The Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) seeks to promote and strengthen effective democratic local governments in the Commonwealth and serves to facilitate the exchange of good practices in local government structures and services.
CLGF is composed of central, provincial, and local government representatives involved in local government policy and decision-making including local government associations, individual local authorities, and ministries dealing with local government. It has more than 160 members in 40 Commonwealth countries.
CLGF conducts local government capacity-building projects and programs in member countries. The CLGF’s Good Practice Scheme is designed to improve the delivery of local authority services through the spread of good practices. The program matches UK councils with overseas partners and supports both parties through identifying projects that will be mutually beneficial and developing a project plan as well as providing funding. A Good Practice Scheme project is currently being proposed for Sierra Leone.
The CLGF’s Pacific Project works with national and local governments as well as other stakeholders in the region to strengthen local democracy and improve service delivery. The Project is currently working in eight Pacific Island countries with central governments and city and town councils. The Project seeks to support local government management in the unique and complex Pacific environment, specifically regarding rapid urbanization in the region which brings specific challenges and opportunities. Additionally, in 2011, CLGF launched the Pacific Local Government Strengthening Program, scheduled to run until 2015 and designed to deepen the already existing Pacific Project.
In May 2013, the CLGF held the Commonwealth Local Government Conference, entitled “Developmental local government: Putting local government at the heart of development,” in Kampala, Uganda. About 600 delegates from more than 40 Commonwealth and non-Commonwealth countries were in attendance. The conference discussed how a decentralized approach can more effectively ground development where it is most needed in villages, towns, and cities, while still reflecting national development strategies for growth. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda opened the meeting and Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the keynote address. Additional guest speakers included President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Helen Clark, Administrator of the UNDP.
In the Kampala declaration on developmental local government, the outcome of the conference, representatives called on national governments and development partners to ensure that developmental local government is fully integrated into the post-2015 development agenda. They also requested that local government be properly acknowledged as a global partner at the 2013 UN General Assembly. CLGF and its members proposed for 2014 to be the year for developmental local government. The delegates also requested that CLGF develop a plan of action to promote developmental local government and a new development agenda, working with other development agencies including the Commonwealth Secretariat and UNDP.