Final Declaration

2nd WACAP Forum  – Geneva, Switzerland – April 3- 5, 2000

We, as mayors and municipal representatives meeting in Geneva on the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme and the City of Geneva from 3 to 5 April 2000, for the second forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, Declaration adopted on the 5th, April 2000, in Geneva, during the 2nd Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty:

We reaffirm our determination to give priority to combating poverty and social exclusion in our municipalities by attending to all those whom we administer, regardless of their origin or nationality, and through international cooperation.

We acknowledge that the greatest wealth and the greatest asset in overcoming poverty are the actual people affected by the various forms of poverty. It is our role and our duty to listen to them actively, to reinforce their capacity for expression and action, to create a framework which enhances their initiatives, and to set up the infrastructures and services which they need. In doing so, we attach the greatest importance to the consultation and participation of all age groups, particularly the young and the elderly.

We call on all the States to take every appropriate step to foster the development of decentralised cooperation, particularly by means of co-financing and by facilitating transfers of equipment and services, including by means of tax exemptions;

the Governments of the industrialised countries to reverse the present tendency to reduce public aid to development.

We invite

  • the States to decentralise and share or transfer resources and skills which will allow an optimisation of results, ensuring the best possible complementarity between national strategies and action undertaken at local level
  • the cities of wealthy countries to set up a decentralised cooperation budget to which they should allocate 0,7% of their budget
  • the local authorities of wealthy countries to make a substantial contribution to activities for training those involved at the local level in order to facilitate access to relevant information concerning in particular both action to combat urban poverty and decentralised cooperation
  • all those involved in combating poverty to commit themselves to undertakings which are specific and can be identified and evaluated
  • the local authorities to increase the role and effectiveness of the public services, particularly those responsible for reducing the effects of urban poverty
  • the various networks already in existence to cooperate among themselves and with the associations of cities to ensure greater coherence in international cooperation
  • the cities of the North and of the South to commit themselves to working in the framework of existing associations of cities in order to increase the effectiveness of action to combat poverty
  • the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, in liaison with the relevant organisations, to set up a working group on emergency/disaster situations.

We undertake

  • to act in all transparency and to report on our action on poverty to those we administer and to the national authorities;
  • to circulate within our administrations and among all those politically responsible at the municipal level the case studies of the Alliance’s network and other practical information concerning action to combat poverty.

We propose

a) that all the partners concerned should seriously consider the possibility of setting up an “international solidarity fund of cities against poverty“. To this end, we call on the City of Geneva, in concertation with the Coordination of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty, to take the initiative of organising the necessary consultations with the partners involved and to present its conclusions by the time the special session of the United Nations General Assembly on the Copenhagen Summit is held in Geneva;

b) taking advantage of the new information technologies to enable our cities to exchange information efficiently, reinforcing their capacity to combat poverty and facilitating access for those we administer to all the relevant information fostering their development. To this end, we call on the UNDP, in concertation with the City of Geneva, to undertake the necessary consultations and steps;

c) that the UNOPS and the UNDP and the associations of cities should draw up a charter of decentralised cooperation of which one of the major concerns should be combating poverty. The charter should in particular enable all the partners to evaluate the effectiveness and monitoring of decentralised cooperation policies.

GENEVA, 3 APRIL 2000