C'wealth local govt leaders praise India's initiatives

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) The Commonwealth Local Government Forum(CLGF) today said India was playing an important role in responding to issues of urbanisation and addressing local government needs through strategies like the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission.

In a statement issued at the end of the Forum's meeting and a seminar on 'Inclusive City' jointly organised by it and the Ministry of Urban Housing and Poverty Alleviation here today, CLGF said the country had taken various initiatives in the field of affordable housing, education, healthcare and social security in the cities.

The CLGF was set up in 1995 to promote efficiency and transparency in the working of local governments and build capacity for responding to the needs of all sections of society, especially in provision of basic services.

The New Delhi statement called upon member organisations to promote the concept of 'inclusive cities' in their policy making, and to develop, where possible, Millennium Development Goals-specific targets, and to work with CLGF and other partners, to achieve this.

The CLGF said the progress on the above objectives would be reviewed at the Commonwealth Local Government Conference, 'Improving Local Government: The Commonwealth Vision to be held at Freeport, Grand Bahama in May next year.

Spelling out the concept of 'inclusive cities', it said such cities where all citizens have full democratic rights and access to essential services, actively promoted by city governments, with support from federal and state governments through such policies which focus on employability and employment of the urban poor, deal with street vendors, low cost sanitation, gender budgeting and housing an habitat policy.

It said it looked forward to current and new CLGF initiatives, including its Asian Local Democracy Programme which focuses on Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and its Good Practices Scheme of city-to-city partnership, deploying and encouraging, where appropriate, the use of the concept of 'inclusive cities'.

It recalled the Commonwealth Principles on Good Practices for Local Democracy and Good Governance approved by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2005 and reaffirmed by them in 2007.

UNI NAZ BDP RK1823

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