Strengthening collaboration with local authorities crucial for localizing the global agendas


The European Commission held the EU Partnership Forum 2018 in Brussels on 25-26 June 2018. The Forum stimulated an open dialogue on how to further strengthen our collaboration towards the implementation and localisation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of the European Consensus on Development. It also enabled enhancing synergies between various stakeholders and the European Commission, including UCLG, other sister organisations and local authorities themselves.

Taking stock of the achievements of the Framework Partnership Agreements

The European Commission has developed Framework Partnership Agreements (FPAs) with civil society organisations and associations of local authorities across Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and Europe, which cover a wide array of fields of intervention: anti-corruption, gender, accountability, human rights, political and social inclusion or economic empowerment, decentralisation, and good and inclusive local governance, decentralised cooperation. 

In 2011, UCLG signed an unprecedented strategic partnership with the European Union unlocking the development potential of local authorities and our associations in partner countries enabling the World Organisation to respond to the demands of our citizens.

The partnership with the EU allows our networks to enhance structures, capacity and relations with members, and to improve our capacity to contribute to national, regional and global policy-making. It also looks at ways of improving the coordination among the associations operating at different levels (national, regional and global) as well as promoting policy dialogue among different development actors.

In Brussels, UCLG, UCLG Africa, the Association Internationale des Maires Francophones (AIMF), the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF), the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), signatories of the Partnership, committed to continue strengthening partnerships and to take action to tackle global poverty and inequality, and to promote democracy and sustainable development.

Local governments hand in hand with the European Union on implementation

In Brussels, participants agreed that municipalities, towns, cities and regions and their representative associations have a leading role in implementing and the FPAs are here to support them.

Municipalities, towns, cities and regions are policy and decisionmakers to define policies and contribute to addressing global challenges as well as implementing the shared global agendas at local level”, said Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development at European Commission. 

Local and regional governments represent the closest institutions to the citizens and offer significant expertise in terms of service delivery, building democratic institutions and effective administrations.

Fréderic Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR and Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, Secretary General of UCLG Africa, advocated for a long-term vision on how to build inclusive societies as the actors with the necessary political legitimacy and the capacity to mobilise other stakeholders. The FPAs represents an important step forward for the local and regional governments’ involvement in sustainable development policies and the 2030 Development Agenda.

Felix Fernandez Shaw, Director for International Cooperation of European Commission, mentioned, “We need to do more with local and regional authorities because they are the closest level to governance. In the next multiannual financial framework, we need to target LRAs because they have the capacity and the responsibility in making the global agendas a reality

Governance, financing and linkages with other global agendas

In breakout workshops, partner organisations including associations of local and regional governments mentioned the need to refine partnerships for more thematic and horizontal cooperation. Greg Munro, Secretary General of CLGF, made a plea for more formal and informal political dialogue that should reinforce horizontal cooperation between all stakeholders.

In a specific workshop on the New Urban Agenda, the Secretary General of Metropolis, Octavi de la Varga Mas, underscored the huge pressure that is being put on local authorities to implement all global agendas, with fewer resources. Participants agreed that further synergy should be found with the SDG monitoring framework in order to implement the New Urban Agenda and empower local governments.