Commonwealth Local Government Forum

CLGF at CHOGM 2022: prioritising sustainable urbanisation

19 June 2022


As heads of state from around the Commonwealth come together in Rwanda for the first, in person meeting since the start of the pandemic, we are poised to present the Call to Action on Sustainable Development at a special event. The aim is to use the prestigious Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to ensure that sustainable urbanisation is placed at the top of the agenda for both policy and action, with partnership at the forefront.

Triple threat

With 70% of global carbon emissions attributable to cities and Commonwealth countries forecast to account for nearly 50% of the growth in cities to 2050, urbanisation is a defining issue for Commonwealth leaders. Member states, both large and small, are already facing the impacts of climate change and rapid urbanisation, while the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these impacts, resulting in one of the worst global health and economic shocks of recent times.


Responding to these challenges CLGF, working with Commonwealth partners including the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects and the Commonwealth Association of Planners, in collaboration with the Government of Rwanda and The Prince’s Foundation, came together to issue a Call to Action for Sustainable Urbanisation, to advance policies and actions. CLGF, working with these same partners is holding an Official Side event at CHOGM on Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 June.


The first day will be opened by CLGF Secretary-General, Ms Lucy Slack, together with Hon Dr Ernest Nsabimana, Minister, Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure, with contributions from Mr Richard Grubb, Head of UN, Commonwealth and Strategic Partnerships and Ms Eleanor Mohamed, President of the Commonwealth Association of Planners. This will be followed by four sessions:


  1. Leaving no-one behind – ensuring informal settlements are factored in by looking at responsive and inclusive planning, provision of basic services, affordable housing and the importance of multi-level action.
  1. Accelerating climate action – delivering development that achieves climate objectives while creating communities which are safe and resilient.
  1. Closing the gaps: data, evidence & policy – how Commonwealth partners can work together to collect data, share good practice, use new technology, and develop scalable solutions to better support city leadership and the role of universities and other partners.
  1. Addressing the capacity gap – increasing understanding about what this means, enabling policy and legislation, institutional and professional development, strengthening career opportunities, training and skills development.


The second day, after an introduction from Hon Dr Ernest Nsabimana, Minister, Rwanda Ministry of Infrastructure and Ms Eleanor Mohamed, President, CAP will focus on two areas:


  1. Empowering cities to deliver – focusing on the need on the need for multi-level and multi-sectoral cooperation to achieve sustainable urbanisation.
  1. Cities as centres of economic growth (securing long term finance) – looking at the importance of economic development and opportunities in cities, together with strategies to ensure more sustainable and long-term access to resources for inclusive urban development.

High level and expert speakers

Both days are filled with speakers who are stakeholders, experts and senior level decision makers. As well as representatives from the organising bodies, they include: UN officials such as HE Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN Habitat; local government mayors Mr Bernard Wagner, Mayor, Belize City Council, Belize and Ms Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, Mayor, Freetown City Council, Sierra Leone; government ministers such as Hon Thembi Nkadimeng, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs, South Africa.


Young people are our future

Recognising the importance of young people in the Commonwealth, with 60% of the current population aged 30 and under, a Youth chapter to the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network (CSCN) - the Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation network - was created and is being officially launched during CHOGM, ensuring the voices of young people throughout the Commonwealth are factored into decision and planning. The Steering Group comprises young professional from a number of dicisplines, sharing their views and expertise to guide the future of planning for kind of cities we want for the future.


A full listing of the programme and speakers can be found as follows:

Day 1, 21 June 2022

Day 2, 22 June 2022


CLGF at the Women's and Business Forums

CLGF Chair Person, Rev Mpho MW Moruakgomo and Secretary-General Ms Lucy Slack are ensuring local government is well represented at CHOGM, with several of our members participating and speaking. As well as  the major two day event specifically looking at rapid urbanisation and sustainable development, CLGF is one of the organisers of the Women's Forum and an active participant in the Commonwealth Business Forum, organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council on behalf of the Rwanda Development Board.


Look out for more information on this important event in the calendar of the Commonwealth local government family.







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