Celebrating decentralized cooperation projects connecting Europe to the world

Everywhere in the world, city diplomacy owes its expansion primarily to the determination of a growing number of municipalities to emulate the impact of its most successful applications.

This is particularly true in the context of decentralized cooperation, a term for the wide range of partnerships through which cities collaborate internationally to further the development of areas of the world most in need. 
In a global context where inequalities within and across national borders are sharpening considerably, it seems particularly useful to identify and celebrate methodologies that have stood out for their impact on the ground so that they can help guide the evolution of this practice.

This is precisely why PLATFORMA, the platform dedicated to development cooperation promoted by the Council of European Municipalities and Regions and supported by the European Union, organizes the PLATFORMAwards. This annual prize aims to identify and celebrate the best practices of decentralized cooperation fostering the realization of the 2030 Agenda jointly implemented by European local communities and those in partner countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

The award ceremony for the third edition of the prize was held on December 6, 2022, in Grenoble, France.

As explained by Dr. Lorenzo Kihlgren Grandi, City Diplomacy Lab director and PLATFORMAwards jury member, the awarded projects owe much of their success to their “proven ability to actively engage the residents that benefit from them. The latter, far from being mere recipients, become true partners in the project’s design and implementation.”

These are the 2022 winners:

1st prize: Belgian Federal Programme for Communal International Cooperation (PCIC) between Anderlecht (Belgium) and Marsassoum (Senegal).

This is the second phase of a program begun in 2017 aimed at simultaneously strengthening inclusive local economic development and municipal governance in Marsassoum. Its implementation rests on a meticulous application of the multi-actor principle of action in both cities.

2nd prize: Rehabilitation of infrastructure and the strengthening of the economic activity of spirulina production between Zaragoza (Spain) and Ouonck (Senegal).

The project is a virtuous example of co-development. This cooperation methodology involves migrants in order to foster integration in the community of residence and the sustainable development of their community of origin.

3rd prize: Unesco Heritage for Sustainable Cities between Haskovo (Bulgaria) and Douala 1st (Cameroon)

The project was able to advance sustainable development through a broad strategy that systematizes and adapts to the local context some of the most innovative methodologies developed internationally in the areas of preservation and enhancement of tangible and intangible heritage, participatory budgeting, support for cultural and creative industries, and sustainable smart city. 

Special prize: EU-Ukraine partnerships

The jury also decided to award a special prize to all Ukrainian and European local and regional administrations currently engaged in collaboration. The more than 700 pre-war European and Ukrainian local and regional government partnerships there are facts and have multiplied since its outbreak last February.


Every year, the evaluation of PLATFORMAwards’ shortlisted projects is made by an international jury of European elected officials and city diplomacy professionals. This is the composition of the 2022 jury:

  • Mr. Fabrizio ROSSI, Secretary General of CEMR, president of the jury
  • Dr. Pierrette HERZBERGER-FOFANA, MEP, First Vice-Chair of the European Parliament’s Committee on Development (DEVE)
  • Mr. Emmanuel CARROZ, Deputy Mayor in charge of International Cooperation and Europe, City of Grenoble (France)
  • Ms. Pilar DIAZ ROMERO, Mayor of Esplugues de Llobregat and Deputy to the Presidency, responsible for international relations, Diputació de Barcelona (Spain)
  • Ms. Gertrude Nadia Sèna DOSSA, Mayor of the 2nd district of Porto Novo (Benin), United Cities and Local Governments Africa
  • Dr. Lorenzo KIHLGREN GRANDI, Director, City Diplomacy Lab at Columbia Global Centers | Paris
  • Mr. Alessandro DA ROLD, Director General, EU40 (Network of Young European Parliamentarians)
2022 PLATFORMAwars winners and jury members

For more information about the prize and how to apply for future editions, visit the dedicated website.