Resolution 17/18 of the Commission on Human Settlements (1999) called on the Executive Director, to establish a committee of local authorities as an advisory body that would serve the purpose of strengthening the international dialogue with local authorities involved in the implementation of the Habitat Agenda .
The inaugural meeting of the United Nations Advisory Committee of Local Authority (UNACLA) was hosted by the City of Venice, Italy, from 23 – 24 January 2000. This meeting brought together high-level participants representing a wide spectrum of mayors and leaders of global and regional associations of cities and local authorities.
UNACLA, which meets twice a year and holds special events generally on the occasion of world summits and conferences, is expected to define a positive and innovative vision of the future of the world’s cities and to contribute intellectually and substantively to the definition and implementation of the Global Campaigns on Secure Tenure and Good Urban Governance initiated and coordinated by UN-HABITAT.
As the only advisory committee of local authorities and local authority associations to the United Nations, UNACLA has also served as interface between the world of local Authorities and national governments at the international level, through a systematic and practical global dialogue on substantive issues and the promotion of representative and participative democracy.
UNACLA role and work in the growing partnership between local governments and the United Nations have been recognised world-wide. At the World Summit of Local Authorities on the Information Society held in Lyon from 4 – 5 December 2003, local Authorities and representatives of local Authority associations, requested the Secretary General of the United Nations to reinforce the role of UNACLA in order to make the voices of cities heard by the institutions that contribute to the development of the information society.
Recently UNACLA has provided the High-level Panel on Civil Society, established by the Secretary-General under the chairmanship of H.E. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, with the views of local authorities on the relationship between the UN system, the civil society and local governments.