“Dialogue between territories: new insights on Local Economic Development”

  1. The Second World Forum of Local Economic Development was held in Foz de Iguazú, Paranà, Brazil, from the 29th of October to the 1st November, 2013.  Organized by ITAIPU Binacional – Technological Park ITAIPU, the Brazilian Service of Support for Micro and Small Enterprises (SEBRAE), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the Andalusian Fund of Municipalities for International Solidarity (FAMSI), with the support of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and Regions United/FOGAR. The Forum brought together 4267 participants from over 67 countries from all regions of the world, representing local, regional and national governments, multilateral organizations, universities, international cooperation institutions, as well as multiple networks, social entities, businesses and experts on territorial dynamics of Local Economic Development (LED). The II World Forum of Local Economic Development is part of a process that began with the celebration of the First World Forum of Local Development Agencies “Territory, Economy and Local Governance: New Perspectives for Times of Change” that took place in Seville in October 2011. In the process towards the Second Forum, several preparatory events have taken place in Argentina, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, France, Japan, Morocco, Nicaragua, Senegal, Tunisia and Turkey.
  2.  The Second Forum has been developed in a global context which gives rise to a reflection on the new development paradigm and on priorities such as decent work and, more generally, to the search of instruments which allow the production and management of public policies for LED, as well as public private partnership.  The global crisis, which is currently affecting a series of countries, constitutes an opportune time to rethink the relationship between the State, local and regional governments, and the global dimension in order to overcome the multi-faceted challenges posed by sustainable human development, through sustainable and participatory models involving the government, civil society and private actors. This translates into an effective way to democratize the development process, and consequently, generate a bigger impact, through a territorial approach.
  3. The Forum is a working process which aims to promote the global dialogue on LED, through the participation and sharing of experiences of a great diversity of actors. To this end, it contributes to the creation of partnerships and articulations better able to influence the global agenda, and in particular, to meet the challenges of the post-2015 development agenda.
  4. This II World Forum of Local Economic Development allowed for a broad dialogue and exchange of knowledge, experiences and tools among local, national and international actors on the effectiveness and impact of LED, stressing the importance of innovation in relation to the major issues of our times. All the documents resulting from the discussions of the Forum will be systematized and rendered available to all individuals and institutions.
  5. Among the most important findings and messages this Forum would like to express, the following are put forward:

a)      The Forum calls upon national governments to promote decentralized public policies of Local Economic Development, which entails the improvement of quality and conditions of life in the territories. In this regard, it is necessary to continue advancing the processes of decentralization, based on adequate funding, to ensure the provision of public services to the population.

b)      The Forum underlines the fundamental role of local and regional governments in the implementation of comprehensive development strategies which promote economic opportunities, the creation of decent work, sustainable human development and democratic governance. In this sense, and given the diversity of the territories, countries and regions, it is necessary to promote institutional capacity building of local and regional governments and other territorial actors, as well as to encourage the dynamics of public-private cooperation and foster an efficient coordination of the different public institutions of various territorial levels, which inherently involves a joint multilevel articulation of institutions and actors. In this respect, it is essential to develop and improve institutional and operational frameworks as well as enhancing sustainable financing mechanisms to implement LED. The Forum expresses a clear commitment for institutional and organizational capacity-building.  

c)       The Forum recognizes that LED strategies operate in a framework characterized by complexity and diversity. Such strategies should be understood as a basis for public policies for which it is necessary to strengthen the LED instruments and encourage a local entrepreneurial culture. These will strengthen production chains and lay solid foundations for the social and cultural innovation processes which are needed for a development strategy, along with emphasizing the critical role of an active citizenship, relying on and valuing the endogenous resources of the territory, and appraising the resources provided by the environment. The Forum expresses a commitment to develop effective and innovative instruments for the implementation of LED policies in the territories, some of which having been already pooled and shared during the Forum.

  1. The work carried out during this Forum demonstrates the strategic importance of the territory, of the local sphere, and o LED to achieve comprehensive development including economic, social, cultural and environmental pillars. From the range and wealth of experiences, debates and reflections expressed during the Forum, some outstanding issues and challenges  were raised, in particular:i.      The specific need to create concrete alternatives responding to the concerns of the youth, especially during a time of high youth unemployment.

    ii.      The key role of women in the processes of LED policy-making, the necessary and full participation of women in economic and political decision-making and the need to ensure that women have equal access to local economic opportunities.

    iii.      The key role of civil society, along with the other actors from the territory, in ensuring that economic development is focused on the people.

    iv.      The responsibility and opportunity of the private sector in contributing -through ethical investments – to tackling the different challenges related to LED.

    To address these challenges is necessary to take into account, inter alia:

    v. The importance of social and solidarity economy and of small and medium enterprises in promoting economic and innovation dynamics which generate decent work and in developing a territorial entrepreneurial culture.

    vi.      The importance of efficient decentralization, governance processes and local development as catalysts for an inclusive LED.

    vii.      The potential of decentralized cooperation, as well as South-South and triangular cooperation at the territorial level, as innovative methodologies to promote the exchange, innovation and learning of effective instruments and practices on LED.

    viii.      The necessary harmonization and alignment of international cooperation resources for the development of LED policies, taking into account the leading role of the territory.

  1. The LED World Forums are biennial events, which are milestones of an open process whose objective is to stimulate LED policies and joint actions among engaged stakeholders. The Forum therefore proposes to continue its work on a permanent basis, through a coordination process, sharing policies, strategies and experiences of LED among different networks and actors. To this end, the city of Turin has proposed hosting the Third World Forum of LED in 2015.
  2. The Forum would like to thank and congratulate the hosts for its success, both in terms of organization and participation. It would also like to express gratitude to all institutions, organizations and individuals which rendered this Second Forum possible, and to all participating delegations, demonstrating the wealth of valuable experiences, debates and reflections, which enabled to advance the global debate on the development of an economy at the service of the people, promoting local human development.
  3. Every participating woman and man in the II World Forum promises, by fostering an active dialogue between territories, to build together a better world pursuing a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable growth model which respects local diversity.