DECLARATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN SUPPORT OF THE SUMMIT OF THE AMERICAS
Based on the principle that National and Local Governments are essential partners for development, the elected authorities of Local and Regional Governments, representatives of the Associations of Local Governments, and Institutions that Support Municipal Development in the Americas, gathered at the Sixth Inter-American Conference of Mayors, held June 27 to 29, 2000, in Miami, Florida, USA, and in view of the importance of the Hemispheric Summit of the Americas to be held in Quebec City, Canada for the municipal sector, have decided to adopt the following Declaration:
That despite the differences that exist in the structure, capacities and cultures of the municipalities, we share common challenges and aspirations;
That the new millennium demands that our peoples combine and promote the efficient use of natural, material, and human resources to achieve sustainable development in our hemisphere;
That the demands for economic growth and the challenges in social development compel political institutions to adjust to the ever more complex demands of societies, and requiring local governments to become more involved in the tasks of directing their actions to promote investment, more equitable income distribution, environmental protection, and citizen participation;
That it is urgent to expand access to information and communications technologies by local governments and communities to permit integration of local human resources in an updated approach to development and, more importantly, to provide them with the tools to overcome their poverty;
That the peoples of the Americas have expressed their willingness to face the challenges of development through democratic institutions and governments and that effective democracy must flow from its full exercise at the local level, for which decentralization processes must be strengthened and developed:
That cities and towns are the natural setting for the life of the citizens and constitute the first building block of public administration and, therefore, represent the most effective route by which the quality of life of citizens can be improved;
That Local Governments believe it urgent to undertake steps, jointly with civil society, and in coordination with the national governments, to guarantee comprehensive human security; and
That municipal associations are of vital importance for the strengthening of municipalities and the development of sound decentralization processes.
Therefore, we hereby declare that the following priorities should be taken into account in the preparation of the Hemispheric Summit to be held in Quebec City as tasks to be addressed in partnership by National and Local Governments:
Strengthen local participatory government and the processes of decentralization within the framework of national policies for sustainable development and poverty reduction.
Strengthen National Government programs, as requested by Local Governments, for the preparation and training of local human resources to respond to the challenges of globalization.
Promote and enforce the legislative reforms that are necessary to advance democratic mechanisms to achieve meaningful citizen participation at the local level.
Enable local governments to generate and administer their own resources, including access to capital markets, necessary to satisfy the social needs of their communities.
Assure that the legally mandated national government transfers of financial resources to Local Governments are efficient, timely, and objective.
Modernize the management of Local Government, strengthening financial administration and control to achieve greater transparency in the use of public resources and to establish the foundations for access to capital markets.
Strengthen the processes of decentralization that will allow Local Governments to facilitate the efficient and effective provision of public services fundamental to improving the quality of life.
Recognize the role of Local Governments as promoters of local economic growth, productive employment, and sound management of the environment.
Improve access to and use of modern information technology to enhance local public administration as well as develop the capacities of local communities to participate more effectively in decision making processes.
Provide local governments with the authority and resources to enable them to respond immediately to natural disasters and undertake appropriate disaster prevention and mitigation measures.
Ensure that Local Governments in close cooperation with National Governments and with the full participation of local citizens, respond to human security needs, including access to public services, democratic participation and gender equality.
Support the strengthening of national, sub-national and regional associations of Local Governments, so that they may better represent and serve their members.
Coordinate with the national municipal associations the policies and actions that affect the municipal sector.
Issued in Miami, Florida, USA on the twenty-ninth day of June, in the year two thousand.