GOLD III - Basic services for all in an urbanizing world


Commission publications
Decentralization, Local taxation

The issue of basic services has been recognized as a priority by UCLG. After all, local governments are ultimately judged on their ability to provide their citizens with quality basic services such as water, sanitation, health, education, waste management, and transport. Improving and extending the delivery of basic services was a key component of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). There is now growing international recognition of the importance of sub-national governments in ensuring the universal provision of basic services, and of the role of basic services in poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

The report published in 2013, entitled ‘Basic Services for All in an Urbanizing World’, is unique in its scope, having drawn on the expertise of a wide range of regional and local practitioners, politicians and academics to highlight the common challenges that local governments across the world face in balancing the financial sustainability of services with affordability for their residents. It explains how rapid urbanization and demographic and environmental changes are posing radical new challenges to sustainable development, and warns that a failure to address the urban access issue will have serious repercussions for human wellbeing, environmental sustainability, and economic development. Moreover, the publication provides a wide analysis about the state of basic services for each European country. 

Finally, GOLD III also offers a way forward. It demonstrates that basic service provision is at its best where empowered local governments have the authority, resources, and capacity to fulfil their responsibilities in service delivery. It demonstrates that local governments are often at the forefront of collaborating with other levels of government, civil society, and the private sector to provide innovative solutions to pressing citizen needs. The report argues that local governments are willing and able to rise to the challenge of providing basic services, but they need the human, technical and, above all, the financial resources to do so.