The first Inter-American Conference of Mayors was held in Washington, D.C., attended by approximately 100 people, and co-sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development, the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Organization of American States in 1994. The second conference, co-sponsored by the same organizations was held in Miami and almost 200 individuals participated. In 1996, the IPMCS started to organize the event annually. Since that time, the Conference has been sponsored by Miami-Dade County government and organized by IPMCS and has grown to a point that this past year 500 individuals from almost every country in the hemisphere participated.

As the largest gathering of local leaders from throughout the hemisphere to occur each year, the Conference continues to build upon the many successes of the previous conferences. Throughout the region, effective local governance has become key to the economic and physical well being of citizens. However, the task of effective governance cannot be achieved without collaborative governance— both within and among municipalities, as well as with different levels of government. Also needed is the commitment of all social sectors — private, nongovernmental and public — to the development of their communities.

The Conference is annually attended by mayors, governors, legislators and other elected representatives of, as well as senior executive officials from, the local, regional and national governments of the Americas. Other attendees include academics and interested parties from the private sector, nongovernmental organizations and major international and multilateral agencies. Attendees also include representatives of the media and the leadership of major municipal associations.