Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Conference 2015 enews

June 12, 2015

Conference enews

Vision for local government for the next 15 years

For local government to play its full role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, it needs to be empowered, capacities need to be reinforced, governance strengthened and citizens should be more engaged in the democratic process, according to delegates who participated in the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference. Delegates called on CLGF to develop a 15 year strategy for local government focusing on supporting its members in developing and implementing modalities to localise the SDGs.
In the conference statement, The Gaborone Declaration – Local government vision 2030, delegates highlighted the impact of rapid urbanisation on local governance, planning, service delivery, infrastructure development, the growth of informal settlements, urban sprawl and the effect that these have on the quality of life of citizens, issues which will need to be addressed fully at Habitat III in 2016. It points out the growing need to strengthen linkages between local government and national planning and budgeting systems for effective localisation of the SDGs. The conference outcomes statement will be presented to Commonwealth Heads of Government for their endorsement in Malta later this year.
Some 550 delegates and dignitaries including key policy and decision makers including national, state and provincial ministers, mayors, academics and representatives of civil society and the private sector from more than 51 Commonwealth and other countries attended the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference (CLGC) in Gaborone, Botswana. Read more
Read Conference declaration

Decentralised governance critical to localisation of national development says  President Khama 
HE the President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of Botswana officially inaugurated the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference on 16 June.
His address focussed on the conference theme – Local government 2030: achieving the vision – covering issues such as the way forward for local government to be able to play its part in delivering the soon-to-be agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), urbanisation, and the localisation of resources to enable local government to deliver on the pledges. He said that local government is a fundamental pillar in people centred development. “Decentralised governance framework and empowered local governments and communities are critical to the localisation of national development. President Khama affirmed the importance of empowered developmental local government in achieving the targets set by the sustainable development goals (SDGs). He also emphasised the idea of localising resources to address local needs. Check out conference speeches and presentations.

Our vision must be ambitious says CLGF Chair Mayor Yule
Speaking at the official opening the conference, CLGF Chairperson Mayor Lawrence Yule said, “The conference comes at a critical time to raise our vision and to agree together how local government, working with central government and other partners, can actively contribute to the achievement of the agreed development targets in 2015-2030.” Addressing the theme of the conference, he described CLGF’s strong engagement in the post-2015 debate and its significant contribution to the thinking around local government’s role in the implementation of the SDGs and in developing the concept of localising the SDGs and localising resources. He said that as we approach the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, our vision must be ambitious. “It must address core issues of democracy and good governance, economic growth, employment and urbanisation.  It must deal with climate change, disaster risk management and other daunting challenges for local government. It must do all this in an inclusive manner, so that the needs all sections of society especially youth, women and the underprivileged and disadvantaged, including immigrants, are addressed” he said. Read full speech

Need for a holistic approach to urban and rural development says Prince of Wales
It is vital to create places where all types of people can live together in harmony and which respects nature,  and the planning process should be informed by local culture, knowledge and traditions, said the Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) in his video address to the opening ceremony of the conference.  Prince of Wales said that 2015 is a pivotal year for sustainable development and said that history will judge us on how we respond to the challenges of urbanisation and population growth. Our aspiration should be more than building places and structures that allow people merely to survive! He said that there must be a holistic approach to urban and rural development and when done well the integrated approach not only provides new opportunities for economic development but also regional economic viability, and improved wellbeing.  “You are meeting at a critical moment. The challenges are immense. One thing is certain, however, is that we simply cannot tackle them with the “business as usual” conventional approach to planning and development,” he added. Read full text of the video message

Look forward to continuing our strong engagement with CLGF says Rt Hon Clark
In her keynote speech to the conference, UNDP Administrator Rt Hon Helen Clark assured delegates that the SDG proposals submitted to world leaders for adoption in September will go much further than the previous MDGs, and include goals to make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.  Congratulating CLGF on its twentieth anniversary and all that it has done to promote and support local government in Commonwealth countries; she told the conference that “UNDP values its relationship with the Forum”.  Acknowledging that local government could help drive countries’ success in achieving global development goals on tackling poverty, inequality and environmental degradation, she cited the last CLGF conference in Kampala which called on national governments and development partners to ensure that developmental local government is fully incorporated into the post-2015 development agenda. “There is a big opportunity to find common cause in building a fairer and more sustainable world. The contribution of local government will be central” she added. Read UNDP Administrator’s speech.

New impetus for the Commonwealth
Deliveri ng the keynote address on the Commonwealth - Adding global on 19 June, Dr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta and Incoming Commonwealth Chairperson-in-office told delegates that 2015 will be the second time that Malta has hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and that the government of Malta was preparing for the event with ambition and enthusiasm, not least because the future of the Commonwealth will feature in the discussions. “We want CHOGM 2015 to be an efficient meeting that delivers results – and a watershed event that will give new impetus and new energy to the Commonwealth family,” he said. He highlighted the CHOGM theme of ‘Adding global value’ which he said was an invitation for Commonwealth partners to come together and speak with one greater voice on the international stage.
In addition to CHOGM, Dr Muscat pointed out that 2015 is a highly ambitious year on the international political agenda, with the UN meeting for global leaders to discuss the progress at the end of the MDGs and to commit to the new SDGs. He said that while national commitments were needed for the new targets, lessons learned from the MDGs show that local authorities have an important role in the implementation and measuring of progress. Read Hon Dr Muscat's keynote address.

Other key speakers included His Honour Vice President Mokgweetsi Eric K Masisi; Botswana Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon Slumber Tsogwane; BALA President Cllr Rev Mpho Moruakgomo; Hon Dr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta; Hon Teima Onorio, Vice President of Kiribati; Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Deputy Executive Director UN-Habitat, Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira; Dr Josepine Ojiambo, Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General; Executive Director of Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Mr Abdoulie Janneh and CLGF Secretary-General Dr Carl Wright. Speeches and presentations


CLGF celebrated it's 20th anniversary at the Commonwealth Local Government Conference in Botswana. CLGF Secretary-General's presentation on CLGF's achievements in the last 20 years.

Patrons join CLGF in celebrating its 20th anniversary

" The respect and recognition that CLGF is getting from people around the Commonwealth is a testimony of its outstanding contribution and service to its members: a service that has been delivered with great commitment and dedication by CLGF staff who have been tasked to do the work." Hon Enele Sosene Sopogoa, Prime Minister of Tuvalu.
Read PM's message to the conference.

" CLGF now occupies a prominent position in the family of Commonwealth organisations and I hope that both during and beyond the forthcoming Malta CHOGM meeting CLGF’s formal role and status will be further acknowledged and strengthened by Heads of Government so that the Commonwealth is truly a joined-up organisation with all levels of government, including local governments, working together in the service of our communities".
HE Yoweri K Museveni, President of Uganda
Read President's message to the conference.

We hope CLGF will move from strength to strength in supporting all countries across the
Commonwealth in local governance and local democracy
HE John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana

Background paper highlights need for a clear role for local government in implementing the SDGs

CLGF’s Deputy Secretary-General Lucy Slack presented the Conference Background paper to delegates on 16 June and described some of the key themes emerging from the paper that will help define the vision for local government 2030. She said “The Background paper is made up a series of three thinkpieces designed to reflect on case studies from the across the Commonwealth. It aims to challenge the audience to look at the future capacity and priorities of local government to enable them to play their role effectively to 2030”.

Working group sessions
Delegates participated in a variety of working group sessions  discuss a range of topics including inclusive, safe and resilient cities; supporting democracy and good governance; the role of  LED in achieving the SDGs and a lot more. These sessions enabled delegates to exchange ideas and experiences and agree on core recommendations which were reflected in the Conference statement. Check out the conference website to find out more.

Tweet @CLGF_News #clgc2015
Follow us on Twitter @CLGF_News and tell us what you thought about the conference using #clgc2015.

Conference partners
CLGF would like to thank  its corporate partners including Gold partner Barclays Africa, Technology partner Microsoft and other local Botswana partners for supporting the conference.

CLGC2015 Expo
Look at the list of conference exhibitors on the conference website here.

Local government in action in Gaborone

Conference delegates went on a number of local study visits on the 19 June that showcased projects demonstrating local government at work in Botswana in fostering local economic development and alleviating poverty. One of the groups visited the Gaborone pottery and waste recycling project for business development. They saw a local recycling workshop in action that turns old containers to attractive accessories for the bedroom and study, transforms discarded polystyrene it into a slow cooker a lot more. The project, which has received a grant from the Presidential fund is not only helping in job creation but is also facilitating recycling training in schools and other companies operating in the neighbourhood. Read more about conference study visits.

CLGF Advocates Network launched
CLGF launched an Advocates Network at the conference in Gaborone. This new network will help mobilise former board members and other local leaders associated with CLGF in the past to provide further support for future activities, and to help advocate and promote policy positions. CLGF Deputy Secretary General Lucy Slack said: “This group of people represents an enormous wealth of expertise and influence, and we look forward to utilising this new network to the greatest effect”.

General Meeting elects new CLGF Board
The CLGF General Meeting of members took place on Friday 19 June, following the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference. Members elected the new CLGF Board members for 2015-17 and heard a report on CLGF’s achievements and activities from CLGF Secretary-General Carl Wright.

CLGF research colloquium 2015
Over 30 academics and practitioners from 11 countries across the Commonwealth came together to participate the CLGF’s biennial Research Colloquium on 15-16 June at the University of Botswana and presented their research under the theme 'Local government successes and challenges - lessons for the future'. Find out more

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