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Venice Declaration
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At the invitation of Mr. Klaus Toepfer, Under-Secretary General and Head of UNCHS (Habitat), and of the Mayor of Venice and Member of the European Parliament, Prof. Massimo Cacciari, We, Mayors from all over the world and Presidents of International Associations of Local Authorities, have gathered in Venice on 24 January 2000 to constitute the Advisory Committee of Local Authorities, a new body of the United Nations.

This Committee has been established on the basis of a decision of Member States of the United Nations, passed on 14 May 1999, to strengthen the dialogue between central governments and local authorities on the implementation of the Habitat Agenda, the Global Plan of Action adopted by the UN City Summit (Habitat II) held in 1996 in Istanbul.

We, Mayors and Presidents of International Associations, highly welcome this historic resolution which for the first time established a formal advisory body of local authorities attached to the United Nations. We believe that this decision constitutes a long-awaited acknowledgment of our role in promoting social progress, economic development and environmental improvement. We underline the importance of gender equality, social inclusiveness and financial viability to eliminate disparities within cities and promote our common goal, the sustainable improvement of urban life. We commit ourselves to synthesizing our experience and knowledge to help the United Nations Centre of Human Settlements (Habitat) in fulfilling its mandate.

We, Mayors and Presidents of international associations of local authorities, concur that the main thrust of our activities will be to (i) offer a positive and innovative vision of the future of the world's cities; (ii) contribute intellectually and substantively to the definition and implementation of the Global Campaigns on Secure Tenure and Urban Governance co-ordinated by UNCHS (Habitat), and (iii) interact with the Commission on Human settlements and other UN governing bodies to strengthen the global dialogue between central and local government.

We express our full support to the joint initiative of WACLAC and Habitat to develop a World Charter of Local Self-Government which should become, as soon as possible, an agreed and binding international framework for decentralisation and local autonomy.

We, Mayors and Presidents of International Associations, decide to meet on a six-monthly basis, either in Nairobi or in one of our cities, while thematic exchange will take place between sessions mainly through electronic mail and teleconferencing, but also through our co-ordinated participation in major international events.

We finally decide to appoint a Chairperson of our Committee on a biennial basis to ensure adequate co-ordination of our work and secure an efficient relationship with the Habitat Secretariat. In this regard, we are grateful to Mr. Joan Clos, Mayor of Barcelona and President of Metropolis and WACLAC, for accepting to be the first Chairperson of the Committee for the years 2000 and 2001.

Done in Venice, on the 24th of January 2000.

The Mayors of Allahabad, Barcelona, Dakar, Dubai, Hull-Quebec, Johannesburg, Moscow, Rio de Janeiro, Tunis, and Venice; the Presidents of the International Union of Local Authorities, of the United Towns Organization and of regional associations of local authorities from Africa (AULA), the Arab States (ATO) and Latin America (IULA-Latin America).

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