The 37th Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) board meeting kicked off in Kigali on Wednesday with member states discussing gender networking in governance, using the Rwandan example.
The meeting, which follows one in Malta in 2017, was officially opened by Minister of Local Government, Francis Kaboneka and attended by over 48 Commonwealth member state representatives from across the globe.
Dr. Greg Munro, the Secretary General of CLGF said that the meeting will adopt a CLGF’s Gender Strategy; and capacity building and research programmes with examples and lessons from Rwanda.
“Rwandans are leading with gold medals in bridging the gender divide, and in this meeting we want other members to implement the same and make a commitment at the political level,” Munro said during a press briefing.
While the subject of gender equality remains a debate, Rwanda has managed to implement a policy of 30% representation in leadership role, but this target has of recent been exceeded in parliamentary representation.
Women will occupy over 60% seats in the 4th parliament.
For Munro, the first step for CLGF members, has to be the will of the leadership and then implementation at policy level.
“Some countries like South Africa and Madagascar have managed to implement gender policy at about 30%, but we want all member states to do likewise so that we see the role of women in local government,” Munro added.
Minister Kaboneka said that the values of CLGF resonate with the government vision and leaders and committed to support the outcomes of the meeting.
“Rwanda is ready and willing to implement the proposed new innovative strategies that may complement our own efforts in promoting gender equality and empowerment at all levels and in all sectors,” Kaboneka said.
The board meeting will continue behind closed doors but on Wednesday 19 September the board will under the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network (CSCN) agenda be dedicated to discussions on the need to make cities a better place to live and work from.
Outcomes of the 37th CLGF will be forwarded to the Commonwealth Secretariat for further discussion ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2020 (CHOGM) to be held in Kigali city.
This year’s event came to Rwanda after Rwandans demonstrated a strong commitment to SDG5 – gender equality; and SDG11 – sustainable and inclusive cities.