United Cities and Local Governments
Carrer Avinyó, 15
08002 Barcelona
Tel: +34 93 34 28 750
Fax: +34 93 34 28 760


Elisabeth Gateau, Secretary General

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Unification of IULA and UTO creates largest
international local government association
By Guy Kervella, European Editor

The new, Barcelona-based, international local government association United Cities and Local Governments is the result of the unification of the two largest international local government associations, the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA) and the United Towns Organisation (UTO/FMCU). The new organisation, which has members in more than 100 countries and represents both associations and cities, brings together the national local government associations that formed the majority of IULA’s membership, and the individual city members of UTO.

The inspiration for creating a new world organisation of local government came from the 1996 United Nations Istanbul Conference on Human Settlements. Here, international recognition was given to the importance of decentralisation and the strengthening of local authorities.

Therefore, at the World Assembly of Cities and Local Authorities (WACLA) in Istanbul, participants called upon the international local government organisations to strengthen their coordination and create the basis for a unified world organisation.

Since then, IULA and UTO have been working together to create United Cities and Local Governments. In May 2001, the IULA-UTO Unity Congress took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the decision to unify the two organisations was formally taken.

United Cities and Local Governments is a new world organisation dedicated to promoting the values, objectives and interests of cities and local governments across the globe. It is the largest local government organisation in the world, with a diverse membership that includes both individual cities and national associations of local governments.

United Cities and Local Governments promotes itself as the global voice of cities and the main local government partner of the United Nations. It promotes the policies and experiences of local governments in key areas such as poverty, sustainable development and social inclusion.

United Cities and Local Governments supports international cooperation between cities and their associations, and facilitates programmes, networks and partnerships to build the capacity of local governments. It promotes the role of women in local decision-making, and is a gateway to relevant information on local government across the world.

United Cities and Local Governments has members in over 100 countries in all world regions. Its membership includes cities, small and large, and national associations, which represent local government members in a single country. Local government members either join directly, or by becoming members of the regional or metropolitan sections.
This gives United Cities and Local Governments a broad, global membership which includes local governments of all types, as well as our international partners.

Organisations interested in becoming members of United Cities and Local Governments, can apply under one of the following categories:

Local government membership is open to individual cities and local governments, and national Local Government Associations

International organisation membership is open to international local government organisations which represent specific categories of local governments, and/or whose purposes relate to specific sectoral or thematic issues

Associate membership is open to organisations which, though not themselves local government organisations, are strongly concerned with or involved in local government matters

Local government members, international organisation members and associate members pay an annual membership fee. The membership fees for local government members take into consideration the number of inhabitants represented by the member, and the state of the country's economic development.

World Mayor 2023