Lüderitz — The Namibia Association of Local Authority Officers (NALAO) is currently hosting its 17th National Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lüderitz. The conference that started on Wednesday and ends today. 'Inspiring Local Government Reform in the Context of the SDCs and the New Urban Agenda', is the theme for the 17th AGM of NALAO.
During the official opening of the conference on Wednesday, NALAO president Walde Ndevashiya welcomed all the delegates, saying the gathering was yet another trendsetting event to reignite the passion for local government reform agenda in Namibia.
In doing, so they need to take into consideration global commitments in line with the sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, stated Ndevashiya.
"It is our collective hope as the national executive committee that, the 17th Annual General Meeting will create a platform for key stakeholders and local government practitioners to debate and discuss the local authority reform, in context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the New Urban Agenda," he said.
The discussions will look at practical ways of localising the SDGs especially SDG 11 which is very central to the local government agenda.
The local government system in Namibia is now 25 years old and when the local authorities reform process was first mooted about slightly more than ten years ago it came as a breeze of fresh air to take local government service delivery, structures, financing intergovernmental relations and local governance, he stated.
Local authorities are now more and more playing a key role to tackle issues like poverty, inequalities and climate change. If managed well, urbanisation can actually contribute to sustainable and inclusive growth.
Ndevashiya emphasised it is more and more becoming evident that the battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in the cities, there is an increasing need for a radical paradigm shift in the cities, and human settlements are planned development, governed and managed.
He further emphasized it is time to take a fresh look and articulate the urgency of the local government reform in Namibia because, the decisions and urgency with which they implement will shape their common future at the local as well as at the national level.
The local government reform policy, offers an opportunity to reflect and transform the sector and ensure local authorities that are more responsive to needs of the citizens.
Officiating at the event //Karas Governor Lucia Basson said she is a firm believer regional and local authorities need to work together to complement one another as they drive development and policy making from the bottom up. This is an important principle of intergovernmental partnership and cooperation, which she also mentioned in her first State of the Region Address some time ago.
"The plight of our people who are looking for decent jobs, a decent place to stay and proper sanitation should motivate us to work together in a responsive way, to overcome the livelihood and development challenges of our people.
"I am sure you will agree with me that Sustainable Development Goal 11, is the one that speaks more directly to your mandate as local government practitioners. This is the goal that talks about making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable. I believe that this commitment is something that all of us must be able to integrate within our strategic planning framework and make provision for it also in our balanced scorecards to keep track of it," she stated.
She further emphasised no local authority or regional council is an island on its own therefore, she urged local authorities to cooperate with their rural and regional counterparts as well as other local authorities both locally and internationally, to make sure they respond adequately to service delivery needs of all the residents.