Africities 2018: Territorial governance, food security and transition

Africities 2018: Territorial governance, food security and transition

The 8th edition of the Africities Summit, which is held every 3 years, places the theme of transition at the heart of its programme: With 5000 participants, ranging from mayors, regional presidents, central administration officials, representatives of the economic, financial and cooperation world in Africa and NGOs. 

The role of cities and regions in achieving the 2030 agenda and the African Union's "Vision 2063" for Africa was a central theme during the event, visible in the nearly 100 thematic sessions organized during this summit. Said sessions were intended to address the major issues raised by these agendas, by establishing the essential role of local and territorial Africa in the definition and implementation of policies and strategies for development, integration and cooperation in Africa.

The Association Régions de France, at the heart of the UCLG World Forum of Regions, was responsible for organising a fundamental session on the theme of economic and social transition, the role of local food strategies, in which some 15 elected representatives, mayors, presidents and vice-presidents of regions, France and Africa, as well as ROPPA (the Federation of peasant organisations in West Africa, representing more than 100 million farmers) participated. As a reminder, UCLG, with the leadership of the Regions of France and the support of the Delegation for the External Action of Local and Regional Authorities (DAECT) of the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) created, at the previous UCLG World Congress in 2016, an international community of practice bringing together the world's regions on the theme of "Territorial governance, food security and transition".

Geneviève Barat, Vice-President of New Aquitaine in charge of Rurality, Living Together, Associative Life and Citizenship, presented a programme that the region is developing on its territory for all out-of-home catering, targeting 60% local and 20% organic.  For its part, the Grand Est region together with the Moroccan region of Orientale both presented the 25 years of cooperation on the issue of rural development and the development of local agriculture, which included the establishment of an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC), the training of rural people in production and sales, as well as packaging, the development of local culinary practices and eco-agro-tourism.

The mayors of Brazzaville, Dakar, and Kumbo in Cameroon, rural cities and regions in Morocco and Burkina Faso, the Senegalese departments, the territories of Benin, Cameroon, Togo and Niger, as well as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO-Dakar) intervened during the more than 3 intense hours of discussion which took place in two stages: first, exchanges of good practices and experiences, and then the construction of an operational alliance between African communities (UCLG-Africa) and the Network of Farmers' and Agricultural Producers' Organisations of West Africa (ROPPA), with the support of the partner of Régions de France, RESOLIS. A representative of the International Expert Group on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) and Olivier de Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, also intervened to support this approach.

In order to place food systems back at the heart of territorial development, we need to focus on inclusivity (social performance), sustainability (environmental performance, public health, decent jobs) and plurality (identity, culture, heritage), thus ensuring that the social responsibility of all actors in the chain is developed. The speakers adopted the following working axes:

  • Promote family and peasant agriculture, peri-urban and urban agriculture and urban micro-gardening. Local authorities must commit themselves to building their food strategies with farmers.
  •  Enhance the value of African agricultural products on urban markets by promoting local purchasing in public procurement and procurement policies, in all collective catering (army, hospitals, schools, etc.) and by creating spaces in the heart of cities for local product markets.
  • Promote local and regional products, support farmers in these labelling and promotion initiatives.
  • Protect agricultural land and develop land reserve policies.
  • Develop human resources training policies for local authorities, food policies are at the crossroads of all public policies.
  • Support nutrition education and awareness among young people, raise awareness among the entire population of the need to buy local through regional and national communication campaigns: Local food is essential.
  • Support for rural youth, development of training in innovative agriculture, agro-ecology and ICT.
  • Prioritize these actions for women, who are the carriers of food security in Africa.
  • Support together with Intermediate Cities, Metropolises and Regions, an international advocacy.

The world's regions UCLG-Regions and ROPPA have committed themselves to write an operational roadmap and to launch an experiment in Burkina Faso for 2019 under the coordination of the Régions de France association.

[Source : Valérie NicolasRégions de France].



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