The Forum will be organized as part of the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa initiative; the Council of European Municipalities and Regions; and PLATFORMA, the European voice of local and regional governments for development, with the support of the European Union, the African Union, the Assembly of Regions and Districts of Ivory Coast and the Union of Cities and Local Governments of Ivory Coast.
This first forum will be held as a side event at the 5th African Union (AU) - European Union (EU) Summit, which will take place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, November 29-30, 2017, with the objective to redefine the strategic orientations of the AU-EU Partnership for the years ahead. Local and regional government leaders from Africa and Europe will meet around the theme of rebuilding Africa-Europe relations for sustainable human development in the territories.
The Forum will discuss key issues such as economic development and employment, investment in youth, migration and human mobility, climate change and access to energy. It will also discuss the contribution of local and regional governments to the structural transformation of Africa and the implementation of Agenda 2063, as well as the contribution of these governments to the implementation of the European Consensus on Development and Agenda 2030 of the Sustainable Development Goals. Finally, it will address the issue of the renewal of the cooperation framework between Africa and Europe at a time when negotiations for a new agreement will succeed the Cotonou Agreement, which has structured Europe-Africa relations since the year 2000 and will expire in 2020.
The Forum will adopt the Abidjan Declaration of the Africa-Europe Forum of Local and Regional Governments, which will be presented to the Summit for Heads of State and Governments of the two regions to be held on November 29 and 30, 2017 in Abidjan.
The official opening of the Forum will be chaired by His Excellency Amadou Gon Coulibaly, Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, in the presence of:
- His Excellency Mr. Barnabé Dassigli, Hon. Minister of Decentralization and Local Governance of Benin and Chairman of the Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union regrouping the African Ministers of Public Service and Urban Development, Local Governments and Decentralization (CTS No. 8);
- Ms. Minata Samate Cessouma, Commissioner for Political Affairs for the Commission of the African Union;
- Mr. Neven Mimica, Commissioner for Development and International Cooperation of the European Union;
- Mr. Mpho Parks Tau, President of the South African Association of Local Governments and President of the World Organization of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG);
- Mr. Stefano Bonaccini, President of the Region of Emilia-Romagna, President of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR);
- Mr. Jeannot Ahoussou-Kouadio, President of ARDCI;
- Mr. Gilbert Kone Kafana, President of UVICOCI.
The national and international press is invited to attend the Forum, notably the opening ceremony scheduled to take place at the Abidjan District Hotel on Monday November 27, 2017, at 9:00 am, as well as the closing ceremony scheduled to take place at the same venue at 06:00 pm.