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.

Municipal Financing

Lusaka - Slum upgrading

70% of Lusakas approximately 1,4 million inhabitants live in slums without proper access to basic services. Sanitation is here one of the worst problems. The capital of Zambia has 37 slums and the project run by Chongo Mangiza and Mwiche Mudala within the International Training Program “Municipal Financing Supporting Local Development and Local Democracy” targets Kanyama which is one of the biggest slums. The purpose of the project is to upgrade this slum area.

UN Capital Development Fund UNCDF, South AfricaTanzaniaUgandaZimbabweZambia


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 – Lena Langlet, SALAR 
Member of the Board – Tomas Bergström, Lund University
Member of the Board – Maria Pettersson, Region Gotland
Chairperson of the Board – Jerker Stattin, SALAR


ICLD has three operating spheres:

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.

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