THE MADRID DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES
These principles were adopted by the Best Practices Steering Committee
at its annual meeting in Madrid, Spain, on 4 June 1999. For more
information, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Following are a number of principles that guide the work of the
UNCHS Best Practices Partners Network in identifying, documenting
and disseminating Best Practices and Local Leadership programs for
sustainable community development:
Documentation of Best Practices is meant to be in itself a process
of empowerment for community based people who are developing the
experience. Groups interested in sharing their experience should
learn from the process of documenting it. The documentation of the
experience, with or without external support, is an opportunity
to reflect about how we are doing things, what our visions are and
what empowers us, what things are working for the community and
which are not, what are ways prople learn, what sustains community
networks, who are our partners, and in what circumstances.
Participation is a value that needs to be enhanced and promoted
in all our efforts. Gathering information in an inclusive and participatory
manner, looking at our experiences from the point of view of all
the people involved, and deciding together how to present the experience
Diversity and Language
The Best Practices and Local Leadership Program recognises and respects
diversity among all people, which is seen as a source of richness,
resources and quality of life. For this reason, the effort of gathering
sustainable community practices is happening throughout the globe.
In each United Nations region the members of diverse communities
and cultures are trying to document approaches and answers to our
everyday problems and challenges. Whenever feasible, the documentation
of Best Practices should occur in the language native to the initiators
of the program, or in one of the four official languages employed
by the United Nations. It is recognized, however, that the English
language will be the predominant language for global documentation
in the electronic media.
The idea of documenting Best Practices is meant to enhance sharing
among communities to foster mutual capacity building in face to
face exchanges, peer learning, and transfer systems. It is important
that grassroot initiators own their information from their experiences
and that they promote sharing and horizontal and vertical transfers
to other communities.
The experiences documented are the practices of those who carry
them out. The credit for, and the inclusion of these experiences
in publications, data bases, conferences and other channels of communication
and transfer will respect this ownership and create favorable conditions
for grassroots participation and ownership in dissemination and
implementation processes. The UNCHS and the Best Practices Partners
will endeavor to channel all requests and references for information
and engagement to the initiators of the practice.
Respectful relationships and partnerships for the documentation
and dissemination of Best Practices is a way of bringing together
our strength and that of our alliances. This includes careful consideration
of the conditions and principles needed for sustainable partnerships.
People and Nature
Sustainable development requires a rediscovery of a balanced relationship
between people and natural systems of the planet. The Best Practices
recognition program will seek to identify and transfer knowledge
of practices which promote an equitable relationship among all people
and between people and nature.
Recognizing that human, natural, and financial resources are limited
and distributed in uneven quantities, the Best Practices Partners
will continuously strive to access the necessary resources for maintenance
and improvement of the knowledge base. The Best Practices recognition
program will seek to identify and transfer knowledge of practices
which promote an efficient use of resources and which, in particular,
promote the conservation of non-renewable natural resources.