The 6th World Regional Governments Summit, which took place in Cartagena de las Indias, Colombia, within the framework of the General Assembly of the Organization of Regions United-Forum of Regional Governments and Global Associations of Regions (ORU-FOGAR), closed with great success on 3 September 2014, having welcomed over a hundred local and regional leaders from across the world.
The theme “Political autonomy accelerates development” was at the centre of all sessions held during the three days of meetings. The key issues addressed were decentralization, territorial autonomy, post-2015 objectives and the sustainability of the Post-2015 Agenda, among others.
The Summit was opened by the Governor of Bolívar, Juan Carlos Gossaín, the President of ORU-FOGAR and Prefect of the province of Azuay, Ecuador, Paul Carrasco and the First Vice-President of ORU-FOGAR and President of the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France, Michel Vauzelle.
The Summit began with the panel on Decentralization in the Global Village, in which the President of the National Federation of Departments (FND) and Governor of Boyacá, Juan Carlos Granados, presented the case of Colombia with regard to the issue of territorial autonomy.
The panels, which addressed different themes based on the post-2015 objectives, included the participation of Antonio Bonfatti, Governor of Santa Fe, Argentina and Bernard Soulage, Vice-President of the Rhône‑Alpes region, France, among others, both of whom were nominated to represent intermediate governments.
The Governor, who was invited to speak at the Summit on behalf of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), commented that "The World Forum of Regions is a very important arena because it allows us to address the issues that affect sub-national states and to think about the policies to take forward, building on actions with the private sector and civil society. It also gives increasing visibility to local governments at the international level."
Regions from the five continents took part in the Assembly, among which were: Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (France); Azuay (Ecuador); Amambay (Paraguay); Brittany (France); Catalonia and the Basque Country (Spain); Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Valparaíso and Viña del Mar (Chile).
Paul Carrasco, Prefect of the province of Azuay (Ecuador), who was re‑elected as President of ORU-FOGAR commented, “It is a common perception that Governors and regional leaders are just employees of the central government, but this is not the case; it is through intermediate governments that citizens can participate effectively in decision-making; not through a centralized approach.”
World Forum of Regions and intermediate governments
ORU-FOGAR and UCLG agreed to establish a body called the Forum of Regions to promote specific policies and address issues that affect sub‑governments at all levels across the world. The organization unites small, intermediate and large cities, metropolises and regions and acts as a platform to demonstrate their support for local autonomy and to promote their values, objectives and interests, through cooperation with other local governments and before the wider community. The World Forum of Regions is an opportunity to strengthen the intermediate level of government in the international public agenda. It is an arena that is open to the participation of regions, federal states and territorial governments, corresponding to the infra-state level.
The Forum has the aim of positioning sub-national governments worldwide as a level of government capable of accelerating development, through real political autonomy and providing sub-national actors with the institutional tools and authority to establish a different relationship between the local level, the private sector and civil society.
ORU-FOGAR unites regions around the world and represents them within a number of international bodies, with a view to ensuring that intermediate levels of government have a voice and become actors of global governance. With emphasis on regional development from a territorial perspective, climate change and food security, the World Organization of Regions, ORU-FOGAR, presides the UCLG Section dedicated to the Forum of Regions, and its President, Paul Carrasco, is also Vice-President of UCLG.
For more information visit the ORU-FOGAR website