Many years ago I participated in a government to government visit between South Africa and the Philippines to review the progress that the Philippines government had made in decentralising health care to local government. Our aim was to learn lessons from their strategy to actively decentralise this function across the country. One of the challenges which was clearly evident was that in many instances, the fiscal transfers to local government had not accompanied the delegation of the function.
It is remarkable that in 2017, when we have seen successful women break through into leadership positions across the Commonwealth and beyond - in their local communities, in politics locally and nationally, in business and commerce, and in the third sector - that there is still a need to call for gender equality and inclusion in our public institutions.
On International Women’s day 2017, CLGF is joining with UCLG and UN Women in the #BECOUNTED campaign to underline the importance of increasing the proportion of women in locally elected office, as part of the global commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality and empowerment.
With over 36,000 participants from 167 countries, and high levels of security given the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, and other global leaders, the start of Habitat III was always going to be a little chaotic. Umbrella sellers did a brisk business as participants queued for hours in the hot Ecuadorian sun to register for the conference. In the end the detailed preparation, the large teams of enthusiastic young volunteers and the warm welcome from the city and people of Quito meant that the conference was a great success.
The month of September 2016 saw Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosting the fifth Replenishment Conference of the Global Fund for HIV, TB and Malaria, in Montreal Canada. It appears to have been a clever choice for a host. Under his leadership and influence a record $12.9 billion was raised in the effort to further resource the eradication of the three diseases by 2030. Commonwealth countries were amongst those who responded generously to the global need.