Commonwealth Local Government Forum

CLGF programmes in the Pacific

Strengthening the capacity of local government associations to support local economic development in the Pacific  EU funded initiative (2014-2017)

Strongly and adequately resourced local government associations are a pre-requisite to a sustained drive to local economic activity.
CLGF was successful in gaining European Union support and funding for a three year pilot programme aimed at creating and increasing the sustainability of local economic development (LED) at the local level through the strengthening of local government associations and supporting interaction with communities.
The programme focuses on the local government associations of three countries: the Cook Islands, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands. The small size of the local councils within these three countries and their limited resources mean they require specialist assistance to implement new programmes. Through this local economic development focused initiative, local government associations will be developed and trained to enable them to provide this much needed assistance.

Specific objectives of the programme are to:

  • Improve local government planning and resourcing for sustainable development;
  • Improve the capacity of local government associations, CLGF and local government staff to support and monitor LED related initiatives of local communities and their councils;
  • Promote innovative collaborative approaches to stakeholder and public participation in local governance

Specific activities of the programme are applied in an integrated way aimed at providing local government associations (supported by national local government departments and CLGF) the expertise over a sustained period to assist pilot local government to effectively increase local economic development in their jurisdictions. 

The activities of the programme fall into five categories which are:
1.    Sustainability of local government associations;
2.    Training of local government associations;
3.    Strategic and action planning for local economic development;
4.    Implementation (including seed funding) of local economic development initiatives; and
5.    Monitoring and evaluation.

UN Women markets for change (M4C) project (2014-2019)

CLGF Pacific has partnered with UN Women in implementing some of the activities in its Markets for Change (M4C) Project in Fiji and the Solomon Islands. This includes the coordination of training needs analysis scoping as well as facilitation of training for management of municipal markets in ten councils around Fiji and two in the Solomon Islands.

CLGF Pacific primarily assists the M4C in ensuring that local government and market management strategies will be gender responsive, effective and accountable to gender needs. Other aspects of CLGF’s involvement in the initiative includes the assessment of market management structures, providing recommendations for improving market management governance, accountability, transparency and implementation of tailored training to market management staff. 

The M4C Project is a six year (2014 – 2019) multi-country project focusing on three Melanesian countries: Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, with specific implementation based on local circumstances. The project is principally funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) as part of the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Initiative.


As a result of CLGF’s extensive networks and knowledge of the local government context in Tuvalu, the secretariat were approached by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) to partner in the pilot phase of the LoCAL program in Tuvalu. 

LoCAL is the UNCDF facility for investment in local level climate resilience. The facility channels global adaptation on finance to local governments who are on the frontline of dealing with the effects of climate change and enables them to invest in building local resilience. The method for doing so is innovative: the LoCAL Facility connects to existing national intergovernmental fiscal transfer systems and supplements capital grants to local governments with performance-based climate adaptation funding. LoCAL thus provides a fast and effective means to channel adaptation finance to where it is most needed, while at the same time ensuring ownership, accountability and results. The methodology is derived from UNCDF’s specific experience in setting up such systems for effective capital investments and capacity building of the sub-national governments.

Tuvalu is the first country in the Pacific where the LoCAL mechanism will be designed. Its first activity, a scoping mission, was conducted and completed by both partners in late 2015. The results of the mission are currently being developed into an appropriate tool for implementation in Tuvalu. 

Previous programmes in the Pacific

CLGF Pacific local government strengthening programme (2011-2015)

The CLGF Pacific Local Government Strengthening Program was launched in November 2011 at the biennial Pacific Local Government Forum in Suva, Fiji. The four year program which ended in December 2015 was the second major phase of CLGF work in the Pacific region. It reflected the outcomes of extensive review and consultations with regional stakeholders, including at the Regional Symposium in Port Vila in October 2010, as well as building on the existing work and experience of CLGF work with local government in the region. 
The programme developed an overall vision which was that local government is recognized as an effective partner in building and sustaining vibrant, inclusive and resilient local economies and communities. The program was centred on five main focus areas which included:

  • Advocacy and relationships – Raising the profile of local government in the Pacific region and establishing effective local government networks
  • Local government structures, systems and policies – Enhancing local government is appropriately positioned, recognized and supported within the system of government
  • Local government service delivery – Strengthening the service delivery capacity of local government to meet the needs and priorities of their communities
  • Urban management – Addressing the specific governance and capacity building challenges facing capital cities and urban local governments.
  • Knowledge and research -  Local government knowledge and exchange of good practice to help address key issues and challenges facing local government in the Pacific,

Funding leadership opportunities for women (FLOW) Pacific programme (2012-2015)

The Pacific FLOW Program was a four year initiative funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA). FLOW aimed to increase women’s representation in civil and political leadership across three Pacific Island countries (Fiji, Solomon Islands and Bougainville, Papua New Guinea) in order to drive gender equality. CLGF Pacific was one of several partners in the region working together to implement the program which was focused on four main outcomes:

1.    Increasing women's civil society engagement and representation,
2.    Mobilising young women to participate in decision-making,
3.    Increasing gender equality commitments at the local government level, and
4.    Increasing voter willingness and community support for women in leadership positions

CLGF Good Practice Scheme: Papua New Guinea (2000-2011)

The Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme was initially introduced in the Pacific in 2000 predominantly focusing on Papua New Guinea. The scheme utilizes the successful mechanisms of council to council, peer to peer, technical support and on-the-job training to help build local capacity and skills. The scheme operated in two successful phases and supported capacity building in Urban Local Level Governments in PNG with particular emphasis on their role in meeting the (then) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
There were seven formal partnerships between PNG and Australian local governments all focused on improving capacity to deliver key services: for example Orange City Council has supported Mt Hagen to consult the community and to develop a new city plan; whilst Alotau is now considered to be the cleanest town in PNG as a result of support from Sunshine Coast on waste management. 
The scheme demonstrated the effectiveness of this practical approach in responding to the specific and unique requirements of individual Councils that other approaches were not able to provide.

Honiara City Council Capacity Building Project (2004 – 2011)

CLGF Pacific has been working closely with the Honiara City Council (HCC) in the Solomon Islands since 2004 to improve the governance and basic service delivery capacity of the council to support sustainable urban development and the maintenance of peace and stability following the tensions of 1999-2003. The HCC Capacity Building Project received substantial funding support from the New Zealand Aid Programme and completed its final phase in 2011.
Aiming to ensure the greatest impact, the Project had supported a mix of approaches to affect the needed capacity development - direct support for in-line senior staff appointments, financial assistance for materials and equipment to enhance service delivery, technical staff exchanges with New Zealand and Australian councils, and direct technical assistance for specific assignments. The Project demonstrated the efffectiveness of a whole of institution approach coupled with significant appropriate financial and human resources and a sustainable exit strategy.

CLGF Pacific local government capacity-building project (2005-2010)

Building on the work carried out since the project was initiated in late 2004, CLGF and the Commonwealth Secretariat, with the Government of Fiji, co-sponsored a Regional Symposium on Local Governance in the Pacific held in Suva. This event, the first of its type in the region focusing exclusively on local government, was attended by over ninety representatives from 14 Pacific Island countries and development partners.
Emerging from the symposium and its 14 recommendations, was a scaled-up five-year regional local government capacity building project to improve a quality of life for communities in the Pacific region through strengthened local democracy and good governance.

The specific aims of the project were:

  • Strengthened regional networks and cooperation between local government practitioners.
  • Enhanced training and capacity building opportunities for local government.
  • Institutional strengthening programmes and activities that demonstrate fundamental values such as a human rights based approach and mainstreaming of the tenets of good urban governance.
  • Regional exchange of policy and good practice, and technical cooperation.

The project was made up of over 100 separate activities during its four year phase which included annual workplans to meet these objectives. Activities included: research, professional development, civic awareness, intergovernmental/civil society dialogues, gender and human rights in local governance, legislation review, local elected leadership development, financial management, strategic planning and exchange programmes.
This project was implemented by CLGF and its partners with funding and other support from New Zealand Agency for International Development (NZAID) (now known as MFAT), Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) (now known as DFAT), UN Agencies, Commonwealth Secretariat and regional partners in including the University of the South Pacific (Pacific Institute of Advanced Studies in Development and Governance), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, Local Government New Zealand, Australian Local Government Association and others.  

The Project Phase ended in 2010 followed by a Regional Symposium held in Port Vila Vanuatu. Outcomes, achievements and future plans can be found in the Port Vila Declaration.



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