World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC)



Felipe de Jesús Cantú
the Mayor of Monterrey

International Conference on Financing for Development

Monterrey, México 
18-22 March 2002 

WACLAC was established in 1996 to provide a coordination mechanism for the international local government associations in their work with the United Nations. The coordination is implemented through a rotating Presidency which is currently held by the International Union of Local Authorities. WACLAC's members include the two global generalist local government associations, the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and the United Towns Organisation (UTO), Metropolis, the world association of large cities, and the Arab Towns Organisation (ATO).
Through the work of its member associations, the WACLAC coordination has played an active role in promoting the role and voice of local authorities. WACLAC's main objectives are promoting local autonomy and strengthening the voice of cities and local authorities on the international stage. Through its member associations, WACLAC also aims to advance the role of cities and local authorities in international cooperation and the follow-up and implementation of the Habitat Agenda and Local Agenda 21.

The key issues raised in the policy position are:
1. Acknowledgement of local government as a key partner, catalyst for local economic development and strategic leader
2. Support to local government capacity building and the development of innovative ways to deliver ODA with and to local governments
3. Adequate allocation of resources to local authorities
4. Further debt relief for the world's poorest countries with a proportion of the funds made available to local governments for pro-poor initiatives

Local Government Policy Position

1. We, the representatives of local governments and their associations around the world, speaking through WACLAC with one voice, welcome the global response to the challenges of financing for development and support a holistic approach to development, finance and trade. As local governments, we are committed to poverty alleviation and the internationally agreed development goals in the Millennium declaration, and seek to be a positive and active partner in both the Monterrey conference and its follow up.

2. We believe that the International Development Targets will not be achieved without the full involvement of local government, the sphere of government closest to the people. The fight against poverty is to a large extent carried out at the local level and the role of local governments, working in partnership with their communities, as service providers and community leaders, is crucial to poverty alleviation.

3. Increasing urbanisation means that local governments are also key to the development of sustainable cities and alleviation of urban poverty. Effective city leaders can bring together the private sector and other stakeholders, and act as a catalyst for economic growth and sustainable development. Local governments, both in urban and rural areas, are crucial in ensuring effective strategies for the future development of their areas.

4. We therefore believe that strengthening the institutional capacities, as well as the resources, of local government must be an integral part of the global effort to implement the commitments of the Millennium declaration and the Financing for Development process, and to support appropriate decentralization agreed y the different spheres of government. We call on national governments to ensure the adequate allocation of resources to local governments and to invest in local government capacity building.

5. Local governments play an important role in mobilizing local, national and domestic financial resources for development. Local governments not only encourage private and local initiatives and support small and medium size enterprises, but often have responsibility for raising tax and implementing tax regimes, and financing urban development and infrastructure initiatives, including housing. Local authorities also have an important role in mobilising, and ensuring optimal use of, foreign direct investment, and work closely with the private sector in their areas.

6. We believe that Official Development Assistance (ODA) is an essential complement to these forms of financing for development and call on governments to meet the target of 0.7% of GNP. However, to be effective, this ODA must be based on sound policies and good governance, not only at the national level, but at the local level. Local authorities that are accountable, transparent and inclusive play a key strategic role in fostering successful local economic environments and sustainable development.

7. We call on governments to make national and multilateral ODA more effective, flexible and innovative and to learn from new forms of development assistance where donors are working directly with local authorities and their associations. This type of development assistance has long term benefits and must be based on partnerships between local governments and international donors. Where appropriate, it can build on the existing and potential partnerships between local authorities and their associations, including on a South-South basis.

8. We support the development of international financial, monetary and trade frameworks and institutions that are equitable, transparent and inclusive. With regard to the funds which are released by the cancellation or reduction of international debt, special attention should be paid to making a proportion of these funds available to local governments for improving basic services and anti-poverty measures.

9. We believe that the UN system is a fundamental pillar for the promotion of international cooperation and wish to build on the UN commitment to strengthen dialogue with local governments and the establishment the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities. We commit ourselves to working closely UN-Habitat and other United Nations agencies and bodies to meet our shared development goals.

10. In conclusion, we call on governments and multilateral institutions:
       a. To acknowledge local government as a key partner in the Financing for Development process
       b. To acknowledge the role of local governments as catalysts for local economic development and strategic leaders in the future development   of their areas
       c. To support local government capacity building initiatives as an integral part of the Millennium declaration targets
       d. To support innovative ways of delivering ODA through working directly with local governments and their associations
       e. To ensure adequate allocation of resources to local authorities both in terms of revenue resources and access to capital finance through taxes, grants and, within a proper framework, borrowing
       f. To give further debt relief for the world's poorest countries and to ensure that a proportion of the funds made available by the cancellation or reduction of international debt are made available to local governments for pro-poor initiatives.

11. We Local governments are committed to:
       a. Being partners of national governments and supporting the achievement of the goals of the Millennium Declaration.
       b. sharing and disseminating good practices of development at local level that could be used as model to others and inspire the international community.
       c. Creating a Monitoring Committee within the framework of WACLAC, that will evaluate the steps taken towards the achievement of the Goals of Monterrey.

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