Local Government Act Passed

Juba 5 June 2009: The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) passed the Local Government Act in April, paving the way for the dissemination of authority to local government councils. “Support to local government is a key element of UNDP’s efforts to strengthen government structures in Southern Sudan”, said Joe Feeney, UNDP Southern Sudan’s Head of Office.“Without strong local government structures which have control over their budgets, it is difficult to deliver basic services and maintain the rule of law”, he continued.

To prepare local authorities for the establishment of the Local Government Act, the Local Government Board and UNDP supported the training of 110 local government officers. These officers have returned to their communities and are active in training their respective government officials on the necessary functions of local government and community service delivery.

At a recent training, H.E. Ceaser Arkangelo Suleiman, chairman of GoSS’ Local Government Board noted that good governance is critical for GoSS and for sustainable development in the region. He spoke of the need for a collective response from all members of the community, from citizens to politicians, to strengthen local government to improve and expand service delivery for the people. Suleiman further noted the need for the local governments,GoSS and State governments to work together to achieve good governance, saying “without strong local government in Southern Sudan it will be difficult to deliver on the peace dividends promised by the CPA”.

Boniface Rutagira, acting Project Manager for UNDP’s Local Government Recovery Project, is positive about the future of this bill, commenting that “the main challenge now is to provide the material resources for the utilization of the trained officers and officials to ensure broader community access to services”.

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