The Commonwealth Local Government Conference 2017 took place from 21-24 November 2017 in Valetta, Malta. It was hosted by the Government of Malta through the Ministry of Justice, Culture and Local Government and the Local Councils Association of Malta and organised by the Commonwealth local government Forum (CLGF).
The conference brought together around 400 local government policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders – including heads of government, ministers, mayors and council leaders, senior officials, and partners from development agencies, academia and civil society and the corporate and finance sectors. Under the theme “Fit for the future: resources and capacity for effective local government”, participants discussed innovative ways to build resources and capacity.
The conference was framed by the keynote speech of Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and UNDP Administrator. She underlined the crucial role of local governments as an indispensable partner in achieving sustainable development and stated that “without the full and active engagement of local government with the global goals, little will be achieved.” Helen Clark´s full speech can be found here.
One of the main highlights of the conference was the launch of the Commonwealth Women in Local Government network that aims at supporting more women to get involved in local government as politicians and practitioners, and to increase the influence of women in the decisions made about local priorities.
The DeLoG secretariat facilitated a working session on “Enabling local government to meet agenda 2030: inter-governmental cooperation and fiscal decentralisation”. Speakers
were Dave Cull, Mayor of Dunedin and Chair of New Zealand´s Local Government Association, Angelo Baglio from the European Commission, and two representatives from the
Ministry for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) of South Africa. They all emphasised that strong global, regional and national local government associations are required to ensure local government voice is heard and mainstreamed within government policies and programmes. The panel addressed central governments to increase fiscal decentralisation, cooperation and financial support to local authorities in order to achieve the SDGs, while, at the same time, calling for local authorities to develop diverse and innovative funding mechanism to improve local development and service delivery.
Commonwealth Local Government Conferences are held every two years in different regions of the Commonwealth. It provides the opportunity to discuss policy developments, share and learn about new ideas and innovative solutions and products to help councils and local governments improve their processes and services. The conferences provide a unique international opportunity for local government policy-makers and practitioners to meet and exchange ideas, information and good practice.