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Commonwealth leaders show strong support for local government

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) has welcomed the outcomes of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia, 28-30 October, particularly the strong endorsement and support given by Commonwealth leaders to CLGF’s work and the role of local government in the Commonwealth.

In their final communiqué heads of government welcomed the contribution of CLGF, supported and upheld the role of local government in promoting strategies for localism, sustainable development and economic growth, and supported the implementation of the Cardiff Consensus for Local Economic Development.

CLGF is pleased that CHOGM agreed to the recommendations of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons’ Group (EPG) including that the Commonwealth Secretariat should coordinate its work with associated Commonwealth organisations such as CLGF, draw on their technical and other expertise, and allocate funds for which these organisations can apply to implement their programmes.

CLGF welcomes the agreement for a Charter of the Commonwealth, which it would like to see embrace the Aberdeen principles on local democracy and good governance, previously endorsed by heads of government as part of the Commonwealth’s core political values. It is also encouraged by the new and strengthened mandate of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) and hopes to work closely with the Commonwealth Secretary-General and CMAG in support of the Aberdeen Principles.

Speaking after the meeting, CLGF Chairperson, Mayor Zenaida Moya, who headed up CLGF’s delegation, said:

“We are very pleased at the outcomes of the discussions by Commonwealth Heads of Government and their strong support for local government and the work of CLGF in supporting local governments. This endorsement is very important in taking our work forward.

“CLGF looks forward to implementing the Cardiff Consensus in partnership with Commonwealth member states especially in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific,” she said.

“We are also very pleased to see the recommendations of the EPG endorsed, particularly in relation to improved coordination among the key Commonwealth organisations, and hope that this improved coordination will also entail better procedures for CLGF, as the associated Commonwealth organisation representing democratically elected local government, which would include reporting directly to foreign ministers and the next CHOGM in 2013.

“I would like to warmly congratulate the HE Kamalesh Sharma on his re-election for another term as Commonwealth Secretary-General, and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd for hosting a successful CHOGM,” she added.

CLGF's delegation was led by its Chairperson, Mayor Zenaida Moya, and included its Vice Chairperson, Mayor Lawrence Yule, Secretary-General Carl Wright, CLGF Board member Basil Morrison, and head of the CLGF Pacific office, Karibaiti Taoaba. In Perth, the CLGF delegation met a large number of Commonwealth leaders, ministers and officials. It also met with the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) and agreed on cooperation with WALGA,  ion planned CLGF work to support local government in Africa and Asia.

Read full CHOGM statement

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