Putting Local Government at the Heart of Development

The Commonwealth Local Governance Conference will focus on Local Government’s role in sustainable development, looking at the opportunities decentralization offers in generating a more equal and inclusive development and growth path.

The urgency and relevance of this thematic is reflected in the conference’s large number of high-level speakers, including the presidents of Uganda, Sri Lanka and Rwanda; ministers from Zambia, Jamaica, India, South Africa and Ghana; the UNDP Administrator, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, as well as numerous mayors, local government leaders and experts from across the Commonwealth. The presence of representatives of the national and local level alike, as well as those of the civil society, international organizations and academics, is crucial to fuel a fundamental dialogue on the division of responsibilities.

Local Development being one of the two core areas of expertise of UNCDF, this event offers a fabulous opportunity to exchange and share with fellow practitioners and researches. Two of UNCDF’s most accomplished experts in the field of Local Development Finance, Dr. Dmitry Pozhidaev and Dr. Kadmiel Wekwete will present UNCDF experiences in policy development and advocacy for successful decentralization and LED interventions in Wednesday afternoon’s session on “Making the case for effective national policy making and decentralization to strengthen the development approach to local government” resp. in Thursday morning’s panel on “Partnerships for development: the leadership role of local government and involving all actors in inclusive local economic development”.

At the same time, from the 13th to the 14th May, a Youth Forum is organized, giving young people the opportunity to discuss development processes with local governments and the civil society during panel discussions, working groups and study visits. Moreover, the youth delegates will be able to attend the main conference. In this context UNCDF is sponsoring nine delegates from Uganda to support young talented and interested people to engage into and have a say to the international policy debate.

In the context of the Uganda UN Country Team, of which UNCDF is an active member, Dr. Pozhidaev met with UNDP’s Administrator and UNCDF Managing Director Helen Clark, presenting UNCDF’s interventions in Uganda. Mrs. Clark highly appreciated UNCDF’s efforts to raise non-public finance for development, which in Uganda has demonstrated a six-time leverage. She encouraged UNCDF to continue to build on its comparative advantage in devising innovative tools and mechanisms for development finance and to continue the excellent cooperation as a valuable partner within the framework of UN Delivering as One.