The Gaborone Declaration: local government vision 2030

Date published on source: 
23 June 2015
Source organisation: 
Commonwealth Local Government Forum

For local government to play its full role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, it needs to be empowered, capacities need to be reinforced, governance strengthened and citizens should be more engaged in the democratic process, according to delegates at the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference.  Delegates called on the Commonwealth Local Government Forum (CLGF) to develop a 15 year strategy for local government focusing on supporting its members in developing and implementing modalities to localise the SDGs.

In the conference statement, The Gaborone Declaration – Local government vision 2030, delegates also highlighted the impact of rapid urbanisation on local governance, planning, service delivery, infrastructure development, the growth of informal settlements, urban sprawl and the effect that these have on the quality of life of citizens, issues which will need to be addressed fully at Habitat III in 2016.

The Gaborone Declaration is the outcome of the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference held in Gaborone, Botswana from 16-19 June with the theme Local government 2030: achieving the vision which was opened by HE Lt General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, President of the Republic of Botswana.  The declaration highlights the urgent need for holistic national urban policies to provide for effective planning which recognises the importance of reducing urban sprawl and strengthen urban-rural linkages. And it points out the growing need to strengthen linkages between local government and national planning and budgeting systems for effective localisation of the SDGs.

For the last two years, CLGF and its partners in the Global Task Force of Local and Regional Governments for post-2015 Development Agenda and Habitat III have continued to advocate and have made progress in ensuring that local government has a direct role to play in the implementation of the SDGs and in particular the proposed new SDG on inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and human settlements.

“It is important to recognise the interconnectedness of economic development at the global, regional, national and local levels and to ensure that local government’s role is mainstreamed into all levels of planning and operations," said CLGF Chairperson Mayor Lawrence Yule. "For local government to play a full role in supporting the achievements of national and global development targets such as the SDGs, it is essential that adequate resources and powers to access own-source revenue are devolved to the local," he said.

The conference outcomes statement will be presented to Commonwealth Heads of Government for their endorsement in Malta later this year and will feed into the Addis Ababa Conference on Financing for Development and the forthcoming summit on sustainable development in the UN in September.

Some 550 delegates and dignitaries including key policy and decision makers including national, state and provincial ministers, mayors, academics and representatives of civil society and the private sector from more than 51 Commonwealth and other countries attended the 2015 Commonwealth Local Government Conference (CLGC) in Gaborone, Botswana.

Keynote speakers at the conference included Hon Dr Joseph Muscat, Prime Minister of Malta, Rt Hon Helen Clark, Administrator UNDP, Abdoulie Janneh, Executive Director Mo Abrahim Foundation, Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, Executive Secretary SADC.

The 2015 conference had the theme Local government 2030: achieving the vision and took place at the Gaborone International Conference Centre, Gaborone, Botswana. The CLGC is CLGF's flagship event, a high-level event, held every two years in different regions of the Commonwealth for the discussion of the status of decentralisation with a view to identifying good practice and international knowledge-sharing.

Speaking at the official closing of the conference in Gaborone, CLGF Secretary-General Carl Wright said: "We are very grateful to the Government of Botswana, and in particular the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and the Botswana Association of Local Authorities (BALA) for hosting this conference and to partners including our gold partner Barclays Africa and technology partner Microsoft amongst others who helped us plan and deliver this very successful conference."

*  Read the full Gaborone declaration - local government vision 2030.