On 2 October 2015, Fondation Pierre Fabre hosted a conference entitled “The role of territorial authorities in healthcare aid for Southern countries”.
Territorial authorities are important actors that are too little-known in supporting development of Southern countries.
To highlight the important role territorial authorities play in implementing initiatives to support populations’ health in the least-developed countries, Fondation Pierre Fabre took the initiative to bring together public authorities, private entities, healthcare providers and nongovernmental organisations at a conference held on 2 October 2015 at the Foundation administrative headquarters at En Doyse, Lavaur, in the Tarn department of France.
The day was divided into two parts:
– a morning to analyse the history, organisation and current achievements of decentralised cooperation, with presentations by Jacques Godfrain, former Cooperation Minister and Treasurer of Fondation Pierre Fabre, and Martin Malvy, President of the Midi-Pyrenées Region, followed by a roundtable on the issues and challenges for regional healthcare entities cooperating with the South.
– an afternoon devoted to real-life case histories from actors working in the field, with experience feedback from Dr Jean-Pierre Lamarque, Health Cooperation Advisor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in West Africa.
The morning roundtable showed to what degree decentralised cooperation has evolved and become more structured and professional, with tangible “returns on investment” for both the Southern beneficiaries and the Northern territories that rely on and develop their various forms of expertise. The speakers stressed the need to strengthen joint cooperation efforts involving territorial authorities, public agencies and private entities. They also emphasised the importance of taking local cultural specificities into account and ensuring skills transfer to achieve sustainable development. Lastly, they underscored how coordination between the various cooperating parties remains essential.
The afternoon was a chance to speak for representatives of the 09 Cameroun and Orsources associations, taking action in Africa, the Foundation Max Cadet, which works in Haiti, and the Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier University, which, in partnership with Fondation Pierre Fabre, helps train pharmacists in Southeast Asia and Africa. This field feedback highlighted the importance of defining the appropriate project-selection criteria and indicators to assess a project’s effectiveness. They were preceded by Dr Jean-Pierre Lamarque, who spoke about the conditions for successful cooperation and stressed the added value of territorial authorities in implementing niche projects. Decentralised cooperation is emerging as one of the embodiments of France’s bilateral cooperation, allowing direct, territory-to-territory collaboration not limited to institutional entities.
The lively and heartfelt discussions made clear the public interest in cooperative projects with Southern countries. By giving the conference participants a place where they can share and pool their experience and develop network contacts conducive to future collaborations, Fondation Pierre Fabre remains true to its mission of serving the healthcare needs of the least-developed countries.