Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Southern Africa \ 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



Local Governance Reforms in Zambia: A Review

This paper provides an overview of the efforts of successive Zambian governments to transform and institutionalise democratic local governance, and to come to grips with the socio-economic development challenges facing the country. It assesses the progress and challenges that governments are facing in their efforts to transform local government into democratic, developmental local governance.

Author: Bornwell Chikulo Publisher: university of Technology, Sydney Publication year: january 2009

Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice: Reviewing the functions and powers of local government in South Africa


The chairperson of the parliamentary Portfolio Committee on local government recently described local government in South Africa as “a chicken whose legs have been tied for too long”. In other words, even when the fetters that bind the chicken’s legs are loosed, it remains at a loss for what to do with its newfound freedom (Tsenoli 2007). This descriptive analogy ostensibly refers to the failure of local government to harness its newfound power in post-apartheid South Africa and to claim its rightful position as the driver of development at the local level, and instigator of bottom-up growth and progress, which is meant to shape and transform society in the new South Africa.

Author: Annette Christmas, Jaap de Visser Publisher: university of Technology, Sydney Publication year: january 2009

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

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

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