Final Declaration

Confronting the Crisis Collectively: Working Together to End Poverty –  7th WACAP Forum – Rotterdam, The Netherlands – February 24-26, 2010

Considering the importance of the WACAP network and its efforts to promote partnerships, facilitate exchange of best practices, assist cities to raise funds for social projects and sensitize the international community on the fight against poverty.

Taking into account and recognizing the many positive efforts by local authorities to achieve the MDGs at the local level.

Calling attention to the current conditions and significant needs of cities affected by the earthquake in Haiti on 12 January 2010; recognizing the efforts by Haiti’s local, regional and national authorities to overcome this crisis; as well as recognizing that the current crisis could either lead to worsened poverty, or significant opportunities to rebuild the cities in a way that is more sustainable – with improved livelihoods and more choices for the Haitian people to take charge of their own future.

Stressing the need for concerted action by cities everywhere, to take immediate action to fight poverty and address the financial, energy, economic and ecological crises that create the extreme poverty conditions.

Recognizing the complexity of issues to be addressed to guarantee the decent existence of all people living in urbanised areas.

Recognizing the interdependence of rural and urban development, in order to address the issue of access to and provision of basic services (e.g. food, health, education, energy, sanitation, housing, potable water, etc.) for all.

Stressing the need for civil society, together with both the public and private sectors, to share common values and to each contribute their own unique and comparative advantages towards concerted actions and sustainable solutions.

Recognizing the importance of gender equality within the context of poverty prevention and alleviation through, for example, ensuring social inclusion in all aspects and levels of development, ensuring equal access to employment and social services, and combating of all forms of violence against women.

Taking into account the need for transparent, accountable, responsible and democratic governance as a precondition for overcoming poverty.

THE CITIES REPRESENTED AT THIS 7TH WACAP FORUM IN ROTTERDAM CALL UPON LOCAL AND REGIONAL AUTHORITIES

To develop and take responsibility for reducing poverty through proper training, capacity building and systems of supervision on good governance.

To perform risk assessments for natural disasters, and to prepare in advance to reduce their negative consequences and impacts through, for example, the proper construction of buildings and infrastructure; and to put in place timely early warning systems.

To integrate economic development with social- and sustainable development.

To locally, regionally and internationally disseminate best practices in the field of development cooperation.

To empower authorities within local and regional governments to establish conditions and set standards concerning social investments in return for licenses for economic activities – but especially for the extraction of natural resources.

To continue the dialogue and to keep the spirit of Rotterdam alive through the continued exchange of experiences via the virtual WACAP platform that is being set up by the municipalities of Rotterdam and Malaga, with the support of UNDP and the WACAP poles of thematic best practices.

NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS AND UNITED NATIONS INSTITUTIONS

To involve local authorities in international and intergovernmental decision-making processes, such as the MDG Summit scheduled for September 2010.

To decentralize authority and to empower lower levels of government in accordance with principals of subsidiarity – in order to ensure that development decisions reflect the priorities and needs of the people who are meant to benefit from them.

To invest in urban areas in an integrated manner and to address sectors collectively rather than each individually; for example: a sanitation project should address public health, access to clean water, as well as employment for people living in poverty.

To furthermore promote development solutions through a multistakeholder approach within a spirit of the new multilateralism, involving the private and public sectors, and civil society.

THE PRIVATE SECTOR

To incorporate social development – in addition to environmental considerations – into Corporate Social Responsibility programmes (e.g. access to social- and health services, clean water and energy).

To reduce or eliminate waste and emissions, and to make efficient use of energy.

To conduct business in a socially responsible way and to set higher standards in addition to the minimally acceptable norms and principals.

NON-GOVERNMENTAL AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS

To monitor the policies implemented by the different levels of government.

To mobilize and empower communities, in particular through knowledge transfer and capacity building.

To ensure that their policies and activities are in synch with local and national priorities and to engage with all stakeholders, especially through dialogue with the private and public sectors, in order to ensure that their interventions and support are sustainable over the long term and meet the true needs of the populations concerned.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE TRAGEDY IN HAITI, THE FORUM CALLS UPON

Local authorities to be involved in all planning processes related to the reconstruction of Haiti, and to engage – through decentralized cooperation and where appropriate – with counterparts in developed countries, in order to allow for productive partnerships to address both poverty and rebuilding challenges.

All local governments with the means to do so, to seek such partnerships with the Haitian Authorities, in order to find suitable areas of support, through the provision of resources, knowledge, technology and expertise.

The International Donor Conference scheduled for 31 March 2010 to involve local authorities from Haiti, in order to ensure that its local voice is represented and that resources are targeted at locally determined priorities.

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