Joint Consultation Document - May 1998
UNITED NATIONS CENTRE FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS (Habitat)
WORLD ASSOCIATIONS OF CITIES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
TOWARDS A WORLD CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
Nairobi, 25 May 1998
A. Joint Message by Dr. Klaus Töpfer, Director-General and head of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), and Dr. Heinrich Hoffschulte, Chairman of the Expert Group on the World Charter B. Report on the Origins, Aims and Proposed Preparation Process for the World Charter C. Initial Draft Text of the World Charter of Local Self-Government D. Joint UNCHS/WACLAC Expert Group on the World Charter
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UNITED NATIONS CENTRE FOR HUMAN SETTLEMENTS (Habitat)25 May 1998
WORLD ASSOCIATIONS OF CITIES AND LOCAL AUTHORITIES
TOWARDS A WORLD CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
This consultation document represents the start of an important and ambitious partnership project between the United Nations and the local levels of government. Its aim is nothing less than to draw up an internationally agreed, adaptable framework for the practice of local democracy, as a vital contribution to the improvement of people's living conditions in all continents and regions.
At the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements - HABITAT II - held in Istanbul in June 1996, national governments committed themselves to the objective of decentralising authority and resources (Habitat Agenda, para 45(c)). They also recognised local authorities as the closest partners of central governments, and as essential in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda (Istanbul Declaration, para 12).
Since Habitat II, UNCHS (Habitat) has further developed its already close working relationship with the international associations of cities and local authorities in the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding with WACLAC setting out mutual commitments to collaboration in a number of key policy areas related to the implementation of the HabitatAgenda. The preparation of the World Charter of Local Self-Government is one of these joint undertakings. UNCHS (Habitat) and WACLAC are united in believing that the underpinning of the recent and very welcome decentralisation and democratisation trends in many countries, by the constitutional anchoring of local self-government on the basis of internationally recognised principles, can make a contribution of crucial importance to the effective and sustainable implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
This document explains the origins, the aims and the rationale for the preparation of the World Charter, and sets out a first draft of the Charter itself. It also maps out an extensive world-wide consultation and consensus-building process to be launched from now on, culminating in the presentation of the final text of the Charter for adoption by the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements in 2001. The ultimate aim is the promulgation of the Charter by the United Nations General Assembly on the occasion of the Special Session in that year which will be dedicated to reviewing the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
National governments and international organizations, local authorities and their associations, parliamentarians, NGOs and civil society organisations of all kinds are warmly invited to participate actively in the further development of this World Charter, which we believe can make a unique and vital contribution to the fulfilment of our shared Habitat goals.
Dr. Klaus Töpfer
Director General and head,
United Nations Centre for Human
Dr. Heinrich Hoffschulte
Expert Group on the World Charter
WORLD CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
THE ORIGINS, AIMS AND PROPOSED PREPARATION PROCESS
FOR THE WORLD CHARTER
A Partnership Project
- The World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities, held in Istanbul on 30-31 May 1996 on the eve of the Second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (HABITAT II), called upon the international community to take steps "to draw up, in partnership with the representative associations of local authorities, a worldwide Charter of Local Self-Government setting out, for the guidance of all national governments and international agencies, the basic principles which should underlie any democratic local government system". It urged that the basis of this Charter should reside in the principles of subsidiarity and proximity, whereby decisions should be taken at the level closest to the citizens (municipality or town) and that only those tasks which the local level cannot effectively carry out alone should be referred to higher levels.
- The debates at the World Assembly had focused a good deal upon the constitutional position of local authorities and their relationship with central governments in the discharge of their functions. In this context, the positive experience of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, adopted by the Council of Europe in 1985 as a European Convention and now signed and ratified by a large majority of the Council of Europe's 40 Member States, was strongly highlighted in the debates.
- The case for the promulgation of a worldwide Charter by the United Nations was highlighted in the presentations by the local authorities delegation at the hearing before Committee II of the HABITAT II Conference on 4 June 1996, and this concern was recorded in the official report of that hearing (para 11). The Chairperson's summary of the hearing (para 23) referred to the matter as follows:
"The need for the development of national laws and regulations that clearly specify the role and responsibilities of local authorities vis-à-vis national Governments and provide for effective decentralisation and local democracy, taking into account the principles of autonomy, subsidiarity and proximity, was also highlighted. In this context, it was suggested that the experience gained in the implementation of the European Charter of Local Self-Government could be used as a basis for developing a global charter that would set out the key principles underlying a sound constitutional or legal framework for a democratic local government system."
- The preparation of a World Charter of Local Self-Government figures among the aims specified in the Constitution of the World Associations of Cities and Local Authorities Coordination (WACLAC), the structure set up by the ten international local government associations which had convened the World Assembly in response to the call made by that Assembly for "an ongoing coordination to serve as the interlocutor and institutional partner of the UN and its specialised agencies". WACLAC envisaged that such a Charter would most effectively be drawn up in partnership with national governments through United Nations machinery, with a view to the final text being promulgated as an official United Nations Convention.
- Following negotiations during the immediate follow-up to HABITAT II and on the occasion of the 16th session of the UN Commission on Human Settlements in April-May 1997, the Memorandum of Understanding between UNCHS and WACLAC, signed in New York on 29 July 1997, commits both parties to undertake, as one of four priority activities, work on the preparation of a World Charter:
'In view of strengthening the role and capacity of local authorities to contribute effectively to sustainable human and settlement development, the two parties hereby agree to undertake a joint project entitled the "World Charter of Local Self-Government". More specifically, WACLAC and UNCHS will constitute a joint task force for this project to work on, inter alia:
- joint fund-raising for the project;
- identification and compilation of existing knowledge (documents, studies, reports, legislation, processes etc) of relevance to local self-governance at the national and international levels;
- the organisation of an ad hoc expert group meeting;
- the organisation of regional and/or sub-regional consultations;
- the preparation of draft documents to be submitted, through the Commission on Human Settlements, to the appropriate bodies, commissions and committees of the United Nations.'
The present report is based upon the results of a first ad hoc Expert Group Meeting held in Nairobi from 28 to 30 April 1998 in accordance with the above provisions of the Memorandum of Understanding. This meeting reviewed the experience gained by some of the international associations in this field, notably in the preparation and subsequent application of the European Charter of Local Self-Government; drew up an initial draft text for a possible World Charter; and prepared proposals for an extensive consultation and consensus-building process to be carried out during the period leading up to the five-year review of the implementation of the results of the HABITAT II Conference by the United Nations General Assembly in 2001.The Precedent of the European Charter of Local Self-Government
Content of the European Charter
- The first initiative for any form of international recognition of the principles of local autonomy (in modern times) was taken at the first General Assembly of the Council of European Municipalities in Versailles in 1953. The "European Charter of Municipal Liberties" adopted on that occasion reflected its proponents' commitment to rebuilding post-war Europe on the basis of strong local institutions enjoying a high degree of democratic autonomy. During the succeeding years the CEM (now the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, European Section of the International Union of Local Authorities) launched and supported a series of initiatives to have this Charter adopted officially by the European Institutions.
- It took, however, until the late 1970s for this call to be answered, with the preparation by the Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (known as CLRAE), the official representative institution for the local and regional levels of government within the Council of Europe, of a Draft European Charter of Local Self-Government. This text was formulated, following detailed study by a representative committee with the assistance of a group of experts on constitutional law, on the legal basis of a European Convention, and was adopted by the CLRAE in 1981 and referred to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe for action. Approval of the principle of such a Convention was secured from the 5th Conference of European Ministers responsible for Local Government in 1982, and the text proposed by the CLRAE was then referred to a committee of senior officials of the Member States for detailed scrutiny (with the participation of local government representatives appointed by the CLRAE).
- The end result of this scrutiny was the present text of the European Charter, which was drawn up in its final form as a European Convention and opened for signature in 1985. The Charter entered into force on 1 September 1988 upon its ratification by four countries. It had by then already been signed by 16 countries, and to date a further 18 signatures have been added. The Charter has now been ratified by 30 European countries, and it has been used as a major guideline by several of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which have been admitted to membership of the Council of Europe in recent years, in their constitutions and/or their basic local government legislation. The principle of local self-government is seen as such an essential component of the Council of Europe's fundamental principles of democracy, human rights and the rule of law that signature of the European Charter of Local Self-Government, along with the European Convention on Human Rights, is henceforth a pre-requisite for accession by new Member States.
Towards a World Charter
- The European Charter commits the parties to applying basic rules guaranteeing the political, administrative and financial independence of local authorities. It is thus a demonstration, at European level, of the political will to give substance at all levels of territorial administration to the fundamental principles of democracy upheld by the Council of Europe since its foundation in 1949. Indeed, it embodies the conviction that the degree of self-government enjoyed by local authorities may be regarded as a touchstone of genuine democracy.
- The Charter sets out in ten concise articles, together comprising 30 paragraphs, the key principles of local self-government in the European context. It specifies the need for a constitutional/legal foundation for local self-government, defines the concept and establishes principles governing the nature and scope of local authorities' powers. Further articles provide for due procedures to be followed regarding boundary changes, for autonomy in relation to local authorities' administrative structures and access to competent staff, and for proper conditions for the holding of elective office. Further provisions aim at securing a clear legal framework for any necessary supervision of the acts of local authorities, and at ensuring that they have adequate access to resources to match the tasks assigned to them, on terms which do not impair their basic autonomy. Finally, the Charter covers the rights of local authorities to cooperate together, including internationally, and to form associations, and provides for the right of recourse to judicial remedy for the protection of local autonomy.
- In accordance with the intention of securing a realistic balance between the safeguarding of essential principles and the flexibility necessary to allow for the particular legal and institutional characteristics of the various member states, the Charter requires contracting parties to undertake to consider themselves bound by at least 20 of the 30 substantive paragraphs, at least 10 of which must be drawn from a specified list of key provisions. States may thus exclude themselves from certain provisions at the time of ratification, but may subscribe to them later when the obstacles concerned have been removed. States may also limit the application of the Charter to particular levels or categories of local authorities, notably to meet the circumstances of countries with federal structures.
- The Charter does not provide for an institutionalised system of control of its application, beyond a requirement for parties to supply all relevant information concerning legislative or other measures taken for the purpose of complying with the Charter. The need for special supervision machinery, such as exists for certain other European Conventions, was considered, but it was concluded that the existence of the CLRAE as an official Council of Europe body representing the local and regional authorities of all the member states and having direct access to the Committee of Ministers would ensure adequate political control of compliance.
- In recent years CLRAE has embarked upon a process of periodic review of the state of local autonomy in particular member states, as a means of verifying compliance with the Charter's provisions. It is assisted in this process by a recently constituted association of academic experts, the European Local Government Association for Research (ELGAR, also known as ARCOLE, Association pour la Recherche sur les Collectivités Locales en Europe). Moreover, CLRAE henceforth uses the Charter on a permanent basis as a template for the consideration of a wide variety of policy and governance issues appearing on its agenda.
The Consultation Process
- It is perhaps a mark of the universality and conciseness of the European Charter's provisions that there have been no moves since its adoption to alter the text, and that the Charter has been signed and (progressively) ratified by a significant number of countries, including Eastern European transition countries which were not members of the Council of Europe at the time of its drafting and so had no involvement in that process. The existence of the Charter, even in the absence of formal enforcement capability, may be taken to exert a degree of moral pressure upon all European governments, and it is certain that any major breach would receive extensive public attention in the CLRAE, and hence in the Parliamentary Assembly and the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and in the media. While the initial drafting of the Charter was regarded by some as a somewhat theoretical exercise of limited practical relevance to the day-to-day conduct of central/local government relations, recent history has proved the position to be otherwise. Few European mayors, and probably few European governments, would now question the value of having this internationally defined standard on the statute book as a constitutional safeguard of local self-government.
- The universal nature of most of the principles in the European Charter was recognised by the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) in 1985 in the adoption at its World Congress in Rio de Janeiro of a 'Worldwide Declaration on the Principles of Local Self-Government', the drafting of which had drawn heavily upon the European precedent. In 1993 IULA's Toronto Congress reaffirmed the text of the Worldwide Declaration with an updated Preamble highlighting its relevance to the marked decentralisation and democratisation trends in many parts of the world. At the IULA World Congress in Mauritius in April 1997, the experience to date with the European Charter and the Worldwide Declaration was presented at a crowded plenary session intended to focus attention upon the first steps towards the World Charter called for in Istanbul. The final declaration of that Congress included a call to international organizations and agencies and national governments Ato work together with local governments and their national, regional and international associations and networks to develop and promulgate through the United Nations, a World Charter of Local Self-Government and to pursue its progressive implementation in all continents through a World Decade of Local Government (2000-2009)". Prior to that, the European Section of IULA, the "Council of European Municipalities and Regions", in its conference at Thessaloniki in May 1996 just before to the World Assembly of Cities and the Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, requested the international community to take decisive steps towards a "World Charter of Local Self-Government" and - thereby - help establish an effective framework for the implementation of those tasks in international plans of action which must be dealt with at the sub-national level.
- The formulation of a World Charter which is appropriate to the diverse circumstances and levels of development of all United Nations Member States is inevitably a more complex undertaking than the formulation of a regional Charter. Local self-government needs to be seen in the global context as a vital component of the development process and of the commitment to decentralisation policies made by the Member States in theHabitat Agenda. However, there is some risk that this cause may not be aided by the elaboration of principles which cannot in practice be applied in certain situations of extreme shortage of resources and infrastructure. On the other hand, the ready adoption of the European Charter by many countries in transition which had played no part in its drafting, and the acceptance by IULA and some other international associations of a Worldwide Declaration embodying largely similar provisions, suggest that certain universal principles of local democracy can be validly defined and promulgated at the international level.
- The Expert Group working under the UNCHS/WACLAC Memorandum of Understanding took the view that the best way forward towards the preparation of a World Charter would be to review the existing knowledge and experience in all regions, taking into account the terms of the European Charter, as the first and only multilateral legal instrument to define and safeguard the principles of local autonomy, as a practical starting point. Proceeding on this basis, the Expert Group has prepared the initial draft of a World Charter which is set out in Part C of this document.
- The text follows the structure of the European Charter as outlined in paras 11-12 above, with some updating in the light of recent decentralisation trends in various countries. A new Article is added on the subject of citizen participation and partnership (Article 10), and the provision for cooperation between local authorities and the formation of associations is expanded into two Articles dealing respectively with the national and the international levels (Articles 11-12). The Preamble relates the Charter to appropriate United Nations texts, including Agenda 21, the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda, and a specific commitment is made (Preamble and Article 6) to gender equality.
- The flexible approach in the European Charter concerning the requirement for signature on the basis of commitment to a minimum number of key provisions is also taken as a model, and the provisions regarding signature, ratification and accession procedures in Parts II and III are based upon existing United Nations conventions.
- UNCHS and WACLAC now propose to embark upon an extensive consultation process concerning these proposals for a World Charter, the ultimate aim of which is to build a wide degree of consensus around a refined version of the text, revised as necessary in the light of the consultations, which would be presented to the 18th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements in 2001 for adoption and referral to the Economic and Social Council. Subject to its approval at these levels, it is envisaged that the World Charter could then be promulgated at the General Assembly Special Session (Istanbul+5) as one of a number of specific instruments designed to facilitate and codify the implementation of the Habitat Agenda.
- The consultation process is envisaged as comprising the following elements:-
(1) early circulation of this report among the international and regional associations of cities and local authorities in membership of WACLAC and its consideration at their respective statutory meetings and/or congresses;
(2) the inclusion in the draft work programme for 2000-2001 of the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) of joint work with the international associations of cities and local authorities on the further development of the Charter;
(3) the organisation - in accordance with para 2 of Resolution CHS 16/12, whereby the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements has committed itself to 'provide opportunities for partners to engage in a dialogue among themselves and with Governments (which) may, as appropriate, serve as an input to the deliberations of the Commission' - of a formal dialogue during the 17th session of the Commission in May 1999 at which a local government delegation would present the aims and projected content of the World Charter for initial debate with national governments;
(4) the organisation during 1998 and 1999, in collaboration with selected host cities and their national governments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and possibly in the Arab States, of special regional or sub-regional consultative meetings devoted to the World Charter, involving representatives of national governments, local authorities and other relevant actors. WACLAC would assist with the selection of the host cities and would take all possible steps to assure broadly-based representation of local government in each region;
(5) the inclusion of the proposal for a World Charter as an item on the agendas of the regular consultative meetings of Ministers and high ranking officials held in each region prior to the 17th and 18th sessions of the United Nations Commission on Human Settlements;
(6) appropriate consultations with the Global Parliamentarians on Habitat and their regional groupings, and with the relevant Foundations and NGOs, and their due association with the formulation process in its entirety;
(7) periodic review by the joint UNCHS/WACLAC Expert Group of the results of these consultations, with the production (as necessary) of a first revision of the text of the draft Charter in April 1999 in advance of the 17th session of the Commission, and of a second revision in December 2000 with a view to its inclusion in the official working documents for referral to the 18th session of the Commission in May 2001.
- UNCHS and WACLAC will henceforth prepare a joint fundraising strategy with a view to establishing a specific budget to cover the costs of conducting the above consultation and consensus-building process in an efficient and transparent manner and to ensure the appropriate level of representation of all interested partners throughout the process. It is envisaged in this connection that the international associations in membership of WACLAC will build the development of the Charter into their forward programmes. UNCHS will dedicate some core resources to this task in 1998-1999 in fulfilment of its commitment in the Memorandum of Understanding with WACLAC, pending formal inclusion of the Charter in its draft 2000-2001 work programme.
- The adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Habitat Agenda, including its Global Plan of Action, in December 1996 provides the political mandate for advancing work on a World Charter of Local Self-Government. Once adopted following an extensive consultation process, the Charter will be designed to offer an internationally agreed template for progressive but flexible implementation of the Member States' commitment to decentralisation as set out in the Istanbul Declaration and in the Habitat Agenda. The underpinning of the recent decentralisation and democratisation trends in many countries by the constitutional anchoring of local self-government on the basis of internationally recognised principles can make a contribution of crucial importance to the implementation of the Habitat Agenda. Providing a clear and stable constitutional/legal basis for local government is an essential foundation for establishing local authorities' position as partners in the system of governance of all countries. This in turn will enable them to fulfil their true role in leadership of their communities and in the application of local people's energy, imagination and initiative to the pursuit of the twin goals of adequate shelter for all and sustainable human settlements development in an urbanising world.
25 May 98
INITIAL DRAFT TEXTPreamble
OF A WORLD CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
The States Parties to the present Charter:
Have agreed as follows:Article 1
- Recognizing that many global problems, as evidenced in Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda, must be dealt with at the local level and cannot be successfully resolved without intensified dialogue and cooperation between the State level and local authorities;
- Recognizing local authorities as the closest partners of central governments and as essential in the implementation of Agenda 21 and the Habitat Agenda;
- Recalling the principle, recognised in article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that the will of the people is the basis of the authority of governments at all levels;
- Convinced that the principle of subsidiarity is the basis for democratic and participatory development and that any allocation of tasks and responsibilities should abide by this principle;
- Committed to promoting decentralization through democratic local authorities and to strengthen their financial and institutional capacities;
- Convinced that gender equality and social inclusion must go hand in hand with local democracy and participation and that these goals are mutually reinforcing;
- Further committed to facilitating and enabling the broad-based participation of all people and their community organizations in decision-making and in the implementation and monitoring of human settlements strategies, policies and programmes;
- Convinced that strong local democracy through freely elected local authorities, together with professional standards and conduct in local administration, offer the means of fostering public accountability and strengthening our societies against corruption;
- Convinced that the existence of strong local authorities with clear roles and responsibilities and adequate resources ensures services which are both effective and close to the citizens.
The States Parties undertake to consider themselves bound by the following articles in the manner and to the extent prescribed in Article 14 of this Charter.
Article 2 - Constitutional and legal foundation for local self-government
The principle of local self-government shall be recognised in national legislation, and where practicable guaranteed in the constitution.
Article 3 - Concept of local self-government
Article 4 - Scope of local self-government
- Local self-government denotes the right and the ability of local authorities, within the limits of the law, to regulate and manage a substantial share of public affairs under their own responsibility and in the interests of the local population.
- This right shall be exercised by councils or assemblies composed of members freely elected by secret ballot on the basis of direct, equal, universal suffrage, and which may possess executive organs responsible to them.
Article 5 - Protection of local authority boundariesChanges in local authority boundaries shall not be made without prior consultation of the local communities concerned, possibly by means of a referendum where this is legally permitted.
- Local authorities shall have full discretion to exercise their initiative with regard to all matters which are not excluded by law from their competence nor assigned to any other authority.
- The basic powers and responsibilities of local authorities shall be prescribed by the constitution or by law. However, this provision shall not prevent the attribution to local authorities of powers and responsibilities for specific purposes.
- In accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, public responsibilities shall generally be exercised by those authorities which are closest to the citizen. In the same spirit, any allocation of responsibility to another authority must be based on the requirements of technical or economic efficiency.
- Powers given to local authorities shall normally be full and exclusive. They should not be undermined, and may not be limited by another authority except as provided for by law.
- Where powers are delegated to them by a central or regional authority, local authorities shall be given discretion in adapting their implementation to local conditions.
- Local authorities shall be involved in due time and in an appropriate way in the planning and decision-making processes for all matters which affect them.
Article 6 - Appropriate administrative structures and resources for the tasks of local authorities
Article 7 - Conditions under which responsibilities at local level are exercised
- Local authorities shall be enabled to determine their own internal administrative structures, to adapt them to local needs, and to ensure effective management.
- Local authorities shall be supported by higher levels of government in the development of administrative, technical and managerial capacities and of structures which are responsive, transparent and accountable.
- The conditions of service of local government employees shall be such as to permit the recruitment and retention of high-quality staff on the basis of professional competenceand experience, and of gender equality; to this end adequate training opportunities, remuneration and career prospects shall be provided.
Article 8 - Supervision of local authorities' activities
- The conditions of office of locally elected representatives shall guarantee free exercise of their functions.
- They shall allow for appropriate reimbursement of expenses incurred in the exercise of the office in question as well as, where appropriate, compensation for loss of earnings or remuneration for work done and corresponding social protection.
- Any functions and activities which are deemed incompatible with the holding of local elective office shall be specified by law.
Article 9 - Financial resources of local authorities
- Any supervision of local authorities may only be exercised according to such procedures and in such cases as are provided for by the constitution or by law.
- Any supervision of the activities of local authorities shall aim only at ensuring compliance with the law and with constitutional principles. In respect of tasks the execution of which is delegated to local authorities, administrative supervision by higher level authorities may however go beyond legal control to ensure conformity with national policy.
- Supervision of local authorities shall be exercised when necessary in due proportion to the interests which it is intended to protect.
- If the constitution or national law permits the suspension or dissolution of local councils or the suspension or dismissal of local executives, this shall be done in accordance with due process of law. Their functioning shall be restored within as short a period of time as possible which shall be prescribed by law.
Article 10 - Participation of citizens and partnership
- Local authorities shall be entitled to adequate financial resources of their own, of which they may dispose freely within the framework of their powers.
- Local authorities' financial resources shall be commensurate with their tasks and responsibilities.
- A reasonable proportion of the financial resources of local authorities shall derive from local taxes, fees and charges of which they have the power to determine the rate.
- Taxes which local authorities shall be entitled to levy, or of which they receive a guaranteed share, shall be of a sufficiently general, buoyant and flexible nature to enable them to keep pace with their responsibilities.
- The protection of financially weaker local authorities requires a system of vertical and horizontal financial equalisation.
- Local authorities shall participate in framing the rules governing the general apportionment of redistributed resources.
- As far as possible, financial allocations to local authorities shall respect their priorities and shall not be earmarked for specific projects. The provision of grants shall not remove the basic freedom of local authorities to exercise policy discretion within their own jurisdiction.
- For the purpose of borrowing for capital investment, local authorities shall have access to the national and international capital markets.
Article 11 - Associations of local authorities
- Local authorities shall be entitled to define appropriate forms of popular participation and civic engagement in decision-making and in fulfilment of their function of community leadership.
- Local authorities shall be empowered to establish and develop partnerships with all actors of civil society, particularly non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations, and with the private sector and other interested stakeholders.
Article 12 - International cooperation
- Local authorities shall be entitled, in exercising their powers, to form associations for the defence and promotion of their common interests as well as in order to provide certain services to their members, and to cooperate and form legal entities with other local authorities in order to carry out tasks of common interest.
- Other levels of government shall consult associations of local authorities when preparing legislation affecting local government.
Article 13 - Legal protection of local self-governmentLocal authorities shall have the right of recourse to judicial remedy in order to safeguard their autonomy and to ensure compliance with the laws which determine their functions and protect their interests.
- Local authorities' right of association shall include that of belonging to international associations of local authorities.
- Local authorities shall also be entitled, by law or international treaties, to cooperate with their counterparts in other countries, including in transfrontier regions.
- Local authorities shall be involved, in the spirit of partnership, in the negotiation and implementation of international plans of action concerning their roles and areas ofresponsibility.
Part II - Miscellaneous provisions
Article 14 - Undertakings
- Each State Party undertakes to consider itself bound by at least twenty paragraphs of Part I of the Charter, at least ten of which shall be selected from among the following paragraphs:
- Article 2,
- Article 3, paragraphs 1 and 2
- Article 4, paragraphs 1,2 and 4,
- Article 5,
- Article 7, paragraph 1,
- Article 8, paragraph 2,
- Article 9, paragraphs 1, 2 and 3
- Article 11, paragraph 1,
- Article 13.
Each State Party, when depositing its instrument of ratification or accession, shall notify to the Secretary-General of the United Nations the paragraphs selected in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1 of this Article. Any State Party may, at any later time, notify the Secretary-General that it considers itself bound by any paragraphs of this Charter which it has not already accepted under the terms of paragraph 1 of this Article. Such undertakings subsequently given shall be deemed to be an integral part of the ratification or accession of the State Party so notifying, and shall have the same effect as from the thirtieth day after the date of the receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.Article 15 - Authorities to which the Charter appliesThe principles of local self-government contained in the present Charter apply to all the categories of local authorities existing within the territory of the State Party. However, each State Party may, when depositing its instrument of ratification or accession, specify the categories of local or regional authorities to which it intends to confine the scope of the Charter or which it intends to exclude from its scope. It may also include further categories of local or regional authorities within the scope of the Charter by subsequent notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 16 - Provision of information
Each State Party shall forward periodically to the Secretary-General of the United Nations all relevant information concerning legislative provisions and other measures taken by it for the purposes of complying with the terms of this Charter.
Article 17 - Monitoring
For the purpose of assessing progress in the implementation of the present Charter, a monitoring committee shall be established by States Parties. This committee shall include representatives of local authorities. Its secretariat shall be provided by the United Nations.
Article 18 - Signature and ratification
Article 19 - Entry into force
- The present Charter shall be open for signature by all States.
- The present Charter is subject to ratification. Instruments of ratification shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- The present Charter shall remain open for accession by any State. The instruments of accession shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 20 - Territorial clause
- The present Charter shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of deposit with the Secretary-General of the United Nations of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession.
- For each State ratifying or acceding to the Charter after the deposit of the twentieth instrument of ratification or accession, the Charter shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the deposit by such State of its instrument of ratification or accession.
Article 21 - DenunciationA State Party may denounce the present Charter by written notification to the Secretary-General of the United Nations. Denunciation becomes effective one year after the date of receipt of the notification by the Secretary-General.
- Any State Party may, at the time of signature or when depositing its instrument of ratification or accession, specify the territory or territories to which this Charter shall apply.
- Any State Party may at any later date, by a declaration addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, extend the application of this Charter to any other such territory specified in the declaration. In respect of territory the Charter shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date of receipt of such declaration by the Secretary-General.
- Any declaration made under the two preceding paragraphs may, in respect of any territory specified in such declaration, be withdrawn by a notification addressed to the Secretary-General. The withdrawal shall become effective on the thirtieth day after the date of receipt of such notification by the Secretary-General.
Article 22 - Notifications
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is designated as the depositary of the present Charter.
The Secretary General shall notify the member States of the United Nations of:
Article 23 - Authenticity of textThe original of the present Charter of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
- any signature;
- the deposit of any instrument of ratification or accession;
- any date of entry into force of this Charter in accordance with Article 19;
- any notification received in application of the provisions of Article 14, paragraphs 2 and 3;
- any notification received in application of the provisions of Article 15;
- any other act, notification or communication relating to this Charter.
In witness thereof the undersigned plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized thereto by their respective Governments, have signed the present Charter.
JOINT UNCHS/WACLAC EXPERT GROUPInternational Associations of Local Authorities
ON THE WORLD CHARTER OF LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT
Note: Other international associations of cities and local authorities are expected to appoint representatives to join the Expert Group as the work progresses.
Dr. Heinrich Hoffschulte President, German Section, IULA-Council of European Municipalities and Regions, formerly Oberkreisdirektor, Kreis Steinfurt, Germany Mr. Mbaye-Jacques Diop Député-Mayor of Rufisque, Senegal
President of the Parliamentary Commission on Laws,
General Administration and Human Rights
Deputy Secretary General, Union of African Towns
Mayor Rodrigo González Torres Mayor of Viña del Mar, Chile
Vice-President of the Association of Chilean Municipalities
Col. Max Ng'andwe Councillor of Kabwe, Zambia
President, Local Government Association of Zambia
President, IULA Africa Section
Mayor Jesse M. Rebredo Mayor of Naga, Philippines
President of the Philippines Association of Municipalities
Mme Marie-Claude Tabar-Nouval Head of the Urban Development Department, United Towns Organisation Prof. Rusen Keles Ernst Reuter Centre for Urban Studies, University of Ankara, representing the European Local Government Association for Research (ELGAR/ARCOLE) UNCHS Mr. Mark Hildebrand Director, Office of Programme Coordination Mr. Daniel Biau Acting Chief, Technical Cooperation Division Ms. Christine Auclair Advisor, Indicators Programme Mr. Gunther Karl Coordinator, Statistics Programme Mr. Shekou Sesay Inter-Regional Advisor (Land) Ms. Seyda Turkmemetogullari Partner Liaison Officer Mr. Nicholas You Manager, Best Practices and Local Leadership Programme Secretariat Mr. Paul Bongers Consultant to WACLAC
Formerly Director, Local Government International Bureau, United Kingdom
Mr. Rolf Wichmann Office of the Executive Director and Special Programmes, UNCHS (Habitat) Ms. Vesna Dzuverovic Office of the Executive Director and Special Programmes, UNCHS (Habitat)
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat)
P.O. Box 30030, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (254-2) 623151, Fax: (254-2) 624060/624333