AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES COORDINATION
at the World Summit for Sustainable Development
May I present the warm greetings of the delegates to the Local Government Session. Over 700 mayors, local governments leaders and representatives have been meeting over the past three days. We have discussed many topics at the heart of the work of the Summit.
We have this afternoon agreed a Local Government Declaration, which
has the support of local government around the world. This complements
We believe that the global issues being addressed by the Summit must be addressed at the local level. For example, over the past few days we have been discussing our responsibilities in providing drinking water, clean energy, public health and protecting biodiversity. These are indeed the daily concerns of our citizens and our local governments.
We are committed to good governance at local level. By this we mean strong, effective and transparent local governments. Local governments that work closely with their communities and other partners, paying special attention to the needs of the weakest in our communities.
In this spirit, in the ten years since Rio over six thousand local governments have set up Local Agenda 21 processes with their communities. We are now committed to move from Local Agenda to Local 'Action and to playing a strong role in delivering this Summit's objectives.
The local and the global are not two separate realities. They are two sides of the same coin. We express, therefore, our full support for the Millennium Goals. We will campaign to promote them across the world.
We also call for increased aid for development, and for more debt cancellation for the poorest countries. As part of this, more resources need to be directed to local government so that we can play our full role.
The complex issues we face require a strong and equal partnership between all spheres of government. The international,1the national and the local must work together if we are to succeed.
We recognise that in many countries, the role and capacity of local government needs to be improved. We believe that city-to-city cooperation is a vital tool to help us learn from each other. Capacity Building requires long-term commitment and support from national governments and the international community.
Local government has come to Johannesburg in large numbers, in a spirit of optimism and determination. But we have one concern that I have been asked by my colleagues to share with you.
We regret that, so far, the refeXences in the formal Summit documents to the role of local government are very limited. In the Rio Declaration, a special chapter was devoted to our role. That is not the case here. We hope that in the coming days, this can still be put right.
In particular, we hope and urge that the Summit's Political Declaration will recognise our role and commitment in a positive way. Ten years after Rio, it is time for action by all of us. Local action, undertaken in solidarity and partnership, can move the world.
Thank you Mr Chairman and distinguished delegates for your attention. May I now formally present to you, Mr Chairman, the Local Government Declaration and Resolution.