Follow-up to the World Summit on Sustainable Development - CG (10) 24 Part II

Rapporteur :
Mr Keith WHITMORE (United Kingdom, R)



For debate in the Standing Committee – see Article 15 of the Rules of Procedure of the Congress - Objections to the Standing Committee procedure must reach the Chief Executive of the Congress a clear week before the meeting of the Standing Committee ; if 5 members object, the report will be submitted to the Plenary Session.

Pour débat à la Commission permanente – voir Article 15 du Règlement intérieur du Congrès - Les éventuelles objections à l’examen en Commission permanente doivent parvenir au Directeur exécutif du Congrès une semaine avant la réunion de la Commission permanente ; si 5 membres du Congrès présentent des objections, le rapport sera soumis à la session plénière.

The outcomes of the Summit

The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held from 26 August – 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg, South Africa, is the largest meeting that has ever been convened.

It was attended by 187 countries, and 104 heads of state. 22,000 delegates were formally registered for WSSD of which 10,000 were from Member States, governmental and related specialised organisations. Some 8,000 were representatives of major group organisations identified in Agenda 21; Women, Children and Youth, Indigenous People, NGOs, Workers and Trade Unions, Business and Industry, Scientific and Technological Communities, Farmers and Local Authorities.

The Summit’s purpose was to tackle a huge and controversial agenda; to take steps to alleviate poverty and halt environmental degradation of the planet.

Specifically the aims were to:

Ø review progress since the 1992 United Nations Conference on the Environment & Development, the ‘Earth Summit’ held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;

Ø identify ways in which sustainable development can be progressed by reaffirming and setting new targets, timetables and laying out action plans for adoption by all nations;

Ø identify mechanisms, programmes and resources to achieve the Millennium Declaration Goals, agreed at the United Nations Millennium Summit, September 2000 in New York.

The three expected outputs from the Summit were delivered:

Ø an agreed Political Declaration where Heads of State and Government committed to taking the action needed to make sustainable development a reality

Ø a negotiated Programme of Implementation or Action, (POI), to reinvigorate commitments to the implementation of Agenda 21 setting out in detail the action that needs to be taken in specific areas;

Ø commitments by governments and other stakeholders to a broad range of Partnerships, a series of voluntary activities and initiatives that will implement sustainable development at the national, regional and international level. Over 220 partnerships with $23 million in resources were identified in advance of the Summit and around 60 partnerships were announced during the Summit including major initiatives by US, Japan, UK, Germany, France and the EU.

The 10-days of intense - and at times tortuous - negotiation resulted in mixed views on the Summit's success. This relates, in part, to how heavily aspirations were pinned on the WSSD being able to:

Ø build on the commitments made at other world (parallel) level meetings; the Doha Declaration, adopted at the WTO Ministerial Round in 2000, and the Monterrey Consensus agreed at the Financing for Development conference 2001;

Ø set regulatory – rather than voluntary - frameworks to manage the forces of globalisation, particularly in relation and trade (e.g. the impact that farm subsidies in ‘rich’ countries has on developing countries, and access to markets ) and issues around corporate responsibility and accountability and the profound impact of transnational corporations.

Ø Governments generally view WSSD as a success, of varying degrees, acknowledging that that expectations were set very high and at that “we got the best deal we could”;

Ø NGOs, however, view it as disappointing, and in some cases, as a step backwards, headlined in the press by development NGOs as “crumbs for the poor” and by environmental NGOs as a “political sell-out”, mainly due to the failure to agree targets on renewable energy;

Ø Businesses, arguably, take the most positive line, in that the UN for the first time, formally recognised the role of other actors and the need for partnership action. Of the 200+ (cross sector) partnerships submitted to the UN, many were the focus of presentations during the Summit.

Governments established some important new targets, such as:

Despite Government rhetoric on the success of the Summit and feelings that the overall outcomes are mixed, it is widely acknowledged that the Summit’s most significant:

Ø achievements were the commitments to reduce by half, the 2.4 billion people who do not have access to sanitation by 2015; and to set up an international network of marine reserves by 2012;

Ø disappointment was the failure to secure targets on renewable energy and natural resource depletion;

Ø surprise related to climate change, with the announcements by Russia, Canada and Mexico to commit to ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, and China’s news that it had already done so.

Following the decisions made at the Summit, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) will now have an enhanced role in respect of reviewing and monitoring progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 and fostering coherence of the implementation, initiatives and partnerships.

Regional and Local Government at the Summit

The Council of Europe sent a delegation to the Summit, headed by Wofgand Behrendt. All members of this delegation worked highly effectively as a team. By apportioning attendance at different sessions, the team was able to maximise its outreach.

One the major parallel events was an inter-parliamentary Round Table organised jointly by the Parliamentary Assembly and the European Parliament with the assistance of the South African Parliament.

The North South Centre, in association with the United National Commission for Europe and the Regional Environmental Centre for Central and Eastern Europe, organised a conference, opening the series of side events, on the reinforcement of environmental rights and their contribution to sustainable development in the framework of good governance.

Council of Europe Director General of Social Cohesion, Gabreilla Battaini, in her address to the Summit on 29 August, emphasised the importance of action to promote social cohesion and stressed that the Council of Europe approaches sustainable development not only in terms of the environment but also in terms of building cohesive societies.

Cllr Keith Whitmore, Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee of the Congress attended and made key presentations at the four-day Local Government Session parallel session. This session, with the support of the United Nations and major international associations of local government authorities was convened by ICLEI. This centred around the unique ability of local government to achieve tangible improvements in global environmental and sustainable development conditions through cumulative local action.

‘Local Action Moves the World’, the title of this four day session, provided an opportunity for local government leaders and their partners to present the key messages from the Local Government Dialogue Paper, the official representation of the local government position, to the Summit and the world. These messages were illustrated by best strategy case examples and supported by commitments for the future.

On the final day of the session the Local Government Declaration was endorsed, as was the “Johannesburg Call”. This is a shorter statement of concerns and commitments put together by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and ICLEI. . The President of the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and WACLAC, took these two statements across to a plenary session of the UN and presented them to the chair of the session in a speech that was well received.

The Johannesburg Call includes the proposal to relabel ‘Local Agenda 21’ as ‘Local Action 21’. This is designed for authorities to use the new emphasis of ‘action’ for continuing work on LA21, but giving a new emphasis to implementation, and concrete changes, consistent with the overall philosophy of the Summit.

Significantly in the Plan of Implementation, paragraph 149 includes reference to national governments recognising and agreeing

This paragraph thus provides an important mandate for the Congress in taking forward its own current programme of work. The Congress will be an essential player in contributing to the Summit’s agreed outcomes, and in ensuring that positive, practical change is delivered on the ground at regional and local level.

However, it will be key that all the various committees and working groups of the Council of Europe consider the full details of the Summit’s outcomes, particularly the Plan of Implementation, to assess how future work can be targeted to meet the Summit’s priorities.

Follow-up events from the Summit and next steps

Over the coming months various conferences and meetings are programmed to assess the significance of the Summit, the outcomes and what it means for certain sectors.

Cllr Keith Whitmore attended as Chair of the Sustainable Development Committee of CLRAE, and was a key contributor panellist at a conference session held 3-6 November 2002 hosted by Kolding, Denmark.

This conference entitled, Johannesburg+Europe: Implementing the outcomes of the World Summit on Sustainable Development by European local governments, was organised in co-operation with national governments, EU institutions and sectors of society (ICELI).
182 delegates from 25 countries in Europe discussed the next steps for local authorities in pursuing sustainable development following the Summit.

The need for co-operation and mobilisation, the importance of partnerships, greater local dialogue and international exchange were the clear messages from the conference. Europe was identified as playing a key role in sustainable production and consumption.
It was acknowledged that there is a need to demonstrate a decoupling of economic growth from consumption.

In particular, public sector procurement was highlighted as a key area where massive gains can be made in delivering sustainable development at the regional and local level. Public authorities spend 16% of EU GDP; that is equal to half the GDP of Germany.

Sustainable or “green” procurement should be a key follow-up focus for all levels of government.

Getting national governments to recognise the role, capabilities and potentialities of local, and regional, government still presents itself as a huge challenge as evidenced by relatively little direct reference to local authorities in the Summit’s key outcome documents, the Plan of Implementation and the Political Declaration.

In referring to partnerships, the key “Type 2” outcomes from the Summit, the role of local government was emphasised in the context of:
Ø public private partnerships PPPs
Ø inter-municipal, city-to-city co-operation
Ø local to national partnerships involving different spheres of government, and also,
Ø local to global partnerships involving, for example, UN agencies, CoPs, World Bank and IMF.

There is continued drive to protect the global common goods Water; energy and climate; health; agriculture, soil, food; biodiversity.

Good management tools, eco-efficiency in our cities, viable local economies and empowered communities are essential requirements. There should be greater use of new tools such as eco-procurement.

The issue of security, and the integration of risk in creating resilient communities was discussed. This was also linked to the need for vulnerability impact assessment, for communities to consider the future impacts of climate change on their area. The need for tools to do this work, looking 30 years, ahead was emphasised.

Policies have to be more sustainable – more attention .has to be given to the social, ecological and economic dimensions of sustainable development working in an integrated way. Long-term perspectives using more extended time frames are essential for delivering sustainable development.

More attention needs to be given to equity, global solidarity (Climate policy and North-South twinning policies). A new consultative process with citizens and stakeholders has been established.

Factors that determine municipalities progress in sustainable development are:
Ø an active and politically mobilised population
Ø interested and mobilised civil servants
Ø local politicians with particular concern for environmental issues
Ø positive international contacts and networks
Ø existing environment-and-development initiatives
Ø capacity – money and knowledge
Ø indicators are communication tools, these must be linked to thresholds

The workshop sessions focused on Local Sustainability Strategies for Europe.
These covered:
Ø Public Private Partnerships
Ø Intermunicipal development co-operation
Ø Good Governance
Ø European and national support for LA21
Ø Implementation Partnership: Local Integrated Resource Management
Ø Local Action 21: Mainstreaming the Local Agenda 21
Ø Management Performance towards Sustainable Communities and Cities
Ø Buying Green: Using the market for Sustainable Development
Ø Blue Planet: Policy for sustainable water management
Ø Climate Protection: Multi level governance

The European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign (ESC&TC)

Local Agenda 21 is very much a viable tool and the principles of sustainable development as embodied in the Aalborg Charter , to which Campaign Members are signatories, are a helpful guide.
The new political Board recently set up for the ESC&TC was announced. This has representatives from 10 networks that now support the Campaign and its work. These are:

Ø Association of Cites and Regions for Recycling (ACRR)
Ø Climate Alliance – Klima-Bundis – Alianza del Clima e.V
Ø Council of European Municipalities & Regions (CEMR)
Ø Engerie-Cites
Ø International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives
Ø Medcities
Ø Union of Baltic Cities (UBC)
Ø The World Federation of Unites Cities (FMCU-UTO)
Ø World Health Organisation (WHO) – Healthy Cities

All countries in wider Europe are eligible to become members of the Campaign and to benefit from its diverse base of network activities.

A Type 2 partnership, to develop a Regional Sustainable Cities and Towns Campaign, proposed by the European Commission in co-operation with ESC&TC, was discussed. The main objective of this is to assist local authorities outside of Europe to take practical steps towards achieving sustainable local development with a focus on the urban context. This involves promoting and strengthening local governance and the increased participation of stakeholders, exchange of knowledge and technology experiences.

A full report of the Kolding conference and the workshops can seen on the website. Http://

The importance of local authority networks working in closer collaboration with each other, to add value and synergy in delivering sustainable development, was emphasised by Cllr Keith Whitmore.

The Congress could usefully provide added synergy to this critical mass of networks. It is therefore proposed that it would be worthwhile approaching the ESC&TC to investigate how CLRAE could become associated and involved in the broad range of sustainable development activity at regional, and especially at, local levels.

In addition, the Congress could, in its own right urge each of it members to organise a National Congress on Sustainable Development bringing together national, regional and local government authorities from each country during 2003/2004. This would:

Ø provide valuable opportunities for discussion on the issues raised above at the Kolding Conference workshops;

Ø offer a valuable opportunity to build on collaborative working between different spheres of government, as emphasised in the Summit’s Political Declaration and Plan of Implementation;

Ø help to evolve a joint strategy for Regional and Local Authorities on Sustainable Development and Implementation Programmes;

Ø provide the opportunity to raise the awareness and adoption of long- term strategic planning processes, specifically looking to future regional proposals such as the EU communication on climate change and vulnerability impact assessments for communities.

The deliberations from each of these national conferences could then be fed into the proceedings of the Aalborg+10 Conference, co-ordinated by the ESC&TC with support from the EC, proposed to take place in 2004.

It is recommended that these suggestions are taken forward by the Sustainable Development Committee in dialogue with the ESC&TC.

The Johannesburg Call
30 August 2002

A statement by local governments of the world at the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Johannesburg, South Africa, August 2002

We, the leaders and representatives of local governments from across the globe, gathered in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2002, commit ourselves to the sustainable development of our planet and people.

Since 1992, local governments have made significant strides towards realising the goals and aspirations of the Rio Earth Summit. Today, we pledge to intensify those local efforts to realising the aspirations, goals and targets of the Johannesburg Summit, as well as all existing international protocols and declarations, including Agenda 21, the Millennium Declaration and the Habitat Agenda. As the interface between government and people, we are dedicated to the attainment of a more just, equitable and caring world.

We realise that local actions alone will not save the planet. We therefore urge our national governments, representative international bodies and the United Nations to enhance our capacity and ability to launch a frontline attack on poverty and underdevelopment. Given our pivotal role in this universal battle, we also urge these national and international bodies to make all efforts to strengthen institutions of organised local government. In the African context, we call on all international institutions, including the United Nations, to work through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) to support local government in the continent.

We call upon national governments to recognise local government as a vital sphere of government that is the most visible face of the developmental state.

We call for a new form of global solidarity where all like-minded individuals, organisations and spheres of government rally together to build a new tomorrow.

We are deeply concerned about the impact of globalisation at local level, especially within the developing world and countries with economies in transition. We have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of aspects of our international system on local communities and our local spaces.

We therefore call for a fundamental restructuring of international relations in order to realise a just and more humane world order. We believe that the current structure of the world economy limits local governments’ ability to fulfil our developmental mandate. Inadequate access to international markets, an inequitable global trade regime, unsustainable debt, declining levels of Overseas Development Assistance and the digital divide impede our efforts to govern with authority and humanity.

We urge the world’s states and international representative organisations gathered in Johannesburg in 2002 to heed the voice of international local government. As we venture into the new millennium, we commit ourselves to:
Ø Halving the number of people without access to safe water and sanitation;
Ø Undertaking active steps to address public health problems, in line with the WTO/TRIPS agreement;
Ø Improving access to affordable modern energy services;
Ø Increasing market access for goods from the developing world;
Ø Moving towards technology and knowledge partnerships in the context of a fair and accessible intellectual property regime
Ø Ensuring equitable access to quality education at all levels for all

We commit ourselves to achieving these targets by 2015.

We, as local government from across the globe, acknowledge that ours is not an equal, fair or just world. If international gatherings like this one are to make a meaningful difference to people’s lives, we – the representatives of the people – must be bold and unequivocal about making changes. We recognise that without political commitment, nothing will be achieved. We therefore pledge our unwavering commitment to eradicating poverty, correcting the imbalances between the developed and developing world and fundamentally reshaping our world. We also commit ourselves to developing very practical, realistic Action Plans and to implement them through Local Action 21 programs to realise these goals. We challenge all Heads of State meeting in Johannesburg next week to do the same.

The time to act is now. Let us not lose this opportunity; there may not be another.

Implementation Framework for the post Johannesburg decade of Local Agenda 21

Ten years after the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, Implementation of Agenda 21, the Rio conventions, and the Habitat Agenda is proceeding so slowly that the horrors of global poverty and environmental disruption are becoming ever more overwhelming. We demand, therefore, a profound shift in the current development model to one based on true equity and deep reverence for the processes of nature. We commit ourselves to the Earth Charter and the Melbourne Principles, and assert the following.

Ø Local Governments implementing sustainable development are determined to enter a decade of accelerated, effective action to create sustainable communities and protect the global common goods.
Ø Local Governments will work to ensure viable local economies, just and peaceful communities, eco-efficient cities, and secure and resilient communities able to respond to the change, while ensuring safe and accessible water supplies and protecting our climate, soil, biodiversity and human health.
Ø Local Governments call for Local Action 21 – the motto for accellerated implementation of sustainable development in the decade following the Johannesburg World Summit.
Ø Local Governments call for Local Action 21 – a mandate given by the World Summit on Sustainable Development to local authorities worldwide to engage in the implementation of local agendas and action plans.
Ø Local Governments call for Local Action 21 – a movement of cities, towns, and counties and their associations towards action for sustainability.
Ø Local Governments will reinforce their commitment to Local Agenda 21 and its implementation throughout the next decade of Local Action 21.


We, the Mayors, Leaders and representatives of the cities and local governments of the world, and of their international and national associations, meeting in Johannesburg on the occasion of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), agree the following Declaration:

Welcoming the initiative of the United Nations and its Member States in convening the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which meets at a crucial time in the life of our planet,

Committed to the goals and targets of Agenda 21, the Habitat Agenda and of the UN Millennium Declaration, in the struggle against global poverty and for sustainable development;

Reaffirming our commitment to the principles of sustainable development, including solidarity, transversality (integrating the economic, social and environmental dimensions), participation of civil society in decision-making, and responsibility towards future generations and disadvantaged populations;

Aware that, despite many successes and much commitment (in particular by local governments) in relation to Agenda 21, we remain far from achieving a sustainable future for humankind;

Gravely concerned at the ongoing process of depletion of the earth’s resource base and degradation of the global environment;

Convinced that, if we are to resolve the challenges facing the world, a strong partnership between all spheres of government (from international to local) is essential;

Recalling the important role played by local government representatives in the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, and ascribed to local government for the future in Agenda 21, not only in chapter 28 (which dealt specifically with the local authority contribution) but also in many of the thematic chapters;

Recalling too that since 1992, over 6000 local governments have set up a Local Agenda 21 process with their community, and many more have undertaken strategies to integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of local development;

Recalling further the conclusions, undertakings and requests set out in the Final Declaration of the 2nd World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities in Rio de Janeiro on 6 May 2001;

Endorsing the conclusions and future strategies set out in the Local Government Dialogue Paper for the WSSD;

Welcoming the growing partnership between local government and the UN and other international organisations, towards strengthening decentralisation and development of capacity of local governments and their associations, including in particular the establishment by UN-Habitat of the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities in 2000:

The context

1. With half of the world's population now living in urban settlements, and with the world's population due to grow to 8 billion by 2025, the issue of sustainable urban management and development is one of the critical issues for the 21st century. National states cannot, on their own, centrally manage and control the complex, fast-moving, cities and towns of today and tomorrow - only strong decentralised local governments, in touch with and involving their citizens, and working in partnership with national governments, are in a position to do so. The future of rural settlements is also of vital importance, with urban/rural linkages and interdependence becoming key issues for the future of sustainable development.

2. The effects of economic liberalisation and globalisation are felt most sharply at local level. Whilst many have benefited from these processes, e.g. via new inward investment into local economies, the growing gap between rich and poor, with increases in absolute poverty levels in many places, has led to growing problems of insecurity, social exclusion and of environmental degradation. These negative impacts of globalisation are felt everywhere, but in particular in developing countries, and threaten to undermine the positive work of local authorities. Unsustainable production and consumption patterns likewise add to these negative impacts.

3. In 1992 in Rio, the international community and all partners established the goals and actions necessary to achieve a sustainable future. Overall, the steps taken to date to implement Agenda 21 have not been adequate to meet the challenges identified. The decade since 1992 has seen conflicts, massive breaches of human rights, and ecological and other natural disasters, in addition to growing social inequality. A large part of the world's population lives without access to even the most basic services.

4. Since 1992, however, many local governments have played a significant and positive role in taking forward the Rio engagements, implementing Agenda 21 and the Rio conventions in the local sphere. In this period, the role of local government as catalyst for development and community leader has also evolved, with a strong emphasis on partnership with business and civil society. Local government's relationship with the UN has also developed in a positive way. However, the exclusion of local government as a recognised sphere of government within the United Nations system continues to pose a significant barrier to the ability of local governments to achieve sustainable development.

Our principles

5. We believe there are four inter-connected principles for local governments, which need to inform and underpin all of our efforts to combat poverty and build a just, peaceful and sustainable world:

· First, the overarching principle of Sustainable Development (integrating the economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions)

· Second, Effective Democratic Decentralisation (with a substantial set of key competences, and commensurate financial resources for local governments)

· Third, Good Governance (effective leadership, transparency, accountability, probity, proper management and effective services, equitable access to services, a commitment to partnership working, and institutional capacity building.)

· Fourth, Co-operation and Solidarity (partnerships for exchange of good practice, support and mutual learning)

We aim to work positively with, and bridge the gap between, our national governments, the international community and civil society to promote these principles, and to develop skills and capacity.

Commitments by local governments

6. Arising from the above, we reaffirm our strong commitment to Agenda 21, and further commit ourselves:

· To support the development targets set out in the General Assembly's Millennium Declaration, including the overarching goal of reducing by the year 2015 the proportion of those who live in absolute poverty, and the target of achieving a significant improvement in the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020;

· To work with national governments and the international community to strengthen local government's capacity to deal with sustainable development, including via the dialogue processes agreed in 2001 by the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements and the General Assembly's Declaration (paragraph 37) on the occasion of the five year review of the Istanbul Human Settlements Summit;

· To develop city and local development strategies which integrate the economic, social, cultural and environmental dimensions of development;

· Over the next decade, to build upon the successes of Local Agenda 21 and accelerate implementation through Local Action 21 campaigns and programmes that create sustainable communities and cities while protecting global common goods;

· To undertake City to City / Municipal International Co-operation activities and partnerships, aimed at mutual learning, exchange of good practice, and the development of capacity for sustainable development, in particular in the context of growing urbanisation;

· To develop a new and deeper culture of sustainability in our cities and localities, including a commitment to socially and environmentally sound procurement policies and consumption patterns, sustainable planning, investment and management of resources, and promotion of public health and of clean energy sources; to this end we ask all local governments to discuss endorsement of the Earth Charter;

· To develop effective and transparent local governance, including a proactive community leadership role, working with the local organisations of civil society and the private sector, and ensuring the equal participation of women and men, and the active involvement of disadvantaged sectors;

· To manage local governments holistically so as to achieve development goals effectively by the integrated management of financial, human and natural resources.

Requests to the international associations of cities and local governments

7. We ask the members of the World Associations of Local Authorities Co-ordination - the Arab Towns Organisation, the International Union of Local Authorities, the United Towns Organisation and Metropolis - , the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), the Organization of Islamic Capitals and Cities (OICC), and the regional and thematic local government associations, within their respective mandates:

· To organise a worldwide Millennium Towns and Cities Campaign to promote local government's awareness of, and active commitment to, the international development targets set out in the General Assembly's Millennium resolution, and to work in partnership with the UN to this end;

· To engage in partnerships with national governments, international organisations and other sectors to implement campaigns and programmes to implement Local Agenda 21;

· To promote and organise programmes for local government strengthening, mutual learning and capacity-building, via City to City / Municipal International Co-operation and sustainable cities networks, including local government exchanges of experience in support of sustainable development;

· To strengthen the partnership for sustainable development with the UN, in particular with UN-Habitat on issues related to the Habitat Agenda , with UNDP on development programmes, with UNEP on relevant environmental issues, with the WHO on health issues and with UNITAR on questions of sustainable development training; and to enhance co-operation with the Commission on Sustainable Development and relevant UN bodies and Agencies within their remits;

· To develop closer relationships with the UN more generally, including through supporting the work and development of the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities (UNACLA), as a "portal" for co-ordinating UN involvement with local government;

· To support the completion of the process of unification between IULA and UTO, with the aim of having a worldwide united general representative organisation as advocate for local government and as interlocutor with the UN and international community;

· To organise an ongoing debate over the impact of liberalisation on local public services, with a view to ensuring that key public interest services are maintained, and that social and environmental factors are properly integrated into public decision-making.

Requests to national governments

8. We ask our national governments:

· To work with local governments and their national and international associations, in order to strengthen local government's capacity, competences and resources (including local leadership development), in particular in meeting the challenges of sustainable development and urbanisation;

· To involve local government as equal partners in action-oriented national sustainable development strategies and alliances;

· To launch and support national campaigns for local sustainable development planning and the protection of global common goods so as to support Local Action 21;

· To play an active and positive role in carrying out the decisions of the General Assembly and UN Commission on Human Settlements on effective decentralisation and the strengthening of local authorities, including the identification of key principles and enabling legal frameworks appropriate for the challenges of Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda;

· To promote and establish relevant, demand-driven programmes for local government strengthening, mutual learning and capacity-building, via City to City / Municipal International Co-operation and networks, ensuring that legal powers, financial resources and appropriate monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are in place;

· To support the work of relevant UN agencies including UN Habitat in developing effective partnership working with local government, to tackle the issues of sustainable development, effective democratic decentralisation, and good governance;

· To affirm the principle of partnership with cities and local governments as a vital sphere of government in achieving sustainable development.

· To guarantee and reinforce the vital role of local government as an essential partner in regional initiatives for sustainable development, in particular the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD).

Requests to the UN and international community

9. We ask the UN and the international community:

· To recognize that local government is an equal sphere of government, vital to the success of sustainable development and good governance, and not a non-governmental or sectoral group

· To reinforce the spirit of partnership with local government in all relevant areas of activity and mutual interest, in particular supporting the specific role of UN-Habitat as local government's key partner in relation to sustainable human settlements;

· To develop and strengthen the work and role of the UN Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, using it as a co-ordination point for work with local government across the UN system, and to intensify partnership with the international associations of local government, supporting their process of unification;

· To develop and promote City to City / Municipal International Co-operation and networks as an effective tool for exchange of good practice, learning, development and capacity-building, building on initiatives such as the Cities Alliance;

· To increase public aid for development, dedicating at least 0.7% of GNP to co-operation programmes with developing countries, to cancel the unsustainable debt of highly indebted poor countries, and ensure that a significant proportion of the finances so provided or released is used for local government programmes (in particular decentralised co-operation) and services;

· To establish a new framework for global economic governance, supporting equitable economic exchanges and integrating the social and environmental dimensions;

· To work for the effective decentralisation and strengthening of local governments and their networks, through the dialogue and other processes agreed by Member States in the UN Commission on Human Settlements and the General Assembly, identifying key principles and enabling legal frameworks appropriate for the challenges of Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda;

· To review the impact of economic liberalisation on public services, with a view to maintaining key public interest services, and ensuring that social and environmental factors are properly taken into account in decision-making;

· To preserve the world’s major ecological balances, in particular through concrete commitments by all States to implement the Conventions on Climate Change and Biodiversity.


10. We live in an increasingly interconnected, interdependent world. The local and the global are intertwined. Local government cannot afford to be insular and inward-looking. Fighting poverty, exclusion and environmental decay is a moral issue, but also one of self-interest. Ten years after Rio, it is time for action by all spheres of government, all partners. And local action, undertaken in solidarity, can move the world.