Oru's commitment to Africa

Leyre Madariaga

Director for Foreign Affairs, Basque Country

In the last meeting of ORU’s Executive Committee an important boost was given to the organization and I am pleased to state it since I had the honour to represent, in the name of the Basque Country / Euskadi, the president Paúl Carrasco, unable to travel to Ivory Coast.

Three continents were present in Abidjan: America, Europe and Africa, with regional representatives fully committed to ORU and its main goals. This was, nevertheless, our most African Bureau, for the outstanding presence of African members and for the extraordinary welcome from the Ivory Coast Assembly of Regions and Districts (ARDCI), but also for the decisions taken there.

We were not able to hold the Bureau in Burkina Faso due to political instability in the country, but we reiterated our commitment to its regions and our will to hold one of our future events with our friends from the Burkina Faso Regions Association. We also took the opportunity to express our determination to continue to work with the Tunisian regions, at a time when terrorism just hit the country. At a more organisational level, we approved the accession of the Senegalese Departments Association (ADS) in replacement of the former Senegalese Regions Association (ARs) and we opened up the doors to the Council of Governors, Kenya.  

All of this shows that ORU is increasingly establishing itself since the last General Assembly held in Cartagena de Indias with its new internal structure already in place (new headquarters in Barcelona, a Secretary General and a coordination team responsible for the activities resulting from the decisions adopted in the different Committees and Assemblies). 

This structure must unable us to: ensure the exchange of information and knowledge and the coordination and collaboration amongst the members of the organisation; promote the active involvement of its members to strengthen democracy and to work on the collective stances; all of it to ultimately give voice to the needs and interests of the regional governments and increase their influence on global governance. 

In Abidjan, above all, it became clear that we are going to take major steps forward thanks to our new communication policy and to the services to be offered to the members. Our new website will provide a great opportunity for the members to participate, to express themselves, to contribute and to build ORU, as well as to make us known in the international arena. The range of services offered to the members will be enlarged, with training courses, the creation of a bank of best practices and capacities, etc. 

The incorporation of new members, always great news, will also contribute to the reinforcement and enlargement of our world network of regions. Our new additions are regions from Kenya, Ecuador, Morocco and a regional network devoted to environmental issues... and we have committed to attract new governments, from all continents but with a particular focus on the Asian continent, still under-represented in our organisation.

Concurrently, we continue to develop our sector activities through our work groups, such as the Food Security, Environmental Sustainability and Post-2015 Agenda groups. They will be our instruments for facing up to the new challenges that require our attention and involvement.  

In this sense, there are some important worldwide events coming up that will set our agenda: the 3rd World Forum on Local Economic Development which will be held in Turin and the COP 21, on which nrg4SD, member of our network, is already working. Other important meetings, which stem from the regions’ initiative, are: the World Summit on Climate and Territories, next July in Lyon, where the proposals from the non-state actors in this field will be discussed, and the Seminar on Intermediate Governments Internationalisation, next June in Rosario, where the challenges and opportunities of the Post-2015 Agenda will be dealt with. 

As you can see, there are some not-to-be missed events in our agenda and ORU will certainly attend all of them.

Our next appointment will be in Paraguay and, without a doubt, we will continue to deliver on our commitment and the fulfilment of the objectives set. This deserves and requires a substantial and strong political will from those of us who have said “yes” to making the voice of the non-state actors heard at an international level.

I cannot end without thanking very sincerely the reception offered by the organisers of our meeting in Abidjan. We were welcomed with open arms and great hospitality and fraternity towards those of us fortunate enough to travel to that beautiful city in Côte d´Ivoire. I am sure that this warm atmosphere contributed to our fine work.  

See you in Paraguay!

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