Rwanda hosts paired major Commonwealth local government summits

From 17 to 19 September 2018, Kigali provides the setting for the Commonwealth Local Government Forum’s (CLGF) 37th Board meeting and the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network (CSCN).

Both events are being hosted by the Rwanda Association of Local Government Authorities (RALGA) and have been organised in collaboration with the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government (MINALOC) and RALGA.

As well as local attendees, the two meetings will attract 48 international participants from Commonwealth countries, including ministers, chairpersons of local government associations, mayors, academics and civil society organisations.

The Rwandan Minister of Local Government, Honorable Kaboneka Francis, who is also the CLGF Board member, shall address the meeting opening session as keynote speaker.

In addition to covering internal and administrative business, CLGF’s 37th Board meeting (Monday 17 and Tuesday 18) will include an exchange by Board members on the Commonwealth Women in Local Government Network (ComWLG); the adoption of CLGF’s Gender Strategy; and capacity building and research programmes.

The programme includes a visit to both the Kigali Genocide Memorial at Gisozi and the Campaign against Genocide Museum located at the Parliament of Rwanda in the afternoon of Tuesday 18.

The third day on Wednesday 19 September will be dedicated to the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network (CSCN) meeting.

CSCN will build on the discussions of previous Network meetings and the CSCN Steering Group meeting held in 2017, together with the Commonwealth Local Government Conference held in Valetta, Malta, in November 2017 entitled Fit for the future: resources and capacity for effective local government.

With an overall theme of Inclusive Urban Economies, discussions will focus on four areas: 1) inclusive economic development and the challenges for secondary cities; 2) inclusive cities: economic empowerment of women and other marginalised groups; 3) cities and trade: the role of devolution in empowering cities; and 4) innovative and accountable finance for inclusive economic development.

The Commonwealth recognises that city governments have a central role to play in enabling economic growth through improved services and investment in infrastructure, but also in convening local stakeholders, civil society and private sector to deliver local economic development and ensuring no-one is left behind. The meeting will provide an opportunity for Rwanda to share its work to strengthen secondary cities; to  learn from counterparts from across the Commonwealth and to contribute to the future direction of the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network to strengthen city to city cooperation and learning in the Commonwealth.

CLGF is a membership organisation providing a collective voice for local government across the Commonwealth to strengthen local democracy and service delivery; facilitate knowledge and best practice sharing; and working towards the 2030 Agenda.

Established in June 2015, the Commonwealth Sustainable Cities Network held its inaugural meeting in Singapore in October 2015 where it adopted the Singapore Statement on Commonwealth Cities for implementing the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

The Singapore Statement acknowledges the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its recognition of the role of cities, especially Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 to ‘make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’, as well as SDG 16 on ‘effective accountable institutions’, and other SDGs, relating to economic growth and employment: infrastructure and climate change.

Rwanda was selected to host these two important events in recognition of its leadership and commitment to the Commonwealth ideals, in particular the country’s good governance, security, track record of ease in doing business and the secondary cities program. Rwanda has demonstrated a strong commitment to SDG5 – gender equality; and SDG11 – sustainable and inclusive cities. RALGA is a strategic partner of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum.

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