The Third Report of the Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD III) is dedicated to the issue of basic services. The report, 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 over the three years of its preparation. Moreover, the publication provides a wide analysis about the state of basic services for each European country.

GOLD III highlights 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.

However, GOLD III also offers a way forward. It demonstrates that basic service provision is best where empowered local governments have the authority, resources, and capacity to fulfil their responsibilities in service delivery