples;

Promoting higher education and scientific research: Universities and research centers must be placed at the service of development - likewise, lecturers-researchers must be privileged actors of local development ;

Ensure the equitable sharing, at the local and national levels, of the dividends of economic growth ;

Guarantee access to electricity for all. The economic development of Africa in particular is strongly impacted by the lack of energy resources;

Joining the digital gap between localities, countries and regions ;

Develop local, national, regional and continental modes of transportation ;

Applying principles of equity in Internet access to reduce the digital division between rural and urban areas, developing countries and industrialized countries.

Promoting a virtuous and inspiring governance for the youth: example of Cabo Verde: Amilcar Cabral national hero and Pedro Pires, former President of the Republic and winner of the 2011 Mo Ibrahim Award.

Socio-economic development takes place at all levels: family unit, local communities, nation, regions and continents.

It is unanimously recognized that we have a global deficit in terms of social, economic and territorial cohesion.

Therefore, what strategies can we put in place to strengthen the social links between all components of local communities, the nation, regions and continents in order to improve living and working conditions of the populations?

Greetings are an important part of social cohesion. They can forge strong bonds between members of the same family, the same community, the same nation, etc.

It seems that the first element of social cohesion is communication. Indeed, according to some anthropologists, it is she who has largely favoured psychomotor development and human intelligence, from prehistory to the present time. Therefore, we need to communicate better and transmit positive values at the level of families, local communities, nation, regions and continents. One could imagine, for example, the use of family reunions and consultations between representatives of the local authorities and the population to address certain important issues, set priorities and return the whole to the legislative power to translate them into legislative and regulatory texts.

Cohesion being a prodigious engine of development, we also offer good practices of mutual assistance and solidarity at all levels and take great care of the public good, the acceptance of the one who is different as a constancy benevolence to in regard to his neighbour. To this end, we can quote the Charter of Kuruka Fuga which was solemnly proclaimed by Soundjata Kéita during his enthronement as Emperor of Mali in 1236, after his victory over Soumaoro Kanté during the Battle of Kirina.

This Charter, which preached living together within the vast Mandé Empire, the respect to be observed between people from different social and professional strata, social justice, mutual aid, love of the homeland, respect for women, taking up the challenge of the end and end of captivity, was inscribed in 2009 by UNESCO on the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Facilitating cohesion in and between territories must be first of all a desire clearly expressed by all stakeholders. Its implementation depends on the full responsibility of the local authorities. To be successful, the process must take into account that decisions have actually been made by the grassroots. From there, the summit must ensure the transfer of the necessary human, financial and material resources and ensure, through effective monitoring and evaluation, the efficient implementation of community projects.

Therefore, facilitating cohesion between and in the territories should represent a complementary role for national (or supranational) policies.

What about the cohesion of social and economic policies between regions?

In 2015, the West Africa Institute (WAI) concluded a scientific partnership with the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion (RISC) - Headquarters: University of Helsinki (Finland) whose presidency is ensured since 2007 by its founder Prof Harlan Koff of the University of Luxembourg.

Two theses, one from the PhD and the other from the Master, which were defended at the University of Luxembourg, focused respectively on: 1) regional integration policies on the free movement of people in Africa taking as an example in Morocco and North America on the basis of the case of Mexico; 2) coherence between EU and ECOWAS policies in the field of renewable energies and energy efficiency. Research has clearly shown that the European Union is not in phase with ECOWAS in relation to its standards for social and economic cohesion on renewable energies.

WAI hosted on 26 and 27 April 2016, the workshop on the project on the Coherence of the Regional Normative Approach.

The topics discussed at the workshop were: Cohesion between regional policies at ECOWAS, SADC, EU, Mercosur and ASEAN countries on human rights and democracy / issues peace and security / renewable energies / gender / free movement / access to water and basic social services etc.

The next meeting of RISC is scheduled in Aguascalientes, Mexico, at the end of October - beginning of November 2017 to continue the reflection on Cohesion and Regions and to guide the work of the students of the affiliated doctoral schools of the Consortium.

Attached is the Concept Note of the Panel established by the Scientific Committee of the 4th WFLED and the brochure on the detailed agenda of the Forum.

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