Session 4


Decentralisation and Empowering Cities and Human Settlements

held on

Wednesday 15 July 2020 at 13:00 CAT, 12:00 BST, 11:00 UTC


The programme of events associated with a Call to Action on Sustainable Urbanisation in the Commonwealth was launched on Wednesday 24 June 2020 under the leadership of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, the Commonwealth Association of Architects, the Commonwealth Association of Planners, and the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, with support from The Prince’s Foundation, the Rwandan Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Rwandan Ministry of Local Government.

This event was hosted by the Commonwealth Local Government Forum and focused on empowering city/local government to ensure that cities can respond effectively to the needs of local communities. The session focused on the relationship between different spheres of government and the importance effective fiscal decentralisation and use of ICT and smart solutions to enable sustainable urbanisation.

The session was chaired by Dr Greg Munro with the following speakers:

  • Prof Chetan Vaidya, Former Director School of Planning and Architecture New Delhi and National Institute of Urban Affairs 
  • William Cobbett, Director at Cities Alliance
  • Hon Nontembeko Boyce, Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature and member of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) 
  • Fuatai Purcell, Acting Secretary General, Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO)
  • Hugh Cole, Director of Planning and Policy at the City of Cape Town
  • Duncan Onduru, Executive Director, Commonwealth Association of Tax Administrators (CATA)

The event attracted over 100 attendees from 26 countries. Questions to the panel together with expressions of support came from variety of sources including the Young Planners Network and many others. The live recording of this session is available to watch by clicking on the image at the top of this webpage.

key messages

  • The important of adequate finance or access to own resources/taxation systems to ensure cities have the resources to deliver
  • Recognition of the importance, urgency, complexity, and scale of the issues for cities and towns
  • The potential for the Commonwealth to serve as a convening force
  • The importance of developing multi-level, inter-disciplinary, cross-sectoral collaboration to achieve sustainable urbanisation 
  • The crucial role for city leaders in rebuilding better post-covid for all citizens 
  • The importance of engaging young people in decision making in a meaningful way 
  • An invitation to engage with development of a Call to Action.

further information

If you are interested in the issues raised in the programme and/or would like to become involved in a Call to Action, then please contact us at