Local authorities take centre stage in the agenda of the World Social Forum

"Economic growth does not necessarily improve quality of life, but we cannot disregard the importance of economic development within a territory". It was with these words that the Director of the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI), Antonio Zurita, which holds the presidency of the UCLG Working Group on Local Economic Development , began his intervention at the 2015 World Social Forum.

In an overview of a working approach based on the construction of inclusive models, the four components that local development should include were highlighted: social development, sustainability, institutional strengthening and employment. 

These elements, added to a focus on gender, human rights and participation, are necessary to achieve citizen ownership. Based on FAMSI’s experience, Zurita stressed that cooperation can complement territorial strategies. An experience that illustrates this link between cooperation and local development is the work being done in collaboration with municipalities on both sides of the strait; in Andalusia and Morocco.

This was first carried out through the ANMAR network and, over the years, has been continued through partnerships with other local and cooperation actors. This journey and the work of the Chaouen’s Local Development Agency, in the region of Tangier-Tetouan, were presented at the WSF by those in charge of the project, Sergio Castañar and Eva Gallardo, together with experiences related to migration in Tunisia, the management of natural resources and the ART programme in Tunisia, in order to forge links between territorial and cooperation actors.

Source: Working Group on Local Economic Development / FAMSI