Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Asia \ Local government in small states

SSmall states are defined as countries with less than 1.5 million inhabitants (including small island states and small island developing states - SIDS). Small states make up more than half of the 53 Commonwealth member countries. They face a particular set of challenges including governance, managing vulnerability and remoteness, dealing with limited economic opportunities, and dealing with the impact of climate change

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Implementing the Aberdeen Agenda in South Asia: A regional training program for elected members

In 2005 CLGF members adopted the Aberdeen Agenda: Commonwealth Principles on Good Practice for Local Democracy and Good Governance. The twelve Principles were developed at the CLGF’s biennial conference in March 2005 and were subsequently forwarded to Commonwealth Heads of Government, who also adopted them as part of their commitment to fundamental political values when they met the following November. Since then members of CLGF have used them in a variety of different ways – to support their own policy making, to enhance their lobbying and advocacy work, and in some cases, notably in Pakistan and Uganda (see CJLG Issue 2), to undertake a selfassessment of the health of their systems of local democracy and governance.

Author: Lucy Slack Publisher: University of Technology, Sydney Publication year: may 2009


The Commonwealth Local Government Forum: An Overview

The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) was established in 1994, coinciding with rapid moves towards decentralisation at that time, especially in Commonwealth Africa. It uniquely brings together national associations of local government and individual councils, ministries responsible for local government, and training and research institutes with an interest in local government, on a common platform. This reflects an understanding that local government needs effective central government and vice versa if decentralisation is to be truly successful, and that research, training and practice need to be brought together in a constructive and creative way. CLGF’s developmental work can be divided into three main categories: Promotion and advocacy of local democracy and good governance, Exchange of experience and Capacity building.This article provides a brief overview of the activities and projects which CLGF has underway in respect of these objectives. It will be complemented by more detailed papers on specific programmes and projects in this and future issues of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance.

Author: Lucy Slack Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 2008


Foundations for Local Governance: Decentralization in Comparative Perspective

Various forms of decentralization are recently pursued in the world, including developing countries. However, there has not been a coherent framework to access these intended outcomes generated by decentralization measures implemented in Asian and African countries. This book provides such a framework based on comparative analyses of different experiences of decentralization measures in six developing countries, where the policy rationale to “bring services closer to people” originated in different socio-political backgrounds. Although decentralization measures are potentially useful for attaining both political democratization and economic efficiency, what is often packaged under the umbrella of “decentralization” needs to be disaggregated analytically. Successful reforms need coherent approaches in which a range of stakeholders would become willing to share responsibilities and resources in order to achieve the ultimate outcome of poverty reduction in the developing countries.

Author: Fumihiko Saito Publisher: Springer Publication year: 2008


New Aid Modalities and Local Government: Are they supporting or hindering processes of decentralization?

This commentary reviews contemporary changes in aid modalities and their impact on processes of decentralization. The main change in aid delivery and disbursement considered is towards a greater emphasis on general budget support (GBS) and sector wide approaches (SWAPs). This includes considering the broad questions of firstly, the impact of emphasising GBS on local government and governance systems, and secondly, the extent to which processes of decentralization can fit in with this new approach.

Author: Philip Amis Publisher: University of Technology, Sydney Publication year: 2008


Decentralisation or Recentralisation? Trends in local government in Malaysia

Local government in Malaysia occupies the third and lowest level after federal and state governments. Under the Malaysian federal constitution (paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Ninth Schedule), local government is the responsibility of the states, but the federal government also exercises considerable power and influence over local government, especially in peninsular Malaysia. The dynamic of the Malaysian federal system is such that it has shifted the balance of power to the centre.Local government accounts for only 1% of GDP. There are 144 local authorities divided into cities (major administrative and commercial centres), municipalities (other urban areas), and districts (chiefly rural areas). Executive powers rest with the Mayor (cities) or President, supported and/or overseen by a system of committees. Currently, local councils in Malaysia are not elected: councillors are appointed by the state government for 3-year terms (with the option of re-appointment) and in most cases come from the ruling coalition.

Author: Siew Nooi Phang Publisher: University of Technology, Sydney Publication year: 2008


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