Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Cities Alliance discuss challenges of urbanisation

02 May 2019



CLGF’s Deputy Secretary-General Lucy Slack was in the Liberian capital, Monrovia, at the end of last month, to participate in the annual Cities Alliance Assembly. This year's Assembly looked specifically at the themes of resilience and informality.


Supporting the local community


Holding the event in Monrovia allowed delegates to explore the challenges of urbanisation in a fragile, post-conflict context and experience how the Cities Alliance programme has impacted the lives and opportunities of slum dwellers in Greater Monrovia, with interventions at the community, municipal and national levels. Participants visited a number of sites demonstrating how Cities Alliance’s support had enabled the local community, city council and other local stakeholders to develop key infrastructure and services, including water kiosks and showers, as well as community-led waste management initiatives to keep the market clear.


Strengthening capacity


The meeting also provided an opportunity to visit Central Market to see examples of cooperation between the city and traders. Strengthened capacity of the Federation of Petty Traders and Informal Workers Union of Liberia (FEPTIWUL) in central Monrovia has enabled them to negotiate with the city for improved working conditions for their members.


Debating key issues


Following the study visits there was a seminar enabling the local staff and partners working on the Liberia Country Programme to share their experiences with an international audience and this provoked some interesting debates on a number of key issues facing cities as they develop. Specific sessions covered the following: 


• Confronting Risks in Cities - which looked at how local governments and communities in rapidly urbanising cities confront the risks, shocks and stresses posed by climate change, socio-economic transformations and emergencies; 


• Beyond Formalising the Informal: The Transformative Power and Realities of Hybrid Economies in Cities – which discussed concrete approaches to improving  the enabling environment for formal and informal businesses by highlighting successful interventions to foster more affordable, accessible and enforceable regulatory frameworks; and


• Overcoming Silo Approaches: Outlook for the promotion and localisation of the Global Agendas for Cities – with an update by the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments and UN-Habitat on the localisation of the various global agendas for cities and upcoming events. 


Lucy Slack took part in a panel looking at risks and shocks , where she spoke to the  importance of leadership and planning.


CLGF elected to the Board


The Assembly meeting also has a statutory function and saw the election of a new Board of Cities Alliance, the Chair and, also, the endorsement of a new President of the Assembly. CLGF is delighted to have been elected to the Board of Cities Alliance and looks forward to serving alongside other members, and under the experienced stewardship of Rt Hon Clare Short, who was re-elected to the role of Chair.


Similarly, CLGF was happy to see Anibal Gaviria Correa, former Mayor of Medellin, elected to the role of President of the Cities Alliance Assembly. He will play an important, outward facing role, championing the cause of cities and the work of the partnership over the next two years.   


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