|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
PRESS CONFERENCE ON MILLENNIUM TOWNS AND CITIES CAMPAIGN
There was an urgent need to decentralize development and for next week’s World Summit to take into greater account the role of local authorities in helping to achieve the Millennium Goals, members of United Cities and Local Governments said at a Headquarters press conference this morning.
The mayors and other local government leaders from around the world were in New York to discuss their plans to launch a global Millennium Towns and Cities Campaign in support of the Millennium Development Goals.
Wim Deetman, Mayor of The Hague, capital of the Netherlands, said the mayors had underlined in their meeting with Secretary-General Kofi Annan that they and local authorities all over the world faced on a daily basis the problems mentioned in the Millennium Goals, and people looked to them for answers. It was absolutely necessary that national governments and the United Nations cooperate with local authorities. The role of local authorities would be discussed during next week’s Summit, and it was hoped that their role would be mentioned in the final declaration. Decentralization was necessary for success in attaining the Millennium Goals, as well as for the process of democratization.
Paco Moncayo, Mayor of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, said they were gratified by the Secretary-General’s decision to rely on local governments as firm allies in the continuing struggle to attain the objectives that would result in a better and more united world that was free of violence and in which society’s inevitable conflicts were resolved through dialogue.
Asked what immediate problems would confront the local authorities during the Summit, Mr. Moncayo said that in the present globalized stage of human development, local governments were playing a very important role in order to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Societies were the strategic points that would allow the operation of the new, knowledge-based world and global economy. The United Nations, the structure of which was the result of a previous stage of human development, did not take sufficient account of local leadership in building a better, more fair and peaceful world. Cities did not conduct war against each other, but rather were areas of coexistence. Local governments should, therefore, have an important advisory role in the structure of the United Nations
Mr. Deetman added that while issues of slums, poverty, clean water, education, health, citizen participation, as well as equality between men and women, were problems all over the world, they were played out every day in local politics and were priorities for mayors and local authorities. That was why they wished to be allied to the United Nations.
Asked whether there was a list of the mayors who were part of the organization United Cities and Local Governments, Elisabeth Gateau, its secretary-general, said it had a website where the addresses of its member bodies were listed. Its membership extended over every region in the world and comprised more than 1,000 individual cities that were direct members and hundreds of thousands of cities that were members through their national associations.
Responding to a question about how the United Nations could help achieve decentralization, Mr. Moncayo cited the recent signing of a convention between the City of Quito and all United Nations agencies represented in Ecuador to develop projects of common interest that were linked to the Millennium Development Goals.
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