HAPPY NEW YEAR!
1st. Newsletter of IULA'99 Virtual Congress
From the 21st to the 24th March 1999 the International Union of Local
Authorities (IULA) will hold its biannual meeting in Barcelona. Two
months ago we started the experience of offering a Virtual Congress
through the World Wide Web, which deals with the same themes as the real
congress of IULA. The aim of this congress is to open a debate, as wide
as possible, between people, social sectors and institutions involved in
each one of the themes. This aim will be achieved through sending
opinions, experiences, references of publications, eamples of good
Each theme will have one or more fora to debate. Moreover, the visitor
can consult a wide-ranging virtual library on local government. You will
find us at www.iulabcn.org.
This electronic bulletin, which will be renewed every three weeks, will
allow you to know the news of our web and the issues which are currently
under discussion in the Virtual Congress.
The Virtual Congress' facilitators are,
TOPIC: Social Cohesion and Participation: Moisès Amorós
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TOPIC: Sustainability and Local Agenda 21: Helena Barracó
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TOPIC: Local Democracy : Ramon Canal
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News of Social Cohesion
The fora of this thematic area are already opened with different
contributions, some of them ask for more information to other
participants, and others answer to particular questions settled. A
selected pack of documentation is linked to the different fora. These
documents can be consulted and they can be guidelines for future
The opened fora and questions addressed in each one are:
·Tackling crime for successful cities. How can crime prevention be
coupled with crime repression? Are police and justice administration the
only available instruments, or are they the main ones? Do world-wide
urban crime situations share common features? Which strategies can be
shared? Are local government sufficiently empowered to achieve safer
towns? Is greater co-ordination needed with the media, judicial,
national police and international security institutions?
·Local government: working for older persons and young people. How can
we get an integrated approach to the needs of older persons and young
people? How can age discrimination be confronted? Is age a burden or a
resource? How can young and aged populations participate in the general
welfare? And in the production of wealth? Are these groups unavoidably
passive recipients of public aid and care? Are local agents better
placed than national or global agents to deal with the potential of
·Promoting local employment. Are macro-regional and state policies
against unemployment the main tools? Can unemployment be really tackled
locally? Are these potential conflicts between local and national
strategies? Are all competing against other?
·A city for all. Participation. How can local public policy stimulate
independent civic behaviour? Aside from formal and electoral
participation, which other channels can be successful strategies and
good practice in achieving this goal?
·A city for all. Intercultural dialogue. How can difference be sponsored
as a positive value? Can such policies generate inequality? Can
multicultural and multiethnic tolerance be transformed into active
intercourse? Which challenges are posed by immigrants groups, and what
potential of cultural wealth can they contribute? On which practices can
experience be drawn upon?
·Introductory questions/conclusions. How can social cohesion,
sustainability and local democracy be interrelated? Are they conceivable
as independent issues? Where progress has been assessed in recent years?
Where has it not? Can major developments be anticipated or predicted?
How can local governments promote awareness and action -regarding
citizens, administrations and other sectors?
News of Sustainability and Local Agenda 21
Since the Virtual Congress had started, three new discussion themes have
· Local Agenda 21. There are two fora working at that moment: one about
cities' impact in global warming and another referred to citizen
participation in Local Agenda 21 processes. These fora also contain
interesting papers to discuss about urban sustainable development in
Latino-America and the United Nation's program about Cities for Climate
· Urban Vehicles. In this forum you'll find papers about policies
regarding alcohol as fuel in Brazil and hybrid vehicles experiences in
· Telematics and clean technologies. A Discussion forum about the impact
of Internet on urban mobility has started.
Forthcoming in the web: sustainability indicators and urban-rural
dynamics (compacted city versus scattered city) forum.
News Local Democracy
Currently there are four themes which are open to debate:
· Towards the World Charter of local self-government. We have begun with
a forum about the origins, the causes and the possible outcomes of what
seems to be a global movement for the promotion of local
self-government. The main discussion paper you will find in the web page
is the project of a World Charter that has been elaborated by a group of
experts appointed by the WACLAC.
· Local democracy, sustainability and social cohesion. In this theme,
which is common to the three Congress' areas, we are asked to think
about the pros and cons of decentralisation. Among other documents, you
will find the IULA policy paper on decentralisation.
· Ethics: moral values in local government. We suggest a debate on the
following question: are codes of ethics or codes of conduct the best
instruments to foster a proper behaviour and to fight against corruption
in local governments? As valuable examples we've incorporated in the web
page the Code of Ethics and the Declaration of Ideals of the ICMA
(International City/County Manager Association).
· Municipal international cooperation and capacity building. The first
forum derived from this theme puts in question the current models of
decentralised international cooperation. We want to know which are the
strong points and what degree of efficacy can be expected from a direct
cooperation between municipalities. Some papers from IULA and from the
United Nations Development Program give the debate the necessary
In the next bulletin we will inform you about the opening of four new
themes: Women in local government; Adapting and modernising local
government; Financing local government's investments and Local
government working for peace.