The 10th Commonwealth Local Government Conference (CLGC2023) has opened in Kigali bringing together all 56 Commonwealth (CW) countries to discuss the community’s resilience in democracy, attaining Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 4-day conference, themed “Building Local Resilience across the Commonwealth” which opened this November 14, 2023, is being delivered by the CGLF in partnership with the Government of Rwanda Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) and the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities(RALGA).
Rwanda’s Prime Minister (PM), Dr. Édouard Ngirente who officially opened the conference said that Rwanda is very pleased to host this timely conference that follows the successful 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which took place here in Kigali in June last year.
PM Ngirente said that the conference is timely and challenged the CW to work together and overcome the current challenges including the effects of Covid-19 pandemic, global economic crisis and environmental shocks.
Ngirente said that the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and conflicts have challenged the resilience of the Governments.
For instance, some reports indicate that the Commonwealth’s member countries suffered a collective loss of $1.15 trillion to their GDP in 2020 compared with the pre-pandemic estimates.
Likewise, in 2019, climate change-related disasters caused direct economic losses of $70.4 billion in 53 countries, with 60% of the losses recorded in the agricultural sector.
On top of that, it is estimated that climate change’s negative effects could push 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030.
Using these figures, Ngirente said: “This conference is therefore a good opportunity for us to reflect on how to strengthen resilience for local government and explore innovative ways to address these challenges.”
Ngirente used the opportunity to showcase what Rwanda has done in the process.
For instance, Rwanda has made significant progress in building resilience in local government; rebuilt a stable, united, and prosperous nation; putting strategic priorities on citizen-centered governance, quality service delivery, and enforcing the principles of inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability among others.
Ngirente also noted that promoting homegrown solutions as well as sectoral decentralization have been the drivers in building strong and self-reliant local governments entities that contribute to national development.
The CLGF Board Chairman Reverend (Rev) Mpho M.W Moruakgomo said that the conference will work on a document that will accelerate the achievement of the agenda 2063.
“We want to have a legacy of action and delivery and being in Rwanda which is known for delivering, we are sure we will deliver,” Moruakgomo said.
Rwanda Minister of Local Government, Jean Claude Musabyimana said that Rwanda has benefited from the forum in various ways and the coming of the conference to Kigali reaffirms Rwanda’s commitment to the CW family.
Using a virtual link video, the CW Secretary General, Patricia Scotland called for the need to deliver the SDGs as most of the cities will be a place for the largest population in the next decades, thus a need for cities to remain resilient through green growth and building smart cities to improve the lives of the world,
“It underscores that action to ….and in sharing the lessons through the CGLF we share lessons to other countries,”
The Commonwealth Local Government Conference (CLGC2023) is a key event in the international local government calendar, normally held every two years.
The CGLF works to promote and strengthen effective democratic local government throughout the Commonwealth and facilitate the exchange of good practice in local government structures and services.
A membership organization spanning 47 countries and 130 members, CLGF, also acknowledged as the voice of local government in the Commonwealth, was set up as an autonomous organization in 1995, endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in New Zealand later that year.