Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Boost for newly re-established local government in Pakistan

23 January 2017

Pakistan’s Association for Development and Local Governance (ADLG), the four provincial local government associations and eight district councils are set to benefit from a new CLGF project to strengthen the associations and enhance the contribution of local government to governance and development in Pakistan.
 

The programme, worth €1.67 million with the major part of funding from the European Union, will build the capacity of the associations at provincial and national level to support local governments in Pakistan through advocacy, capacity building and training, exchange of good practice, peer support and a series of local pilot projects.
 

The project will support the new local government associations to better represent and support their members in delivering for their communities, with a particular focus on helping local government to work in a developmental way.
 

Since independence Pakistan has had three periods of elected local government: 1959-71, 1979-81 and 2001-2009. In April 2010 a constitutional amendment meant that sub-national governments came under the remit of the four provincial governments, but after the dissolution in 2009, reinstatement was slow to progress. Thanks to extensive advocacy from local, national and international organisations pressure to hold elections increased. In 2010 Balochistan was the first province to pass a new Local Government Act and local elections were held in 2014. The other provinces then followed suit and by February 2016 local government elections had been held across all the four provinces.
 

Legislation is now specific to each province. Since 2016 all the provincial local council associations have been re-established, and a national association, the ADLG,  set up to promote and support common shared priorities.
 

CLGF has been working in Pakistan since 2004 and played a key role in supporting the Pakistan local government associations through the difficult transition, and was actively involved with the advocacy campaign for reintroducing elected local government after it was suspended in 2009.
 

CLGF Deputy Secretary-General Lucy Slack who is in charge of the programme said:
“The project will take a multi-stakeholder approach involving civil society and the private sector as well as the provinces, associations and local councils and help to promote a more participatory, accountable, responsive and inclusive approach in the way councils work and their processes including development planning and budgeting.

“We will do this through awareness-raising and capacity building with local governments and their associations on key issues such as the territorial approach to development, pro-poor planning and localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“We will also build the capacity of the associations to advocate on behalf of their councils through engaging in intergovernmental dialogue.
“We hope that as a result of the project citizens across Pakistan will benefit through improved access to services and improved quality of life development in their areas.”

The project, which was launched on 20 January 2016 will run for three years.
 

Local Councils Association of the Punjab Director Anwar Hussain, welcomed the news:
“We are looking forward to working in close partnership with CLGF for the successful development of our emerging LGAs as the representative voice for local government in Pakistan to empower local governments there.”

 

Photo credit: K M Chaudary/AP

 

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