Putting the "local" in economic development: the role of the social economy

Metropolis Secretariat General

The 4th World Forum of Local Economic Development (LED) was hosted by the City of Praia (Cape Verde) from 17 to 20 October, under the theme "Global agendas, local voices, local actions". Given the importance of economic development within the vision of Metropolis, our Secretary General has accepted the invitation to moderate a session of the event’s program.

"Economic development is a crosscutting theme of the new Metropolis Action Plan and is considered as one of the key elements for the prosperity of metropolitan areas. For metropolitan areas to thrive, we should place gender equality, social cohesion and fair quality of life at the heart of economic policies. The 4th LED forum has addressed these themes and has been, therefore, very enriching for our association," said Octavi de la Varga, Secretary General of Metropolis, on his return from Praia.

The Secretary General moderated the session of the forum entitled "Climate Change and LED: how to mitigate climate change while fostering local economic development", held on 18 October and organized by UCLG Africa. The session brought together representatives of various sectors, and one of its main conclusions was that, although mayors are the first to demonstrate willingness to tackle climate change, local governments still rely on national governments to fund their initiatives.

At the opening ceremony, the President of UCLG, Mpho Parks Tau, stressed the need to continue to provide local authorities with the necessary means to ensure a responsible and effective governance, indispensable to an inclusive and sustainable development :

Metropolis members were also active in the forum, which included in its program presentations from Dakar, Madrid and Mexico City, dealing with subjects such as governance for territorial cohesion, integrated local development, and social finance and solidarity.

In common, the plenary sessions, political dialogues and parallel sessions of the forum highlighted the implications that the implementation of the Agenda 2030 represents for local governments, and also how local economic development models may be exemplary in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals 8 (decent work and economic growth) and 17 (partnerships for the goals). Several speakers and participants expressed the need to create programs to strengthen the solidarity and social economy, as tools for promoting social inclusion. Similarly, they referred to the growing need to create societies which are economically fair, which involve women in economic growth, not only by giving them equal access to formal and traditionally “masculine” jobs, but also by assessing the value of work traditionally viewed as 'feminine', such as professional care work and domestic services. Finally, the forum was concluded with the adoption of Declaration of Praia, that you can read here.

The LED Forum is a biennial event which aims to provide a platform for exchanges and debates in order to build more inclusive and sustainable cities, and examine the role of local and regional communities to achieve this objective. This fourth edition, which brought together more than 2000 participants from all over the world, has been co-organized by the Government of Cape Verde and the UNDP, in cooperation with UCLG, FAMSI, ORU Fogar, ILO and SEBRAE.