On Monday 10 March, the annual Commonwealth Day celebrations will take place in our 53 member states worldwide. In London, CLGF will as usual be participating in the multi-faith service held at Westminster Abbey in the presence of HM Queen Elizabeth, Head of the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, Commonwealth High Commissioners and other dignitaries.
A key proposal coming from our 2013 CLGF Conference in Kampala was that 2014 should be designated as the Year of Developmental Local Government or #Y2014DevLG for twitter users, so as to highlight the central role played by local government especially in economic and social developpment. This was also designed to encourage practical follow-up to the conference by CLGF members, as agreed and set out in our Kampala Declaration and Munyonyo Statement on Local Government’s Role in Post-2015.
A great flame has been extinguished but will live on in our hearts and souls. Even while a prisoner on Robben Island, Mandela was a great inspiration not only to his own people in South Africa but to my generation of young activists and millions throughout the world- in calling for an end to apartheid, in mobilising action, in seeking a peaceful transition to a fairer and democratic society.
The appalling and callous terrorist attack in Nairobi has highlighted the vulnerability of our big cities to external threat, be it man-made insurgency or natural disasters such as earthquakes or storm surges. Given moreover that 80 per cent of the world’s population now live within 50 miles of the sea, changing environmental and climatic factors are increasingly likely to result in flooding, pollution and health risks.