Over 100 mayors and representatives of local authorities came together in the framework of the VI Ibero-American Forum of Local Authorities the 27th to 30th September 2011 in Assumption, Paraguay. In the current context of the global crisis they called on the region’s Chief of State and Governments to deepen decentralization and cooperation between the different levels of government so as to strengthen democratic governance.
The Mayors and representatives of eighteen Ibero-American countries debated over three days issues of governance, decentralization, and state reform in the aggravated context of the global financial and economic crisis.
The VI Forum was co-organized by the City of Assumption, the Paraguayan Inter-municipal Cooperation Organization (OPACI), the Latin American Federation of Cities, Municipalities and Associations (FLACMA), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) The Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP), the Union of Ibero-Ameican Capital Cities (UCCI), the Mercociudades network, the Province of Barcelona and the Ibero-American Secretariat (SEGIB). The Forum was equally supported by the European Commission (thought the program co-financed by UCLG "Support to Decentralization in Developing Countries") and the Spanish Agency of International Development Cooperation (AECI).
During the opening ceremony the mayor of Asuncion and forum host, Dr. Arnaldo Samaniego, underlined that "decentralization is at the heart of democratic governance". In his message to the Forum participants the Ibero-American Secretary General, Enrique Iglesias, equally stressed the role local governments must play in the organization of the Ibero-American Chiefs of State and Governments, above all in the debate on State reform and modernization.
Throughout the different round tables the participants examined the progress and challenges to decentralization in the countries of the region, focusing on multilevel government, transparency, institutional ethics and citizen participation. Issues such as the difficulties in governing metropolitan cities, public private partnerships and the role of local governments within the Ibero-American system were also all key points of debate. State representatives (Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain, and Paraguay) participated in many of the round tables.
During the closing ceremony a final declaration was adopted. In the current context of the global crisis, the Ibero-American mayors called on States: to deepen decentralization, to strengthen coordination between the various levels of government and to improve the manner in which local authorities participate in the definition of the public policies in order to promote employment, investments and the preservation of social cohesion. They invited the Chiefs of States and Governments to adopt the Ibero-American Charter on Local Autonomy, to create a permanent space of dialogue between the Ministers and local governments, as well as ensure that local authorities are more closely associated to the negotiation of regional and international environmental agreements (climate change and preparation of Rio + 20) (for more details, to see the text of the declaration).
Read here the Forum Declaration