Fighting poverty with democracy

We are convinced that the battle to eliminate poverty worldwide starts here at home – in our village, our town, or our municipality. Which is why, here at ICLD, we work with people who are changing the world by building local democracy. Our operations are based on a handful of fundamental principles.

1. Global challenges demand local action

Poverty is not just a lack of material resources: it’s also a lack of opportunity to influence one’s own living conditions. We live in a time when global phenomena such as climate change, urbanisation and migration have repercussions in people’s everyday lives. Which is why functional local, democratic institutions are more important than ever before. Decision-making processes need to be efficient, transparent and inclusive. And every citizen should have the same opportunity to exert influence.

2. Institutions are built through knowledge

Building efficiently functioning democratic institutions demands knowledge. Which is why disseminating knowledge and promoting its mutual exchange is at the heart of everything ICLD does. Whether it involves our support for research, our international training programmes, or the municipal partnerships that we finance. Participation and involvement by people who know and have experience are vital.

3. Face-to-face

Our goal is for ICLD to be a hub where people can meet, face-to-face, to exchange knowledge and experience. We enable and assist international partnerships at local level, at which people who would otherwise never have met can get together and learn from one another. We bring together leading researchers and people with practical experience, allowing them to work together to identify solutions to challenges in everyday democratic life.

Holistic Urban Development

Tbilisi - Planning of city centre using SymbioCity Approach

A team from Tbilisi City Hall - the department of urban planning, participated in the first round of International Training Programme: Enabling Local Democracy and Holistic Urban Development through the SymbioCity Approach. During the training the team developed a plan for the development of one central area in Tbilisi.


ICLD’s principal is the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR). ICLD’s operations are financed by Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) and are regulated by both national and international policy documents and agreements between Sida and ICLD. The ICLD Board of Directors comprises representatives of Lund University, Region Gotland, and SKL.

The Board (from left to right):
Member of the Board – Tomas Bergström, Lund University
Member of the Board – Anna Derwinger Hallberg, Region Gotland
Member of the Board – Lena Langlet, SALAR 
Chairperson of the Board – Jerker Stattin, SALAR


Municipal Partnership Programmes (KP). KP are developmental partnerships between Swedish municipalities, regions and county councils, and their equivalents in countries where the average income is low to medium.

International Training Programmes (ITP). ITP are longer term, specialist-training programmes aimed at key individuals at local level in the countries with which Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) works, such as local politicians and administrative officials.

Knowledge Centre (KC). KC initiates, analyses and distributes knowledge in the fields of creating and developing local self-governance, local democracy, and decentralisation. We also finance research at universities in Sweden and our partner countries.

More about ICLD

ICLD works with poverty reduction through local democracy development. Focusing on the freedom and rights of individuals, ICLD programmes aim at strengthening local and regional political governed bodies, decentralization processes, local self-government and citizenship in priority partner countries of the Swedish government.

ICLD promotes local democracy development by building on knowledge and experience in Swedish municipalities and county councils and on research and knowledge development in the area of decentralization and on local democracy that exist in an international perspective. The four core areas equality, participation, transparency and accountability are cornerstones of positive democratic development.

Vacant positions at ICLD
Right now there are no vacant positions.

Code of conduct

Participating in any of the ICLD’s activities entails a major responsibility. Stakeholders represent not only the ICLD but also Sweden and Sweden’s international commitments. This Code of Conduct applies to everyone who carries out work on behalf of the ICLD: staff, experts, consultants and other people involved in the Municipal Partnership Programme. All these individuals must be well versed in the Code of Conduct. It is provided as an annex to employment contracts; in conjunction with other agreements with consultants and experts; and in Municipal Partnership contexts.

Anyone who observes a deviation from these guidelines must report it to the ICLD’s Secretary-General or administrative manager, who will take appropriate measures.

The ICLD’s Board of Directors adopted this Code of Conduct on 24 February 2010 and updated it on 24 April 2014.

Code of Conduct