Final Declaration

4th WACAP Forum – Rome, Italy – March 31 – April 2, 2004

We, the Mayors and representatives of the municipalities of all the continents, meeting in Rome from 31 March to 2 April 2004 with representatives of governments, United Nations agencies, associations, foundations, financial institutions, businesses and the academic world in the framework of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty and under the auspices of the United Nations Development Programme.

Make our own the Millennium Development Goals adopted by the governments of the whole world at the UN in September 2000, cure and shall translate them into local goals in each of our municipalities, whether they concern the elimination of poverty, malnutrition or infant or maternal mortality, the assurance of schooling for all children, reversal of the progress of HIV/AIDS and malaria, or protection of the environment.

To do this, we undertake to subscribe specific commitments that may be identified and evaluated, to act in all transparency, and to report on our action to the people we administer and to our national authorities.

We shall mobilise all public and private resources at the local level. On the basis of the wealth of existing experience, we shall also establish partnerships for development, by promoting city-to-city cooperation involving the municipalities, regional governments, private businesses, associations and university circles, and at the same time reinforce links with both our national governments and intergovernmental organisations.

We appeal to all cities on all the continents to join us in this movement of solidarity and progress by including implementation of the MDGs on their list of priorities, and we appeal in particular to the local authorities of the wealthiest countries to adopt a budget for decentralised cooperation and allocate to it 0.7% of their budget, and make a substantial contribution to activities involving training for local players in order to facilitate access to relevant information for implementing the MDGs.

We shall give the necessary importance to providing the public with systematic and regular information about the MDGs and to their actual participation, individually or collectively, in attaining the goals.

Concerned by the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS and by its dramatic consequences in economic and social terms, we are determined to take action in the context of the 2015 Campaign, which has been embarked on in Africa and is to be extended to the other continents, in collaboration with all the national and international players in order to:

  • mobilise the populations of our cities to protect themselves from the disease
  • make information on both the disease and means of prevention readily available
  • use all forms of local communication: municipal newsletters, schools, urban security forces, places of worship, the media, etc to make sure that the message gets across
  • help those families affected by the disease by providing assistance and sympathy.

We call on all the States to adopt every necessary measure to promote implementation of the MDGs at the local level:

  • by carrying out effective decentralisation, transferring resources and skills with a view to optimising results through better complementarity between national strategies and action undertaken at the local level;
  • by allowing the municipalities administrative and financial autonomy, making it possible to speed up the decision-making process and attain the goals rapidly;
  • by promoting international municipal cooperation, more particularly through joint financing and facilities for access to the transfer of equipment and services, including by means of tax exemption;
  • by adopting legislation and regulations, through appropriate schemes and projects, and by making the corresponding budget allocations, enabling the municipalities to appropriate each one of the Millennium Development Goals.

Whereas, firstly, the cities face a crucial lack of resources for attaining the MDGs at the local level,

Whereas, moreover, the handling of the debts of developing countries, the conditions of access to international markets, the matter of farming subsidies and public development aid all have an impact on national budgets and in the final analysis on municipal budgets,We appeal to the international community, and more particularly to the most industrialised countries, to:

  • cancel the debt of the most heavily indebted countries, since servicing such debts compromises all social progress in our cities
  • increase public development aid, part of which is earmarked for sustainable urban development
  • facilitate opening up markets and end farming subsidies, in order to improve national – and therefore local – income
  • contribute to preventing and settling regional conflicts that cause urban migration and suffering for local populations
  • reinforce multilateral cooperation by implementing the Millennium Declaration, the recommendations made at the Johannesburg Summit on sustainable development, and the Monterrey Consensus on financing for development, all of which should be of lasting benefit to our populations.

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