The Union of Communities of Armenia was established in 1997, uniting all 502 rural and urban self-governance bodies of Armenia. The main statutory goals of the Union are to promote the development of local self-governance, protect the interests of member communities, strengthen the capacity of local self-governance bodies, and promote co-operation among member communities. The Union defines its mission as being a unified and representative voice of its members guided by the principles of its members' autonomy, rights protection, collegiality and non-discrimination in Armenia and in the outside world, with strong institutional solidarity and structures. The Union strives to ensure that the local self-government bodies of the RA have a vocal and trustworthy voice in the country's political system, with an aim of influencing the political agenda in collaboration with national authorities for the sake of the Armenian citizens, communities and local democracy. The Union aims at development of local self-government, strengthening local democracy and promoting citizens' participation at the local and regional level. The Union initiates activities for the achievement of these goals both by its own projects and with the cooperation of local and international partners.