May 11, 2009, 6:47 AM
The sub-regional seminar, expected to last for three days, brought together participants from Zimbabwe, Ghana and The Gambia.
The event was jointly organised by the National Association of Local Authorities of Ghana, Zimbabwe and The Gambia.
The sub-regional seminar is organised through the STRAP project funded by the European Union, to be implemented within three years.
In his opening statement on behalf of the Lands and Local Governments minister at the start of the workshop held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, Mr Dibba said governance, especially local governance, is among the government’s key priority areas.
He noted that the tenets of good local governance are local democracy, participation, accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency, equitable and inclusive, and the rule of law.
“Good governance therefore assures that corruption is reduced, the views of the minorities are taken on board and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making,” he said.
This is evident by the decisive decision government took in performing the local government administrative and decentralization programme, he said.
He said further that his ministry is fully aware that The Gambia Association of Local Government Authority, (GALGA), in partnership with their counterparts in Ghana and Zimbabwe, is jointly implementing a programme for strengthening partnership and networks for enhancing participatory local governance project (STRAP).
He went further to say the specific objective of the programme include strengthening local government association networks in partner countries, improving local democratic governance in municipal service delivery, and enhancing regional solidarity through city cooperation as well as strengthening the capacity of local communities for self-sustenance.
He said the national good governance indicators from the three partner countries are done with a view to harmonizing them to a set of regional good governance indicators and to draw lessons and good practices.
When properly used the indicators will improve municipal service delivery and enhance good governance.
For his part, Gilbert Mlilo, deputizing the UCAZ president of Zimbabwe, said the workshop took place in the second year of project implementation in 15 local authorities in The Gambia, Ghana and Zimbabwe.
He noted that the forum aimed at building consensus on indicators of good governance as it relates to service delivery in local authority.
He also said the outcome of the workshop will develop into an international peer review (IPR) concept paper which will form the basis of undertaking the international peer reviews that will follow later in 2013.
For her part, Emily Foon-Sarr of the National Authorising Support Unit, said programmes currently implemented by GALGA dovetails into the earlier programmes and will no doubt add value to ongoing efforts in this area.