Commonwealth Local Government Forum

West and Central Africa \ Women in local government

Gender equity is a priority for CLGF members and the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is working towards gender equity and has set a target of a minimum of 30 per cent of women in public life – both in elected leadership positions and administration – including at the local level. A key focus is developing strategies to increase women's participation in decision making.

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Decentralisation as a post-conflict state-building strategy in Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Rwanda

This paper explores decentralisation’s contribution to post-conflict state building in four Commonwealth countries: UK (Northern Ireland), Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Rwanda. Drawing on insights from senior local government officials, it explores post-conflict institutional arrangements and finds that decentralisation policy has made a significant, if varied, contribution to community cohesion, reconciliation and state legitimacy in each country. In Northern Ireland and to a lesser extent Sri Lanka, quasi-federal structures have enabled peace negotiations through greater autonomy and state legitimacy in the eyes of former separatists. This has however limited further devolution to sub-provincial local councils. In Sierra Leone and Rwanda, decentralisation has had a more developmental rationale. Greater equity in basic local service provision and more inclusive local governance has supported community cohesion and reconciliation in all four countries, though there are capacity gaps and coordination issues with central government agencies. There is evidence decentralisation has contributed to peace in all four countries although in Rwanda the restriction on pluralism has limited local government flexibility to address community needs. The case studies offer key lessons and signpost continuing challenges, which may help other governments to consider what features of decentralisation may work best for their post-conflict political settlement and the sociocultural dynamics of the communities they serve.

Author: Gareth Wall Publisher: Third World Quarterly Publication year: 2016


A Human Rights Approach to Localising The MDGs Through Gender-Equitable Local Development

Until now, the United Nations Capital Development Fund’s (UNCDF) Gender Equitable Local Development (GELD) programme has not been presented within an explicit human rights framework. This is strange given that the human rights based approach to development (HRBAD) aims to ensure that all human beings can live their lives fully and with dignity. HRBAD is fundamentally about the healthy and full development of individuals and communities. In addition, one of human rights’ central concerns is that people have equal access to the benefits of society. Initiatives to realize human rights therefore give priority to the most marginalized - the poorest - in a society. It is those individuals who have most difficulty in securing the basics that are essential to living their lives with dignity. Women in all communities are disproportionately represented among the poor. Thus, human rights have gender equity as a central focus. Put another way, we are dealing with the feminization of poverty. We are dealing with the concept of equal access (to development). In short, we are dealing with those who need (and deserve) greater priority in access to infrastructure and supporting services in order to reach a point of equality.

Author: Ron McGill Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance Publication year: 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


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