Local government building back better in the Caribbean
17 May 2022
Local government is getting a boost in the Caribbean with an important event taking place from 17 to 19 May in Bridgetown, Barbados entitled - Building back bettet: local government delivering development in the Caribbean.
A Joint three-day regional conference of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) and the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) with the support of the European Union. The meeting will focus on three main areas:
- Women in local government and future priorities for the Commonwealth Women in Local Government Network;
- COVID recovery and building local resilience in the region; and
- The importance of good financial management – and feeding back the results of an exciting collaborative project between CLGF and CDB.
The first day kicks off with a session on women: Beyond the numbers - local action for women's political and economic empowerment. The facilitator for the panel is CLGF's Network Officer, Janine Xavier-Cross, who manages ComWLG - the Commonwealth Women in Local Government Network, and also the CSCN - the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network, and is the contact point for both.
Sense of movement
With the success of ComWLG, evidenced by so many incountry chapters springing up around the Commonwealth, and a real sense of movement among women to engage with local government, the session will attempt to bring to life the enthusiasm and commitment to increase the number of women politicians with personal stories and examples of how progress is being made. She is joined by Nyasha Simbanagavi, CLGF’s Regional Manager for Southern Africa; Nikki Augustine, a councillor representing Belmopan City Council and Belize Mayors' Association; Glenroy Toussaint, Local Government Commissioner for Dominica; and Dawnette Foster, a councillor from Westmoreland Municipal Corportation and the Association of Local Government Authorities.
Digitalisation is important in all aspects of our lives and in the service delivery of local government. The next key session looks at: Embracing the digital transformation: Innovation and technology – tools for supporting women’s engagement. CLGF’s Programme Manager, Claire Frost will lead a discussion with Tosha Schwapp, Vice President of the ALAJ, Jamaica; Anuya Kuwar, CLGF Programme Officer for the Asia Region and Bhim Raskar, Director, Resource and Support Centre for Development, India) Tonni Ann Brodber, Representative of the UN Women Multi-Country Office- Caribbean, UN Women, (Barbados).
Attracting and retaining
CLGF Secretary-General, Lucy Slack, will lead the final session entitled: Strategies for transforming the women’s movement in local government: attracting and retaining high quality women in local government; embracing opportunities for youth engagement and fostering men as advocates. The speakers in this panel will reinforce the need to work inclusively to achieve gender parity, with men and boys and with women and girls. It also speaks to the need to continue supporting women beyond winning elections, or gaining a senior position. Again, this panel will consist of high level speakers who not only represent relevant areas, but have first-hand knowledge of the issues: Geraldine Lendor-Gabriel, Mayor, Castries Constituency Council, St. Lucia; Gifford Marshall, Mayor, Bartica Town Council, Guyana; Abena Hartley, Councillor, Trinidad, and Tobago Association of Local Government Authorities, Mandisa Mthimkhulu, HR Practitioner and Local Government Representative on Commonwealth Youth for Sustainable Urbanisation Network, Eswatini and Gender Specialist, Jessica Harris, from the Caribbean Development Bank, Barbados.
CLGF Secretary-General, Lucy Slack said: "We are so pleased to be holding such an important meeting, in person, in the Caribbean. The pandemic put a halt to many things, but not the work on political and economic empowerment of women. The same with LED, which is even more important in the context of COVID recovery. I am looking forward very much to the next few days and grateful to all our knowledgeable and eminent speakers."
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