Policy Forum on Development (PFD) convened in Dakar, Capital of Senegal, on 3-6 October 2016. The Forum was opened by Khalifa Sall, Mayor of Dakar and President of UCLG Africa.
The main theme of the Forum discussions were what will be the role of local governments and NGOs in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and what mechanisms and instruments the EU, as a main donor of the process, will be needed, in reaching out to the local governments.
Local Governments Must Be the Owner and Main Driver of the Process
Building upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) experience, the PFD participants reiterated that Sustainable Development Agenda may only be realized through localization, and localization can only be realized if local governments are the owner and main driver of the process. Moreover, it was emphasized that rich natural and human resources that Africa has, must be considered, and that the process must be shaped in accordance with the principle of “inclusive, multilateral stakeholder consultation approach”. Emphasis was also placed on the fact that while central governments have the opportunity to be involved in and shape the process through various platforms; local governments, which are the basic actors of development at the local level are isolated from these platforms; and the role of this fact in shaping this approach.
PFD Membership Process Criteria Updated
In the meeting, mission of PFD, which was designed as a permanent consultation mechanism, to contribute to the visibility of both local governments and NGOs, and its targets, such as creating agreements and partnerships, taking decisions through common sense and dialog, respecting differences, enabling new approaches in policy development, were stressed once again and the PFD membership criteria were updated. Accordingly, inclusion of regional differences, scale, development, ideological diversity and world views, commitment and ownership of the process and gender balance were adopted as the basic parameters.
PFD October 2016 Final Declaration focuses on; how sustainable and effective development can be possible in the African continent, based on the questions of how sufficiency the instruments in use are, to enable sustainable development; how the various parties are included in development processes; inclusiveness of employment, human rights, gender equality and food safety, within the framework of the principle of “leaving no one behind”; how harmonious the national development plans are, with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals; how successful the local and national governments have been, in reaching out to the segments of the society which are the most intensely and severely excluded; how effective have the development cooperation policies and practices been, in empowering the legal systems and democracies. Final version of the declaration is yet to be released.
What is Policy Forum on Development?
It is the most important source of the EU international development cooperation fund. Aims of the Policy Forum on Development (PFD), created in 2013, is to create space for dialog at the level of EU headquarters, for the NGOs, local governments and think tanks in the EU and partner countries. PFD has 61 members representing NGOs, private sectors and local government networks from all around the world. UCLG-MEWA participates in PFD as the representative of the local governments in the Middle East and Caucasus.