UCCLA stands for the União das Cidades Capitais Luso-Afro-Américo-Asiaticas, or the Union of Luso Capital Cities in Africa, the Americas and Asia. Also known as the Union of Portuguese-Speaking Capital Cities, it is an international, not-for-profit association of municipalities that “defends the framework of values common to non-governmental organisations dedicated to development.”*
UCCLA was created on June 28th, 1985 by the following founding members:
The District City Hall of Água Grande (São Tomé)
The City Hall of Bissau (Guinea-Bissau)
The City Hall of Lisbon (Portugal)
The City Hall of Macao (China)
The City Hall of Luanda (Angola)
The City Council of Maputo (Mozambique)
The City Hall of Praia (Cape-Verde)
The Prefecture of the City of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)
The principal objective underlying the organisation is “to foster greater understanding and cooperation among it member cities by focusing on cultural, scientific and technical exchanges, economic and social opportunities and other friendly contacts, with a view toward advancing the well-being and sense of progress of their inhabitants.”*
With headquarters in Lisbon, the body of the Association consists of the General Assembly, the Executive Committee, the Finance Committee and the General Secretariat.
An Annual Meeting is stipulated for the General Assembly whereas the Executive Committee holds its regular meetings twice a year, hosted by various cities chosen from the membership.
In each session of the General Assembly, the permanent membership votes to select the following year’s host city for the Annual Meeting as well as the cities to receive the two meetings of the Executive Committee and the city nominated as Lusophone Capital of Culture. All of these cities are chosen from the list of permanent members. Traditionally, the city selected to be the Lusophone Capital of Culture is the one to host the Annual Meeting.
At present, membership in the Association falls into one of three categories:
? Permanent Membership (17 members): Former and current capital cities of Portuguese-speaking countries.
? Associate membership (6 members): “Portuguese-speaking cities with characteristics consistent with the goals and direction pursued by the Union and whose populations show a significant historical or cultural link to one of the permanent members.”*
? Sustaining Membership (43 members): Various independent entities from the public or private sector.
The City of Guimarães joined UCCLA as a permanent member in 1990 on the occasion of the 6th General Assembly in Maputo. Since 1998, it has held the Secretariat of the General Assembly. In 1993 it hosted the 9th General Assembly and in 1998 was declared Lusophone Capital of Culture.
*denotes a text taken from the UCCLA Website