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'Decentralization and Local Democracy in the World' constitutes a global reference on decentralization by presenting the contemporary situation of local governments in all regions of the world. The report analyzes local authorities in each continent under three main themes: the evolution of territorial structures; responsibilities and power, management and finances; and local democracy. An additional chapter is dedicated to the governance of large metropolises, where rapid growth presents major challenges, in particular in the fast-developing countries of the South. This report also offers a comparative overview of the different realities concerning the state of decentralization, and how the basic indispensable mechansims for local democracy do, or do not exist in come countries. Relationships between the state and local authorities are evolving toward innovative forms of cooperation. In this context, the role of local authorities in the development of global policies is increasingly recognized. The first Global Observatory on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD) Report is one of the main products of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The GOLD Report is the first of what will be a triennial publication. UCLG represents and defends the interests of local governments on the world stage, regardless of the size of the communities they serve. Headquartered in Barcelona, the organization's stated mission is: To be the united voice and world advocate of democratic local self-government, promoting its values, objectives and interests, through cooperation between local governments, and within the wider international community.