Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Happy New Year for local government

30 January 2023

We begin 2023, a year when we will continue to build on the successes of previous years and tackle the challenges faced by local government with innovation, tenacity and the abundant talent throughout the Commonwealth.


Much has been done to support communities to recover from the COVID19 pandemic; deal with natural disasters and the impact of climate change; and tackle the economic and cost of living crisis; and this work will continue throughout the Commonwealth.


A quick run through the key achievements of last year that provide a strong foundation for future programmes and advocacy. :

Annual achievements

  • In January the team was still working primarily from home and preparing for the launch of our Health Cities Healthy People initiative; 

  • February saw our first in-person event since lockdown - an East African Regional meeting in Tanzania which focused on local government’s role in the regional integration process and resulted in an MOU being signed between the East African Local Government Association, a key CLGF partner, and the EAC recognising local government’s role in integration;
  • In March CLGF celebrated Commonwealth Day and International Women’s day with a range of events highlighting CLGF’s work to support women in leadership;
  • April was an opportunity to profile and share the lessons of CLGF’s successful EU-funded programme on decentralisation and local economic development in Zambia to a broad cross section of domestic stakeholders and international partners;
  • May was a month of engaging with members, with regional meetings in Southern Africa, the Caribbean, and the second African School on Decentralisation, which also included a meeting of the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network;
  • In June CLGF highlighted the importance of sustainable urbanisation at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kigali, and secured recognition of the need for a stronger focus on rapid urbanisation in the CHOGM Communique and the Declaration on Sustainable Urbanisation;
  • July ensured that CLGF was able to demonstrate the role of members in achieving the SDGs, with a focus on SDG5, at the High Level Political Forum in New York;
  • in August CLGF profiled the learning from its work in Zimbabwe to promote sustainable financial management and local ward level planning with local stakeholders international agencies, and EU Ambassadors;
  • in September CLGF, represented by Board Member Cllr Uwimana, signed a Framework Partnership Agreement with the EU;
  • In October CLGF took part in the EU TALD seminar for Southern Africa as part of the delivery of the FPA to agree ways of ensuring local government associations can engage effectively with the EU Delegations; i
  • In November CLGF launched a new project in Kiribati in the Pacific, in partnership with ICLEI, to support sustainable livelihoods and launched another edition of the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance; and
  • December saw the launch of CLGF’s digital tools to support women in leadership through two seminars.


CLGF sees 2023 as a year to champion local government as a key partner in development, able to respond quickly and innovatively to the needs of local communities. We will be coming together as an organisation for our long-postponed Commonwealth Local of Government Conference, electing a new Board and, of course, contributing to raising local government’s voice and needs at the second World Sustainable Development Summit.


As always, local government has an important job to do in providing effective, quality services; and a role to play in representing and guiding communities. With the targets of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the imminent consequences of climate change and urbanisation, we are confident that, as the sphere of government closest to the people, working in partnership, we are well equipped for the task. 



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