BY ARNOLD LETSHOLO
The decentralisation of municipal governments’ budget has been hailed as a gateway into attaining desires as delineated in paragraph 34 of Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development.
Presenting during a panel discussion held at the University of Botswana recently, the Executive Director of Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organizations (BOCONGO) – Botho Seboko advocated for paradigm shift if Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are to be effectively, locally implemented.
Seboko gave an example of Gaborone saying that the city’s multi million Pula budget could have taken it far had it not been for accounting to the central government.
The said paragraph 34 of the Agenda assures, “To support local governments in their efforts to mobilize revenues as appropriate; enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and strengthen economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning, within the context of national sustainable development strategies.”
It further acknowledges that expenditures and investments in sustainable development are being devolved to the sub national level, which often lacks adequate technical and technological capacity, financing and support. It therefore commits to scaling up international cooperation to strengthen capacities of municipalities and other local authorities. It promises to support cities and local authorities of developing countries, particularly in least developed countries, in implementing resilient and environmentally sound infrastructure, including energy, transport, water and sanitation, and sustainable and resilient buildings using local materials.
Paragraph 34 of the Addis Ababa Agenda also assures that it would work to strengthen debt management, and where appropriate to establish or strengthen municipal bond markets, to help sub national authorities to finance necessary investments. It would also promote lending from financial institutions and development banks, along with risk mitigation mechanisms, such as the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, while managing currency risk.