Commonwealth Local Government Forum

LED World Forum report back

02 November 2017

CLGF joined more than 2900 participants from 85 countries at the end of October for the 4th World Forum of Local Economic Development (LED) in Cape Verde: delegates from central and local government, civil society, the UN and its agencies and other members of the development community. 


The forum’s theme was LED as a comprehensive framework to localise the SDGs: Addressing Rising Inequalities and provided a platform for analysis, creative discussion and the sharing of experiences on the relevance of LED as an approach to localising the SDGs. 

As an associate member of the Forum, CLGF sponsored four participants: 


Ms Phumla Ndaba, CLGF Regional LED Advisor in Southern Africa, a panellist on Enabling Policies and Measures for Achieving Territorial Cohesion through LED: Employment and Decent Work through Youth and Women Economic Empowerment. 


Mr Leon George Thomas, Mayor of Portmore Municipal Council, Jamaica and Ms Colisile Tfwala, LED Officer for the Municipal Council of Mbabane, Swaziland; participants in the panel on Small Island Development States (SIDS) and Small States: Common Challenges and Potential. 


And Ms Nyasha Simbanegavi, CLGF Regional Progamme Manager for Southern Africa, participated in the interactive panel on Public Goods and Services for Women’s Economic Empowerment. 


Around 250 speakers from all sectors used a mix of high-level plenaries, interactive panels, and policy dialogues to discuss the four themes over four days, which included:  


  • LED as foundation for integrated and cohesive territories; 
  • LED as a foundation for resilient and peaceful societies in fragile context; 
  • LED as a foundation for sustainable and inclusive economies; and 
  • Special focus on Small Island Development States.


CLGF is working on all levels to achieve the SDGs. Taking SDG 5, globally, CLGF is working with UCLG and UN Women on the #Be Counted Campaign which aims to highlight the role of local government in achieving the SDGs. Through its Local Government Handbook, published every two years, CLGF collects data on the number of elected women in local government across the Commonwealth. At Commonwealth level, CLGF is launching the Commonwealth Women in Local Government Network at its biennial conference in Malta next month to create a platform for women involved in local government to share experiences, support each other and ensure that their voice is strengthened. At national level, CLGF’s work on women empowerment includes capacity building for local authorities to mainstream gender in local governance and service delivery; as well as empowering women through its LED work. 


The Forum’s concluding declaration included: 


  • The importance of integrated LED systems in localising the SDGs; 
  • LED’s role as a route for socio-economic and territorial cohesion;
  • The key role of local and regional governments and their associations, and city-to city dialogue for mutual learning, in enabling effective and inclusive LED processes;
  • The transformative role of the private sector;
  • The need for stronger coalitions with civil society actors/associations to enable fully participatory governance processes;
  • The potential of LED in conveying an integrated, developmental perspective in growingly complex crisis situations;
  • The potential of integrated LED and Social and Solidarity Economy and Finance (SSEF) models and strategies;
  • The key value of research and accessible, evidence-based knowledge systems;
  • The pivotal role of LED in shaping local resilience against climate change, and renewed patterns for the sustainable use of local resources and provision of services;
  • The potential of LED in further unlocking and ‘localising’ the development potential of Small Island Developing States;
  • The need for better designed and adapted international financing strategies;
  • The urgent need to include and mainstream a gender perspective in policies and strategies.


The declaration ends by placing emphasis on the need for proper follow-up of the results and conclusions of the Forum. Accordingly, the Declaration indicates renewed commitment by delegates to continue working together. 


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