UCLG stresses local governments’ role to ensure basic service provision


As a part of cities and local governments’ responsibility and commitment to improve universal access to basic services, reduce poverty and inequalities, UCLG contributes to GOLD (Global Observatory for Local Decentralization) Global Report.

This report aims to be an important instrument to achieve one of the strategic objectives of UCLG: to become the world reference for information and knowledge on the situation of local and regional governments, local democracy and decentralization.

After GOLD I and II, the preparation of GOLD III (centred on the Governance of Local Basic Services) is producing important inputs to support local and regional government’s contributions to the debate on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) achievement and on the new UN Development Agenda Post-2015.

Following up this process, this 17th and 18th of February the headquarters of UCLG’s World Secretariat in Barcelona held the 2nd GOLD III Steering Committee. This meeting, which marks the halfway point of the GOLD III report process, brought together the report coordinator, Dr. David Satterthwaite and the team of regional experts, with the UCLG sections and project partners, to discuss the draft regional chapters and the process from now to the launch of the report.

Discussion during the two day meeting was a rich exchange, and a number of common themes where highlighted as pre-conclusions:

  • While local government’s level of responsibility for basic services may vary by region, the inclusion of local government in the multi-governance framework ensuring basic service provision is essential to ensure good quality services reaching everyone (Local governments are necessary but not sufficient to ensure the success of sustainable and good quality delivery);
  • Lack of data at the local level is severely handicapping the ability of local governments to govern and deliver local basic services. Nationally aggregated data makes it impossible to know where the greatest needs and inequalities are located, and to therefore concretely target the services and populations most in need within cities (Local Authorities need this kind of information to take action);
  • Residents of informal settlements pay more per unit for basic services than populations in the rest of the city (especially on water and sanitation);
  •  Innovation are most often endogenous solutions to local problems, it is essential to look towards local actions to build new and creative solutions to many of the challenges of local basic service provision (very often, these innovations need support to upscale, from micro to larger projects, as well as from short to long term).

Following this productive meeting and after revisions are complete, each of the chapters will be taken to workshops in the regions with local elected official and practitioners to review the content and build political recommendations to better ensure service provision to their citizens.

The final GOLD III Report will be presented during the IV UCLG Congress in Rabat in 2013 and published in 2014, on the eve of the date set by the international community for the assessment of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).