The UCLG Working Groups on Local Economic Development and Intermediary Cities and the municipality of Chefchaouen held a learning exchange in Morocco between 24 and 27 September, which focused on the issues of local economic development and decent work in intermediary cities.
Under the leadership of Mr Sefiani, Mayor of Chefchaouen, and co-organized by UCLG Africa, the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), the meeting underlined the importance of urban policies oriented towards economic development that seek to address the needs and potential of rural areas. The Chefchaouen Declaration outlines the conclusions of the meeting.
The learning workshop saw the participation of 40 local elected officials and representatives of civil society and the entrepreneurial community from West Africa (Mauritania, Senegal, Benin, Niger, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Togo and Burkina Faso) and the Mediterranean region (Spain, Turkey and Lebanon).
Chefchaouen's urban-rural development model enabled participants to understand how the management of market systems according to the food cycle, which entails production, distribution and consumption, works in practice. Participants noted that the municipality of Chefchaouen’s Local Development Agency represented one of the biggest assets for the dynamization of the city’s economic and social fabric. It is the first public agency of its type to be developed in Morocco, and was supported by FAMSI.
The learning exchanges proved the crucial role local governments play in the implementation of a local development strategy, and in engaging in strategies that address the particular situation of intermediary cities, notably the synergy between rural and urban spaces and their intermediary position, with regard to cities and social and economic environments in particular.
Local elected officials recognized that strategic urban and territorial planning within the framework of intermediary cities requires taking into account relationships between rural and urban spaces, as well as bringing together all development actors, in particular businesses, social partners, citizens and civil society. It also enables the creation of better strategies for the short-, medium- and long-term. South-south and triangular cooperation serve to support the implementation of policies based on strategic and urban planning.
In a follow-up to the last learning event organized in Maputo, Mozambique, the exchanges recognized that urban policies would need to focus on the informal economy sector. This approach will be the central theme of the partnership between the ILO and UCLG.
The event also saw the consolidation of the Working Group on Intermediary Cities and the creation of the framework document on economic and social development and decent work. Further, it helps to support the position of local economic development in the context of intermediary cities within the post-2015 global agenda and Habitat III.
This workshop was organized in cooperation with UCLG Africa and the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI), and with the technical and financial support of the International Labour Organization (ILO).