About GOLD

UCLG’s Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD) aims to:

Share information on local democracy and decentralization throughout the world and evaluate the progress and setbacks;
Raise the international profile of UCLG members and contribute their perspective to global debates;
Promote dialogue and partnership between local authorities and national governments, international institutions, and academics.

On this website, you can access our flagship GOLD reports on local democracy and decentralization, as well as news stories related to local governance, country profiles summarizing the situation of local governments in over 70 countries, statistical information on local governments, and a comprehensive digital library with all the Observatory's publications.

The GOLD Reports

Published every three years, GOLD reports are an important part of UCLG’s quest to become an international reference point for information about local and regional governments, local democracy and decentralization worldwide. Since the publication of its first edition in 2008, GOLD has become an international benchmark in the analysis of local and regional governments worldwide. GOLD I (2008) offered a general overview of the state of local democracy and governance on a global scale. Three years later, GOLD II (2011) provided the most comprehensive review of local financing across the world. In 2014, GOLD III tackled the issue of access to local basic services.

The latest edition of the Report, GOLD IV, studies the role that local and regional governments can play to implement and support the emerging new global consensus achieved on key international accords such as the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Climate Agreement, and the New Urban Agenda. GOLD IV presents the foundations of the Global Agenda of Local and Regional Governments for the coming decade, a set of policy recommendations for all actors and stakeholders in the local and regional governance system which proved to be a crucial part in the negotiations that led to the adoption of the New Urban Agenda at the Habitat III summit of Quito, in October 2016.

The GOLD reports are unprecedented in their scope, covering local governments in all of the major world regions (Asia Pacific, Africa, Europe, North America, Latin America, Eurasia and the Middle East and West Asia). The reports also use a unique methodology: they are drawn up by leading regional specialists working in close consultation with local elected representatives and local government practitioners with experience on the ground. GOLD IV adopted, moreover, an unprecedented perspective, exploring the core issues of local development worldwide through the lenses of different kinds of urban and territorial settlements: metropolitan areas, intermediary cities, and territories and small towns.

Consistent with the overarching strategy of UCLG, the Observatory is now committed to the processes of monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the SDGs, the 2030 Agenda and the other major global agendas. GOLD has already presented its first Report on the Localization of the SDGs at the United Nations' High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, in July 2017. It is also collaborating with UN-Habitat and UNDP to manage the LocalizingtheSDGs.org online platform, a unique hub to collect, share and voice the practices and experiences of local governments involved, hands on, in the implementation of the SDGs for the empowerment and development of their territories and communities.

 The Observatory is part of the World Secretariat of UCLG and is a core partner of UCLG's Global Observatory on Local Finance. You can contact the director of GOLD and the UCLG's research team at e.bilsky@uclg.org. You can also address your general inquiries at consultations@uclg.org, or reach us by phone at +34 93 342 8768.