United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa) and the Africa and Arab Countries Region of Public Service International (PSI) signed today a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for structured dialogue and cooperation between their respective constituencies. The Partners are the most representative membership-based organisations namely of local and regional government (LRG) managers and staff in the African continent.
Building on the longstanding dialogue and continued partnership between their international secretariats, the Partners sealed in a virtual launch their joint commitment to “bring their cooperation down to the subregions and territories where they operate and close to their respective memberships” their MoU reads.
PSI and UCLG are stronger together when their respective memberships cooperate to confront the multiple, concurrent challenges they increasingly face,
The challenges local and regional governments face in the African continent are vast and public services inequalities stark. According to the UN, only 20 percent of the African urban population (excluding North Africa) has access to safely managed sanitation services, while 23 percent of slum dwellers are concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Yet, through the Covid crisis, many African local authorities have rapidly put in place innovative emergency solutions and adaptation measures to ensure continued public service delivery. Their losses are now of up to 60 percent of average own sourced revenues.
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary said: «PSI and UCLG are stronger together when their respective memberships cooperate to confront the multiple, concurrent challenges they increasingly face, including pandemic, climate, unemployment and informality, migration, public service funding, gender equality and the respect of human rights. This first regional commitment brings the spirit of the global dialogue and cooperation built over the years between PSI and UCLG down to the ground of African cities and territories and I am confident it will translate into concrete actions at a local level”.
Acknowledging these challenges, the Partners will prioritize joint initiatives towards:
enabling equitable access to quality local public services for all;
making cities, communities, and territories inclusive and fair;
realizing sustainable, just local socio-economic development;
building LRG staff’s capacity and skills, while ensuring their decent working conditions.
UCLG Africa and PSI Africa and the Arab Countries will also cooperate to develop joint advocacy and actions - including in regional policy forums such as the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (ADB) - on shared strategic priorities including effective decentralization; investment in LRG human capital through institutional and staff capacity enhancement and empowerment; funding for quality local public services; social dialogue; good and effective local governance; the localisation of regional and UN global agendas, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Agreement to address climate change in African cities and territories, the Decent Work Agenda, and the Africa Agenda 2063.
Jean-Pierre Elong Mbassi, UCLG Africa General Secretary said: «Recalling that decentralisation means the transfer of power relationship, responsibilities, capacities and resources from national to all sub-national levels of government with the aim of strengthening the ability of the latter to both foster people’s participation and deliver quality services as defined by the 2014 African Charter on the Values and Principles of Decentralisation, Local Governance and Local Development, UCLG Africa’s membership is happy to cooperate from now on with PSI as a strategic partner, to invest in human capital and quality public services at sub-national level, and make sure to leave no one and no place behind».
Sani Baba, PSI Regional Secretary for Africa and the Arab Countries said: «Addressing the dire needs of the African and Arab Countries’ people for equitable access to quality local public services such as safe water and sanitation, heath care, energy, proper waste disposal, effective public transport, and decent housing is a major challenge for both our organisations. But working together we can unleash the unique potential of our local government constituencies to co-create and bring about concrete, progressive change to African cities and territories, to the benefit of local communities, as well as of local government institutions and their workers”.