Ref. :  000022292
Date :  2004-05-05
Language :  English
Home Page / The whole website
fr / es / de / po / en

Declaration of the Founding Congress of the New Unified World Organisation of Local Authorities “United Cities and Local Governments”

Paris, 5 may 2004

“Cities, Local Governments: the Future for Development”

We the Mayors, leaders and representatives of the cities and local governments of the world, serving the populations of rural and urban communities; small, medium and large towns, metropolises and regions; gathered in Paris, France on 5 May 2004 to create a new unified world organisation of local governments;

Recognising the achievements of the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) since 1913, the World Federation of United Towns and Cities (UTO) since 1957, and Metropolis since 1984, in developing municipal international relations and strengthening local government worldwide;
Welcoming with the greatest satisfaction the fulfilment of the commitments made by mayors and local leaders at the 1996 United Nations Conference on Human Settlements to establish a single voice for cities and local governments across the world;

Convinced that global challenges of a rapidly changing world are felt first locally and need to be dealt with principally at the local level, by the sphere of government closest to the citizen;

Aware of the challenges posed to local governments with unprecedented urbanisation with more than half of the population living in urban areas.

Strongly committed to creating peaceful, fair, sustainable, equal and inclusive societies for all, based on solidarity, citizenship, good governance and human rights;
Emphasising our core values of democracy, self-government and decentralisation, as set out in the Worldwide Declaration of Local Self-Government;
Recognising the vital role of local government as a force for development, and essential to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, which are part of our daily duties in serving our cities and communities.

Establish a new world organisation, United Cities and Local Governments, to be the united voice and world advocate of democratic local self-government, and commit ourselves to:
Establishing a strong, democratic organisation, with a broad, diverse membership, and representatives in every country of the world;
Renewing and deepening our partnership with United Nations and the international community, and building a formal consultative role for local government as a pillar of the international system;
Developing an internationally agreed set of principles on decentralisation, the strengthening of local governments and local democracy, ultimately to be set out in a World Charter of Local Self-Government;

Underliningour commitment to promote world peace through increasing involvement of local authorities and their communities in the development of a more fair world based on solidarity and democratic values.
Supporting the development of strong and effective democratic local self-government, and the establishment and strengthening of national local government associations throughout the world, through initiatives, programmes and platforms for capacity building exchanges and partnerships, within the framework of decentralised cooperation and Municipal International Cooperation;
Becoming the source of key information and intelligence the situation and the evolution of local government all over the world, through the establishment of a Local Democracy Watch;
Addressing the issues, concerns and challenges for our cities and communities and, in particular, sustainable development and social inclusion, decentralisation and local democracy, and cooperation and diplomacy. We, the Mayors and local leaders, commit to supporting the achievement of the Millennium Goals and propose to tackle issues in these three key areas in order to reach the goals.


I. Sustainable Development in a Globalising World

Globalisation is particularly visible at the local level. Current global dynamics stimulate exchange and communication, but they also increase the impact of local issues internationally, potentially deepening inequalities and challenging existing international institutions and balances as never before. Local Governments have, in this context, a key role to play in sustainable growth. We local leaders from around the world commit to the following principles:

Poverty alleviation and social inclusion
Our multidimensional and integral approach (with an economic, social, political and cultural dimension) allows us to apply broad social policies that include economic growth, protection of citizens’ rights and increasing participation. Our broad responsibilities, from housing to health and education, give us unique knowledge of the needs of our communities. Our strategic role in economic development makes it possible for us to create more possibilities for our citizens and to improve their lives and working conditions.
Sustainable environment
Building on our work to disseminate and implement Local Agenda 21 and the agreements of Rio at the local level, local governments are committed to finding innovative ways to ensure quality of life on our planet for future generations, and make optimal use of the resources available for the benefit of our communities.

Water for all
Water is a basic need, and a basic right, of our communities. Access to sufficient, good quality water at a reasonable price should be a right for all, and requires both legislative and social measures to protect the least advantaged communities. We, local governments are committed to ensuring efficient, fair and sustainable water management and sanitation within our responsibilities. We also commit ourselves to raising awareness of the importance of water and its proper use by all sectors (agricultural and industrial), and to participating in initiatives that stimulate knowledge exchange, recognizing the crucial role that local governments play in this field.

Creating multicultural cities
The cities of the 21st century are multicultural spaces. Different languages, religions and cultures amalgamate, creating innovative cultures, which constitute a major asset of our cities. The protection of cultural diversity, within the framework of democratic co-existence, should be one of the pillars for local action of local governments. Local government is the only sphere of government where new citizens are allowed to vote in most countries, and are able to influence the shape of their new home. Local governments are committed to developing an Agenda 21 for Culture that should be presented in the World Urban Forum in September 2004 in Barcelona.
Broad basic rights
Well aware of the needs of our communities, local governments are committed to supporting the development of a broad legal framework that will allow the understanding of human rights in a broad sense, including: the right to education, proper health care, housing, work and equality in all its dimensions. We are committed to adopting and promoting the implementation of the European Charter of Human Rights in our cities.


II. Decentralisation and Local Democracy

In recent years, local governments and their associations have promoted innovation in public administration and States, advocating decentralisation and local self-government. The adoption of a World Charter on Local Self-government remains one of the key objectives of the World Organization of local governments, United Cities and Local Governments, building on the work of its founding organisations and their partnership with UN-Habitat.

Respecting Diversity
Respecting the differences and diversity of the different regions of the world, and conscious of the fact that local government is an integral part of the national structure of each country and that it needs to adapt to the national context, we commit ourselves to advocate decentralisation processes that develop a democratic system of governance and an adequate basic service provision for, by and with the community.

This process should be based on general principles such as subsidiary, accountability, transparency, predictability and the rule of law, and should be accompanied by broad devolution of powers and adequate resources. We, local leaders of the world, are committed to protecting the following values in our communities:
Adequate Resources
A clear arrangement for the intergovernmental transfer of financial resources is a basic requisite for a successful decentralisation policy. At the same time, the involvement of local governments in decisions concerning their income is crucial. Further, the power to generate income locally is indispensable in the complex contexts in which local governments operate.
Strategic Partnerships
Local governments need to work closely with all stakeholders in the governance processes to be successful. Public-private partnerships are crucial to the efficient management of public resources and the improvement of services. The complexity of the services demanded by our citizens, and the interdependent factors that go beyond local government powers, make it a local government responsibility to protect the interest of its community when dealing with private sector.
Increased participation of Women and Minorities
Equality is not enough. There cannot be democracy without the inclusion of all men and women in local decision making. While gender mainstreaming remains and important aim, it should not be the end of specific gender sensitive policies in all aspects of live. Particularly the participation of women in local politics will be on the top of the agenda of our World Organization, working in partnership with all women groups.
Innovative and Inclusive Decision Making
In the globalising world, public decision making processes are more and more complex with very far reaching impacts. Broader community participation is not only a demand from the citizens themselves, but also necessary for local government to increase its legitimacy and to contribute to the development of social ties. The development of innovative participation tools, like urban councils, e-democracy, participatory budgeting, are examples of these developments.


III. Cooperation and Diplomacy – a challenge for our cities

Cities, local governments and associations of local authorities have developed great experience and interest in relations with peers from around the world. They have a major contribution to make to peace, growth and international programmes of development cooperation - via Decentralised Cooperation and Municipal International Cooperation.

Learning from our peers
The strengthening of democratic local government is a prerequisite for development and requires a balanced approach towards building the democratic and operational capacity of local government on the one hand and encouraging the growth of effective civil society organisations. Local government and its associations have an important role to play as facilitators between sectors, encouraging partnerships between local governments and their communities, including partnerships with the private sector.

Local governments have wide cross-sector responsibilities and the potential ability to develop integrated approaches in working with their communities. United Cities and Local Governments welcomes the support received by innovative initiatives such as the Cities Alliance, and is committed to strengthening the links with all multilateral partners and in particular with the UN Programmes and Agencies.

World Health – a local challenge
Health issues and particularly pandemics such as AIDS are global threats that need to be tackled locally. The recent examples of rapidly spreading epidemics have shown the impact of local approaches and the importance of developed capacities of local governments. The strengthened role of local authorities accompanied by resources and training, will not only enable efficient measures to be taken when tackling the problem, but will also reduce the risks of the disease spreading.

United Cities and Local Governments is committed to working with existing networks, such as the Alliance of Mayors Against AIDS, AMMICALL, UNAIDS and the World Heath Organization, to optimise the fight against AIDS and other pandemics by promoting the exchange of knowledge between local authorities in this field.

Peace and dialogue start locally
Within the wider concept of Decentralised Cooperation, the main concerns of United Cities and Local Governments and its members are twofold. First to ensure the development of pluralist, democratic institutions in the local sphere that can effectively answer the needs of their citizenship. Second to promote tolerance and understanding for the situation of communities around the world and increase the support to international cooperation and solidarity.

United Cities and Local Governments is committed to promoting dialogue and peace through `city diplomacy` and decentralised cooperation. The exchange between local governments, with the involvement of their communities, creates joint values"that catalyse tolerance, friendship and mutual understanding.

From Information Society to an Inclusive Society
New Information Technologies must contribute to increasing the possibilities of all citizens to enjoy their full potential rights, to increasing the capacity of local governments to provide universal basic services, and to improving participation of the citizens in local decision-making.

United Cities and Local Governments will work towards an information society of inclusive cities, where diversity in culture, languages and information for all is valued and promoted. We recall the Lyon Local Government Declaration on the Information Society and are committed to promoting its implementation.


United Cities and Local Governments, as the global representative of local governments and their associations, believes decentralised cooperation, municipal international cooperation and city to city relations contribute to transforming the international relations arena into relations between communities, from and about the citizens of the world. We local leaders and local governments are committed to creating a strong network through United Cities and Local Governments that will support the development of local governments across the world working for sustainable future.

Rate this content
Average of 39 ratings 
Rating 2.44 / 4 MoyenMoyenMoyenMoyen
Same author:
 flecheWorld Forum for Democracy - “Gender Equality: Whose Battle?” from November 19th to 21st 2018
 flecheLaunch of an Internet platform to protect journalism and promote safety of journalists
 flecheSocial rights: 252 violations in 41 countries
 flecheHungary: progress needed on media freedom, anti-discrimination measures and migrants’ rights
 flecheStudy: abuse of prescription drugs
 flecheParliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe: "Annexation of Crimea is illegal"
 flecheWorld Forum for Democracy
 flechePACE Health Committee denounces ‘unjustified scare’ of Swine Flu, waste of public money
 flecheIntercultural cities - Towards a model for intercultural integration / Edited by Phil Wood
 flecheCybercrime lawmakers call for worldwide implementation of the Budapest Convention
 flecheInternational conference " Rethinking cultural policy: implementing a new paradigm" (10-11 June 2010, Brussels)
 flecheGeorge A. Papandreou: ''Humanising and democratising globalisation''
 flecheLanguage rights of national minorities must be respected - Viewpoint by COE Human Rights Commissioner
 flecheCopenhagen political declaration lacks ambition, regrets PACE President
 flecheInternational Migrants Day - Recalling the plight of people on the move because of the economic crisis and changes in the environment
 flecheMulticulturalism is an important dimension of our national identities - Viewpoint by COE Human Rights Commissioner
 flecheCouncil of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Local and Regional Government adopts the Utrecht Declaration
 flecheClimate change is causing an unprecedented, global human rights crisis – and must now be countered by co-ordinated, rights-based action
 flecheLudmila Sfirloaga : ''Co-operation between European regions is essential to face future challenges''
 flecheE-democracy as a chance to increase citizens participation in local politics
 flecheRecommendation CM/Rec(2009)7 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on national film policies and the diversity of cultural expressions
 flecheLiving in a healthy environment should become a human right
 flecheEuronews reports on pilot "Intercultural cities"
 flecheViewpoint by Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg: "Serious implementation of human rights standards requires that benchmarking indicators are defined"
 flecheFirst international meeting of the Territories of Co-responsibility (September 25th 2009, Mulhouse - France)
 flecheFirst international meeting of the Territories of Co-responsibility (September 25th 2009, Mulhouse - France)
 flecheEuropean Urban Charter II: the Congress calls for a new urbanity
 flecheThe Council of Europe publishes a book about economic migration
 fleche''The times when governments could regulate territorial development alone are gone"
 fleche"The response to the crisis must include a shift towards more equality" : View point by Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg
 flecheTerry Davis: minority languages ''a source of cultural richness"
 flecheEurope has learned to fight terrorism the hard way
 flecheInternational financial crisis: consequences for European territorial authorties
 fleche''Intercultural dialogue should not be reduced to exchanges of benevolent platitudes at international seminars''
 fleche“Arbitrary procedures for terrorist black-listing must now be changed” - Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg's Viewpoint
 flecheDiscours d'Esther Maurer, membre du Congrès des pouvoirs locaux et régionaux du Conseil de l’Europe à la Conférence sur les Droits de l’homme dans les sociétés culturellement diverses: défis et perspectives
 flecheParliaments active in guaranteeing the right to water
 fleche"The contribution of minority languages to regional development"
 flecheConference of Ministers responsible for Culture on “Intercultural dialogue as a basis for peace and sustainable development in Europe and its neighbouring regions” (2 – 3 December 2008, Baku - Azerbaijan)
 flecheCooperation between cities and regions, an alternative to conflict: Round Table in Brussels
 flechePrime Minister of Sweden - ''Council of Europe has to act when international law has been violated''
 fleche''It is wrong to criminalise migration''
 flecheTerritorial authorities a catalyst for action on climate change and biodiversity, says Gaye Doganoglu
 flecheThematic report of the 8th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs : "Economic migration, social cohesion and development: towards an integrated approach"
 flecheViewpoint by Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg: "Refugees must be able to reunite with their family members"
 flecheTerry Davis: promote the learning of intercultural competences
 flecheTripartite high level meeting: the promotion of intercultural dialogue
 flecheCherniguiv seminar calls for strengthening efficiency of transfrontier and inter-regional co-operation
 flecheMORE Database: a new tool helping transfrontier co-operation
 flecheThe “White Paper on Intercultural Dialogue” of the Council of Europe
 fleche“Congress has a reinforced political role and unique institutional presence”, says the outgoing President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, in his final activity report
 flecheIan Micallef: ''European construction cannot be achieved without the Mediterranean, and the Arab world''
 flecheIntercultural and inter-religious dialogue: conclusions of 2008 meeting
 flecheEuropean Day of Integration and Intercultural Tolerance
 fleche2008 Council of Europe Exchange on the religious dimension of intercultural dialogue
 flecheConference to propose landmark cybercrime guidelines to increase co-operation between law enforcement and internet service providers
 flecheDubai Final Declaration
 fleche“At last, Europe has an effective weapon to fight modern slavery”
 flecheYavuz Mildon: ''L'espace rhénan est un véritable laboratoire de la coopération transfrontalière en Europe''
 flecheViewpoint by Commissioner Thomas Hammarberg: “The new European migration policy should be based on human rights principles, not xenophobia”
 flecheCongress creates Ad Hoc Working Group on Interregional Cooperation
 fleche''Our society is a quilt which can only be sewn together through mutual acceptance''
 flecheEuropean Film Awards – the Eurimages Prize
 flecheRecommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the legal status of non-governmental organisations in Europe
 flecheCouncil of Europe ministers promote good democratic governance at local level
 flecheCouncil of Europe member states to meet in Valencia to discuss a common strategy to improve local and regional democracy
 flecheCouncil of Europe member states to meet in Valencia to discuss a common strategy to improve local and regional democracy (October 15-16, 2007, Valencia - Spain)
 flecheInterview with Lluis Maria de Puig: “Regionalisation makes for political stability in Europe”
 flecheImage des femmes dans la publicité
 fleche“Victims of human rights violations deserve more”
 flecheA new Council of Europe Convention to protect children against sexual exploitation and abuse

 flecheYavuz Mildon: ''L'objectif de l'Eurorégion Mer noire est de contribuer à la stabilité et à la sécurité en Europe''
 flecheTerry Davis: Direct cooperation between local and regional authorities is the most effective
 flecheBorders and bridges of the Mediterranean Village: "All Different All Equal" campaign facilitates discussion on migration and inclusion
 flecheInternational conference: "Why terrorism? Addressing the Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism" (Strasbourg, 25-26 April 2007)
 fleche Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on protecting the role of the media in democracy in the context of media concentration
 flecheSpeech by Halvdan Skard, Congress President at the Conference on the parliamentary dimension of election observation
 flecheDéclaration sur le dialogue interculturel et la prévention des conflits (Opatija - Croatie, 22 octobre 2003)
 flecheDiscussion paper on the Intercultural Dialogue Forum of the Council of Europe INGO Conference (Strasbourg, November 2006)
 flechePreparing the ”White Paper on intercultural dialogue” of the Council of Europe: Introduction to the consultation process - Consultation document
 flecheSite dédié au dialogue interculturel du Conseil de l'Europe
 flecheOn Human Rights Day, PACE President calls for stronger democratic controls over secret services
 flecheVolga Forum Declaration
 flecheFinal Declaration of the International Conference on Intercultural and Interfaith Dialogue (Volga Forum) : in favour of regular dialogue between the Council of Europe and religious communities
 flecheLa coopération transfrontalière est un outil précieux qui permet aux régions de s’ouvrir à de nouvelles idées
 flecheSpeech by Terry Davis, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, at the Launch of the Adriatic Euro-region Conference
 flecheCouncil of Europe Submission to the Internet Governance Forum
 flecheConference ''Inter-regional cooperation in the Black Sea Basin'' (30 March 2006, Constanta - Romania)
 flecheRecommendation Rec(2006)3 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on the UNESCO Convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions
 flecheReport on Local and Regional Democracy in France
 flecheEuropean Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
 flecheDéclaration finale de la conférence sur « la promotion des produits typiques regionaux face a la globalisation : Eduquer le palais »
 flecheThe impact of globalisation on regions
 flecheEuropean Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities
 flecheEuropean Charter of Local Self-Government
 flechePACE President warns that ‘Europe could soon be on the road back to egocentric nationalism’
 flecheSpeech by Terry Davis, Secretary General on the occasion of the 60th meeting of the CDDH
 flecheCouncil of Europe: Reports on racism in Albania, Croatia, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom
 flecheSpeech by Giovanni di Stasi, President of the Congress, to the 9th Petersburg International Economic Forum
13-16 June 2005

 flecheThe role of the Council of Europe in the new European institutional architecture
 flecheCouncil of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime and on the Financing of Terrorism
 flecheCouncil of Europe Convention on the Prevention of Terrorism
 flecheCouncil of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Being
 flecheRegional Forum “Cultural Corridors in South East Europe”
(Varna, Bulgaria - 20-21 May 2005)

 flecheEU proposes WTO consultations with China on two textile product categories
 fleche2nd European Youth Summit (Warsaw, 15-16 May 2005)
 flecheWarsaw Declaration
 flecheMigration et intégration: un défi et une opportunité pour l'Europe
 flecheCouncil of Europe moves to protect victims of terrorist acts
 flecheDavis, Terry
 flecheDiversité culturelle et pluralisme des médias à l’heure de la mondialisation
 flecheOpening Conference for the 50th Anniversary of the European Cultural Convention
 fleche50th anniversary of the European cultural convention
 flecheEuropean ministers call on the Council of Europe to boost dialogue with neighbouring regions
 flecheReport to the Secretary General to the Wroclaw Conference on the 50 years of the European cultural convention
 flecheOur work in the field of culture remains fundamental - Ministerial conference: Defining the way ahead for European cultural policy
 flecheProtocol No. 14 to the European Convention on Human Rights: Signature and ratification ceremony
 flecheMonaco becomes the 46th Council of Europe member state
 flecheEuropean Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
 flecheLa résolution des conflits, thème d'une rencontre de jeunes d'Israël, de Palestine et du Kosovo (1er - 7 juillet 2004)
 flecheTurkey and the European Union: looking beyond prejudice
 flecheNew ECRI report on San Marino
 flecheStatement by Javier Solana, EU High Representative for CFSP at the Launch of the Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina
 flecheCouncil of Europe Anti-Torture Committee visits Turkey
 flecheLinguistic variety one of Europe’s strengths
 flecheEuropean Day of Languages 2003 - 26 September
 flecheProgramme commun Conseil de l'Europe/Union européenne pour la sauvegarde du patrimoine culturel de l'Europe du Sud-Est
 flecheThirty Council of Europe Culture Ministers to discuss their new role in conflict prevention
Keywords   go
Translate this page Traduire par Google Translate

Share on Facebook
Partager sur Twitter
Share on Google+Google + Share on LinkedInLinkedIn
Partager sur MessengerMessenger Partager sur BloggerBlogger