Final Declaration

5th WACAP Forum – Valencia, Spain – March 29-31, 2006

We, the thousand participants (which included Ministers, Senators, Deputies, Mayors, Regional Presidents, Regional and Municipal Councilors, local and national civil servants, representatives from the United Nations (UN) Institutions, Non-Governmental Organizations, companies, and academic institutions) of the 5th Forum of the World Alliance of Cities against Poverty gathered in Valencia on 29, 30 and 31 March 2006.

We have observed that the progress achieved in the fight against poverty has been very unequal. In some areas poverty has increased and in other areas it has been reduced. Poverty has decreased where all the actors such as States, local authorities, civil society organizations, and companies have worked together on the implementation of definite policies, and the realization of well-defined projects.

Therefore, we strongly believe that it is possible to reach the Millennium Development Goals if all the actors are mobilized and if they cooperate with each other. For this purpose it is essential to clearly define the responsibilities, rights and duties of each of these actors. However, since it is regrettably not the case in many countries, we request the various governments concerned to take the necessary legislative measures.

We are convinced that we, as local authorities, have a central role to play because of our closeness to those who suffer from poverty, as well as our ability to gather all the local actors. We therefore – both individually and collectively – renew our commitment to realize the Millennium Development Goals at the local level.

We recognize that we lack the necessary resources and that many of us are unable to collect taxes, get loans, sign contracts with companies, or receive grants from foreign partners. Therefore, in lieu of the aforegoing we ask that the issue of financing be examined by each government – so that we can acquire the means to assume the responsibilities assigned to us by Law or de facto. With this in mind, we appreciate all the efforts enabling local governments to access multilateral credits; the contributions of decentralized cooperation; interregional solidarity; and the support from public and private companies.

We are aware that the municipal services often lack the qualified personnel needed to design and manage programmes and projects, and consequently we request the UN to extend between local authorities its training programmes and exchanges of experiences.

We recognize that an important number of policies, conventions and norms adopted by the UN can only be implemented with the participation of local authorities. Therefore, we hope that the political dialogue between the UN and the associations that we have set up – in particular United Cities and Governments (UCLG) – can be strengthened so that our views regarding our obligations can and will be taken into account.

We have also explored various sectors where new partnerships appear promising. These are summed up as follows:

  • We are convinced that competitive territorial development based on local know-how can reduce the social inequalities caused by globalization;
  • We wish to improve access to energy for our populations; are determined to use renewable energies as often as possible; and to make citizens, local communities, and companies aware of their responsibilities regarding the preservation of the environment;
  • We want to assume our responsibilities in the fight against HIV, and request the UN to promote and set up a strategic framework for local interventions within national policies;
  • We are aware that, at any moment, a catastrophe can occur in one of our territories. Therefore we commit ourselves to reduce damages for the populations by giving priority to the reduction of vulnerability; and we emphasize our responsibility to manage emergency situations;
    We wish to reinforce our partnerships with and between the Regions, and request the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to establish a general framework for local and regional activities – in particular with the Conference of Peripheral Maritime Regions of Europe; and
  • We have recognized the role played by the family in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

In order to reach these goals, we are convinced that we must avoid the fragmentation of activities, and as such, we support the ART/GOLD Initiative implemented by the UNDP. We are determined to use this initiative ‘s framework to put our will to realize the objectives mentioned above into practice, and thus request the UNDP – in partnership with other UN Agencies and Programmes on the one hand and associations of local governments on the other.

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