CLGF has just concluded a highly successful annual Board meeting and associated events, in Abuja, hosted by our Nigerian Board member, Hon Alhaji Kabiru Tanimu Turaki, federal Minister of Special Duties and Intergovernmental Affairs.
This was our first Board meeting to be held in West Africa and means that the CLGF Board has now met in all regions of the Commonwealth, not only throughout Africa, but also in Asia, in the Pacific, in the Caribbean, in Canada and in Europe. The main meeting was well attended by Board members from around the world, including senior mayors, ministers and our Pacific Board member, HE the Vice President of Kiribati.
Alongside this, we held two other important events: a west African meeting which coincided with the imminent opening of our new CLGF regional programme office in Accra, Ghana, and an important national local government conference for Nigeria, held in cooperation with UNDP. The Board also took part in high-level UNDP-led consultations on proposals for localising the SDGs, which will feed-into the current UN process on the post-2015 development agenda.
When deciding to hold the Abuja meeting, the Board was well aware of the current insurgency facing some parts of Nigeria and the appalling and continuing abduction of young schoolgirls. Having previously pledged its solidarity with the people and Government of Nigeria in facing up to terrorist and other threats, CLGF demonstrated this support by its physical presence in the country and by close interaction with its Nigerian colleagues.
The success of the Abuja Board meeting, and the important decisions the CLGF Board was able to reach on Commonwealth, UN and other key issues, is a testimony of the importance of not being cowed by intimidations or threats, whether real or perceived. It is in the same vein that CLGF has held meetings and sent missions to other countries undergoing serious difficulties, such as Pakistan and is planning new initiatives in countries such as Kenya and South Sudan which are also currently undergoing problems.
If Commonwealth solidarity is to mean anything, it is providing practical support, for example by sharing experiences how local government, working with central government and other partners has successfully confronted and overcome terrorist and related threats. Most importantly it means working together to address post-conflict situations and promote peace-building, an area where local government, working at the grass roots and community level can make a major contribution. This too, was the lesson of our Abuja meeting.