Dear ORU-Fogar members, Happy New Year 2021 !

Abdessamad Sekkal

ORU Fogar's President

We have just said goodbye to a year that has shaken us all on all levels and has forced us to question ourselves and refocus on the most important priorities at all scales: States, local authorities, public services and even at the scale of individuals.

The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic presented an enormous challenge to today's world. The challenge of learning how to manage an unusual and urgent global crisis and how to quickly find ways to adapt. This has been the case for our organization, which has shown great adaptability in order to continue providing services to member regions and holding regular meetings of its bodies while maintaining continuity in communication and a very strong presence in international events in virtual format. This in addition to actions related to the current context such as the organization of mask donation campaigns and PCR tests for the most affected member regions.

We have also witnessed with great pride all the efforts made by the regions and intermediate governments that are members of our organization to deal with this pandemic and ensure the continuity of their services to citizens under very complicated and difficult conditions. 

If today the promise of a vaccine offers a much-awaited outcome to this health crisis, it is certain that this pandemic has highlighted major economic and social challenges, as well as those related to the governance of states and territories and international cooperation.

It also highlighted the importance of the human being as the main objective of all public policies and actions and in the elaboration of economic and territorial development programs. More than ever, this crisis has demonstrated the urgency of responding to the primary needs of citizens, particularly in terms of access to various public services such as medical care, education and access to drinking water. At the same time, it requires accelerating the democratization of access to new technologies for all and the fight against all types of vulnerabilities.

This can only be done if we manage to quickly and thoroughly :

- make the systems for planning and conducting development programs evolve to become more in line with sustainable and territorialized development processes.

- change countries' modes of governance by strengthening decentralization processes, particularly in Southern countries, and by improving the distribution of roles between the different levels of governance, based on the principles of subsidiarity, role differentiation and complementarity.  

Within this framework, the regions and intermediate governments position themselves as the ideal territorial scale for designing sustainable development strategies and plans within a global and integrated vision. But also to define precisely the areas for consultation with lower levels of authorities, non-state actors, economic operators and citizens.

The vision of development in this context also implies the materialization of a strategic planning integrated in the national vision, close to reality, focused on quantifiable results and based on sustainable, integrated, territorialized and human-centered development programs. This approach must absolutely be supported by managerial and technical capacities to lay the foundations of this strategic planning and the monitoring of its objectives.

It is within this framework, and as the first spokesperson for the Organization of the United Regions, that I have repeatedly addressed at various national and international meetings, the importance of strengthening the role of the regions and the decentralization processes, particularly in the countries of the South.

Despite the rise of a discourse that considers that only centralized regimes can overcome major crises such as the current pandemic by mobilizing all the country's resources, it is now undeniable that the countries that have been most successful in containing the crisis are democratic states where the different levels of governance cooperate in full complementarity. The effectiveness of the response to the emergency of Covid-19 or any other crisis depends largely on the level of articulation between the various territorial actors and the various levels of governance in particular the regional scale as well as the active participation of the civil society.

The regions and intermediate governments and their networks are called upon to redouble their efforts and strengthen their exchanges in order to accelerate the evolution of modes of governance and strengthen their role and also to reinforce decentralized international cooperation.

 


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