Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Americas \ Local government in small states

SSmall states are defined as countries with less than 1.5 million inhabitants (including small island states and small island developing states - SIDS). Small states make up more than half of the 53 Commonwealth member countries. They face a particular set of challenges including governance, managing vulnerability and remoteness, dealing with limited economic opportunities, and dealing with the impact of climate change



Yes to Local Government, No to Participatory Democracy: The Local Governance Reform Dilemma in Trinidad, St. Lucia and St. Vincent

In the Commonwealth Caribbean countries of St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, local government reform has been and continues to remain on the agenda. The proposals are all based on the philosophy that there should be elected local government, which in turn should facilitate substantive levels of participatory democracy and citizen involvement. But whilst there is general acceptance of this philosophy, central governments are seemingly reluctant to implement any reforms which would return power to the people. Citizen involvement and participatory democracy has thus become the bug-bear in the process, and has led to the stalling of local government reform in all three countries. With reforms having stalled, one wonders whether the next step will be the dissolution of systems of local government in these states.

Author: Bishnu Ragoonath Publisher: Publication year: may 2009

2016 Barbara Ward Lecture: Debra Roberts

Dr Debra Roberts of eThekwini Municipality, Durban, South Africa, gives the 2016 Barbara Ward Lecture. She called for more to be done to join the dots between the 'New Urban Agenda', being prepared for Habitat III, and the realities of implementation at the local level.

Author: Debra Roberts Publisher: IIED Publication year: 2016

Partnerships on Small Island Developing States 2016

Partnerships on Small Island Developing States 2016 - Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships and UN-DESA, 2016. It has now been two years since the conclusion of the Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States, its groundbreaking outcome document the SAMOA Pathway, and the announcement of over 300 partnerships devoted to the sustainable development of SIDS and the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway. What has worked and what has not worked, for these partnerships? 

Author: Steering Committee on SIDS Partnerships and UN-DESA Publisher: UN-DESA Publication year: 2016

LocalĀ government 2030: achieving the vision - conference background paperĀ 

Background discussion for Commonwealth Local Government Conference 2015.  CLGF commissioned two “thinkpieces” Local government 2030 achieving the vision – the role of local democracy and good governance and Local government 2030 achieving the vision – the importance of local government in economic development and cities as engines of economic growth

Author: Lucy Slack, Bhaskar Chakrabarti, Joydeep Guha, Sue Bannister and Michael Sutcliffe Publisher: CLGF Publication year: 2015

Resource guide on decentralisation and local government

This resource guide provides practical guidance for designing, implementing and evaluating decentralisation reforms and local government practices to ensure they are as effective as possible. It also synthesises and presents current debates on the impact of decentralisation and local government on poverty reduction, service delivery and conflict as well as providing links to cutting-edge research and recent case studies.

Author: Zoe Scott and Munawwar Alam Publisher: Commonwealth Secretariat Publication year: 2011

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