Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, opened the second session of the 2017 plenary session of the National Commission for Decentralized Cooperation on October 9.
A message from the minister for Europe and foreign affairs, currently visiting Morocco, was read during the meeting, underscoring the central role of decentralized cooperation as a tool for exerting French influence, notably drawing on the example of Morocco: We have almost 50 active partnerships and 10 of our regional capitals have a presence in this country; this cooperation is supported by a system for submitting requests for proposals involving joint funding; a training course for local Moroccan civil servants is in the works. Lastly, less than a year ago, the most recent French-Moroccan conferences brought together almost 200 French participants.
Decentralized cooperation is multi-faceted: bringing peoples closer together, development of the South, the fight against climate change, economic expansion, enhancing the attractiveness of regions, French language and culture.
The National Commission for Decentralized Cooperation, which reports to the prime minister, brings together, on a parity basis, representatives from national associations of local authorities and from all ministries concerned by decentralized cooperation (16 full members and 16 substitute members for each of these categories). It can make any proposals aimed at improving and strengthening the means for implementing decentralized cooperation.
The minister of state and Vice-Chair of the Commission François Rebsamen, Mayor of Dijon, underscored the contribution that local and regional authorities make to official development assistance and stressed the role of elected officials, their associations and their networks.
The debates notably focused on trends in development assistance provided by local and regional authorities, the contribution of regions to sustainable development, youth mobility and volunteerism. The participants also took stock of Brexit and the situation in Africa’s Sahel region, where French local and regional authorities are heavily involved.
Conferences on decentralized cooperation will take place in 2017 and 2018, in Madagascar, Haiti, Poland, Japan and China.
This meeting provided an opportunity to present Christine Moro, Ambassador for the External Action of Local and Regional Authorities, newly appointed to head the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Delegation for External Action. This delegation is implementing the strategy to promote decentralized cooperation (requests for proposals, joint geographic funds), complementing the action of all partners.
For more information on the external action of French local and regional authorities, please visit (in French): http://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/politique-etrangere-de-la-france/action-exterieure-des-collectivites-territoriales/.