Uganda hosts the Second East African Local Government Forum Meeting
Kampala - The second meeting of the East African Local Government Forum with the theme; “Innovative Local Governments; empowering citizens to create wealth and widening the base for better service delivery,” has been held in Kampala, Uganda.
The year old forum was started in May 2011, when ministers’ and Local Government representatives from the East African region in a meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, resolved to establish a regional forum to address local governance issues. It brings together Ministries of Local Government, East Africa Local Government Associations and all partners involved in local governance to provide guidance towards sustainable local development and achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Addressing the forum, UNDP’s Country Director, a.i, Almaz Gebru, said that UNDP welcomed the idea of a regular East African Local Government Forum and is proud to be associated with such regional platforms and forums as they provide an opportunity to share practical lessons and advance proven development solutions.
“From our global experience, we have observed that the success of any development agenda depends on the ownership and leadership generated at both the national and the local levels. This is because Local Governments play a critical role in governance and in delivery of basic services, such as education, water, housing, sanitation and health,” she said.
In addition, she asked both the Central and Local Government representatives attending to consider some of UNDP and UNCDF’s experience which has shown that; having a manageable number of Local Governments, encouraging public private partnerships and empowering Local Governments with adequate staffing, knowledge and skill improvement among other things, is pertinent in bringing about development.
She reminded participants that implementation and follow-up of resolutions emerging from the meeting were important for helping Local Governments make a difference to the lives of the people in the East African region.
Hon. Hawa Ghasia, the Tanzania state Minister for Local Government who was also the chair of the forum said that one of their main achievements for the year was getting a desk at the East African Community which would help them promote the important role Local Governments play in the region. She added that it was up to the forum to take advantage of the symbiotic relationship that was growing between the associations in the region to encourage development.
Her colleague, Hon. Adolf Mwesige, Minister of Local Government in Uganda, who took over the chair during the meeting, encouraged forum members to share ideas and use their local government administration skills to bring wholesome development to the East African region.
UNDP through its Africa Regional Service Centre has been supporting the Local Government Forum in Eastern Africa as well as the conference of Ministers of Local Government from Southern Africa (SADC).