Ibero-American Mayors support local economies and job creation


Over 200 mayors and representatives from Latin America, Andorra, Spain and Portugal came together on 18th and 19th October in Madrid to mark the 7th Ibero-American Forum of Local Authorities. The key theme for this Forum was, “Local Policies of Business Promotion and Job Creation”.

The Forum was opened by the Mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, who, in the presence of mayors from the majority of Ibero-American capital cities and presidents and representatives from associations of local and regional authorities from these regions and the UCLG Secretary General, Josep Roig, proposed the creation of a Cultural Network of Ibero-American Local Governments, and recalled that “in view of the complex junction in which we find ourselves, the role of local and regional authorities are fundamental due to their proximity and knowledge of the reality of local economies”. During this event, Johnny Araya, Mayor of San José in Costa Rica, Co-President of United Cities and Local Governments and representing FLACMA, maintained that, “decentralization in Latin America has favored the involvement of local authorities in economic development and highlighted that new decentralization policies should support local authorities in this field”. President of FEMP and Mayor of Santander, Iñigo de Serna, stressed that, “being in the local environment where problems coming from the current difficult economic climate materialize, the active and dedicated involvement of local authorities in economic development contributes to creating a favorable environment, promoting productive investment and creating jobs”. Lastly Enrique Iglesias, Ibero-Americano Secretary General recalled that the conclusions of the Forum will be presented by SEGIB at the Cumbre Iberoamericana de Jefes de Estado y de Gobierno (Ibero-American Summit of Heads of State and Government) scheduled to meet in Cadiz this November.

The event was co-organized by the City of Madrid, the Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias (FEMP), UN-Habitat, the Federación Latinoamericana de Ciudades Municipios y Asociaciones (FLACMA), United Cities and Local Government (UCLG), the Unión de Ciudades Capitales de Iberoamérica (UCCI), the Diputación de Barcelona and the General Secreatriat of Ibero-American Integration (SEGIB), with the support of the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the European Commission.

In parallel with the Forum and at the invitation of the Spanish Minister of Finance and Public Administration, Cristobol Montoro, a meeting between high level Ibero-American national civil servants and mayors will be organized.  During this dialogue, the importance of strengthening the collaboration between different levels of government will be highlighted with view to defining an agenda of regular meetings within the framework of the Ibero-American summits.  Cecilia Martínez, Director of the UN Habitat office in New York, who will seek to facilitate this dialogue, insisted that, “large-scale national economic policies should leave a margin for the participation of local authorities, it is essential that they promote access for local authorities to regional, national and international programs that promote economic development.” 

In the Final Declaration, Ibero-American local authorities made a call to their national governments to recognize the capacities of local authorities and mobilize resources that allow them to assume a greater role in economic development and be further associated in public policies that concern economic development and job creation. They would thus commit to promoting the entrepreneurial process at local level, supporting the creation of businesses to promote innovation, disseminating new technologies for SME and implementing local development policies that respect social and environmental sustainability.