Representatives of 15 local government training institutions from Francophone Africa recently gathered in Dakar for a workshop on strengthening the capacity of their organisations.
The workshop organized by UN-Habitat and ENDA Ecopop brought together representatives of fifteen (15) local government training institutions from Francophone African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Tunisia). The participants went through institutional self-assessments, and training on local economic development, participatory budgeting, and climate change, areas that are seen as priority for local governments in Africa, particular in the face of related challenges globally. These culminated into the creation of action plans by institutions in order to strengthen their response for capacity building support for Africa’s local governments.
The workshop which was graced by the Minister of Spatial Planning and Decentralization, Government of Senegal, Mr El hadji Oumar Youm, was highlighted by an interactive visit to the local Saly municipality. In his opening speech, Minister Oumar Youm stressed the importance of both training in the context of reform and of African cooperation around local authorities. He underlined that this regional workshop was held a few days after the extraordinary general meeting of African Ministers in charge of decentralization for the adoption of the African Charter values and principles of decentralization, local development and local governance, as well as the upcoming special session of the African heads of state to ratify the Charter. He reiterated the unwavering support of President Macky Sall for the creation of the High Council of Local Government pegged to the African Union. He added that Senegal proposed to host the headquarters of this continental organization and contribute to its budget until 2017.
Bachir Kanoute, ENDA Ecopop Executive Secretary, emphasized the partnership between UN-Habitat and its organization, and stressed the need for a paradigm shift in approaches to training local governments, and encouraged institutions to better understand the challenges of local training, and interrogate their training strategies and approaches, including content relevance, tools and training methods for local communities.
Serigne Mansour Tall of UN-Habitat underlined the importance of the decentralization policy reform in Senegal, best known as Act III of the decentralization. He also stressed the crucial role of Habitat whose mandate not only includes access to housing for all, but also especially the key issue of sustainable urban development , which is at the heart of municipal action in many African countries. He invited, on behalf of UN-Habitat Executive Director Dr. Joan CLOS, the Minister of Spatial Planning and Decentralization, Mr El hadji Oumar Youm, to participate in the World Urban Forum 7 to be held in April 2014 in Medellin, Colombia.
The workshop held from 23 to 27 September 2013, in Saly, Senegal, was organized by UN-Habitat in partnership with ENDA Ecopop. It is part of the UN-Habitat global programme on ‘Enhancing the Contribution of Local Authorities and their Partners towards achieving the MDGs through Capacity Building of local government Training Institutes’, a programme funded by the United Nations Development Account.