Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Connecting the development community

19 March 2019

Partnership working between key organisations involved in development work and the EU got a real boost at the 7th Global Meeting of the EU’s Policy Forum for development (PFD) held in Brussels in March. 


Introducing new members


More than 90 representatives of civil society organisations (CSOs), local authorities (LAs), professional and business associations, EU Member States and EU institutions gathered to discuss the most challenging EU development policies. In the lead up to this PFD, the forum’s charter was modified to include an additional set of members in order to embrace all organisations with a Framework Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the EU. The result is a fusion of the PFD with the former Partnerships Forum introducing a host of new members to this important dialogue. 


Local authority funding at country level


The 7th edition of the forum looked critically at how the FPAs can continue to strengthen the partnerships needed to actively implement the Agenda 2030; what this means for work at the EU level, country level and in linking into new mechanisms such as the EU External Investment Plan (EIP). Beyond the global focus on SDGs and Agenda 2030 the forum also discussed key element of local inputs such as successful partnership; innovative financing; and reflecting local realities in voluntary national reporting (VNR). On the final day a session on the new Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) and Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) allowed local government to strongly voice its concern about the elimination of the targeted funding line for local authorities at country level. 


CLGF Secretary-General Dr Greg Munro said: “I have found this event both interesting and productive and, with the inclusion of the new members to bring in all the FPAs, the PFD is more inclusive than ever. I look forward to continuing to work with members of the PFD and, also, to exploring new mechanisms for high level policy dialogue between local authorities and EU counterparts.” 


Conclusions about future development


The forum came to a number of conclusions about future development work, some of which are described below:


• Climate change is the biggest threat to development; an inclusive, multi-stakeholder dialogue approach is vital, as is the need to have a clear understanding and commitment to what sustainability means.

• Inequality is a major challenge and efforts must be made to involve people living in poverty or marginalised groups, in development activities.

• An enabling environment is vital. Although a one-size-fits-all approach is not possible, a rights-based approach to cooperation should be established without interference by legal, political or financial constraints. 

• ‘Ways of working’ need to shift from donor-centric to a model of mutual, collaborative interests, with a focus on how development can transform societies through local action.

• Urbanisation requires local authorities, civil society, the private and international sector to work jointly with national governments. 


More information about the Policy Forum on Development can be found here.


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