New Delhi, Apr 15 (UNI) Representatives of the local bodies of the Commonwealth countries have gathered here to take part in a conference on 'The Inclusive City'.
The conference, hosted by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation, would look at good practices, common themes and issues across the Commonwealth and explore how the grouping could provide cooperation and support in future to help in making cities inclusive.
As a prelude to the conference, a meeting of the main policy-making committee of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum(CLGF), presided over by New Zealand Local Government president Basil Morrison, was held here today to take stock of the progress made by the Forum.
Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation Kumari Selja, who is a member of the Forum, gave the members an overview of local government issues in India and the steps being taken to strengthen local bodies.
The meeting discussed the Commonwealth policy on local governments including feedback from the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Kampala.
Besides, it also reviewed CLGF's work in encouraging local democracy and supporting local government in the member countries, including the grouping's current programmes in Asia.
Opening the meeting, Ms Selja said organising the meeting in Delhi was very timely as India had been taking effective steps for strengthening local bodies both in urban and rural areas.
''I am happy that CLGF is taking an effective initiative on documentation and promotion of best practices on better and effective local governance,'' she said.
CLGF chairperson Basil Morrison in his remarks said the forum was unique in bringing together local, state and federal spheres of government involved in local bodies' decision-making.
''As a Commonwealth organisation we are able to draw on this influential and historical network with its strong links and common values, including democracy. India is a very active part of this network and we are very pleased to hold our main policy meeting in Delhi,'' he said.
Other members of the Forum who attended the meeting were Dr Burty David, Minister of Local Government of Mauritius, Sidney Collie, Minister of Lands and Local Government of the Bahamas, Lord Hanningfield, Local Government Association of UK Mayor Zenaida Moya of Belize, Simon Baker, Society of Local Auhthority Chief Executives of UK and CLGF Secretary General Carl Wright.
The Commonwealth Local Government Good Practice Scheme in India has operated in two sates, Gujarat and Kerala, linking local bodies with those in UK and other member countries.
UNI NAZ SP HT1647