New Titles - January 2009

Local Governments and Climate Change: Discussion Paper
A. Deri and M.Alam, Commonwealth Sectretariat, London, UK, 8pp.
Free download from: http://publications.thecommonwealth.org

Climate change poses an immediate threat to the security, well-being and economic activities of all countries. Particularly vulnerable are the 32 small states and 25 small island developing states of the Commonwealth. This Discussion Paper examines the important role that local governments can have in addressing the challenges posed by climate change. It argues that given their proximity to the community, local governments are in a unique position to tackle the cause and effects of climate change. The paper provides examples and gives advice on what local government can do to respond to the issue. Readers are invited to take part in the discussion by emailing comments on the issues raised to publications@commonwealth.int A selection of comments received will be posted to the Secretariat’s website.


Local Government Law of South Africa
Issue 1, N. Steytler and J.de Visser, LexisNexis, SA, 2007.
View details: http://ebiz.lexisnexis.co.za/bws/

Offers a comprehensive analysis of local government law specifically for legal practitioners, municipal officials, national and provincial officials involved in local government matters and their legal advisors. With the completion of the transition of local government, this volume has been compiled to assist those involved in local government get to grips with the complex new laws, including the Municipal Electoral Act, the Municipal Structures Act, the Municipal Systems Act, the Municipal Finance Management Act, the Property Rates Act and the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (and the regulations issued in terms of these Acts).

Topics Covered:

* History, demarcation and establishment of local government
* Structures of local government, including the council and the municipal executive
* Powers of local government
* Community participation
* System of local government including * IDP and performance management
* Municipal administration including delegation of powers
* Municipal services including debt collection and service delivery agreements
* Financial management including budgeting, accounting and supply chain management
* Municipal income including grants, municipal taxes and property rates
* Local government in intergovernmental relations including intervention and cooperative government.


Financing Local Government
N.Devas with M.Alam, S.Delay, P. Venkatachalam, R. Oppong Koranteng
Commonwealth Secretariat, London UK, 2008. 154pp.
View details: http://publications.thecommonwealth.org/financing-local-government-472-p.aspx



This book explores the variety of methods used to ensure that fiscal decentralisation takes place alongside administrative decentralisation. It considers the range of revenue sources available, the design systems of intergovernmental transfers between central and local government, and the kinds of rules and procedures necessary to ensure that local governments use their financial resources appropriately.

The experiences described in this book will help local government managers, and national policy-makers charged with local government finance issues, to ensure that they follow good practice in their own programmes of local government reform.

Reviewed in the International Journal of Public Sector Management, Volume 21, Issue 7, 2008.


Improving Local Government: Outcomes of Comparative Research
M.S. de Vries, P.S. Reddy and M. S. Haque (eds), Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2008. 284pp.
View details: http://us.macmillan.com/improvinglocalgovernment



Local governments encounter mammouth problems, and although there is not one panacea that works internationally, this book argues that there are mechanisms to improve the local situation and theer is evidence that this can suceed. By considering a number of key case studies from Latin America, Africa and Asia, the authors review best practices in good governance, thereby demonstarting that things can improve at the local level.


The Limits of Boundaries: Why City-regions Cannot be Self-governing
Andrew Sancton, McGill-Queens University Press. 192pp.
View details: http://mqup.mcgill.ca/book.php?bookid=2275



With city-regions becoming increasingly important as sources of innovation and wealth in our society, does it follow that their institutions of government will become increasingly autonomous, allowing them to become self-governing?

Andrew Sancton combines his knowledge of global changes with an outline and comparison of the viewpoints of prominent social scientists to argue that city regions in western liberal democracies will not and cannot be self-governing. Self-government requires a territory delineated by official boundaries, but the multiple boundaries of city-regions, unlike the clear and undisputed boundaries of provinces and states, continue to move outward due to the constant growth and expansion of urban populations and services.

The Limits of Boundaries shows that difficulties in reaching agreements on boundaries fatally limit the capacity of city-regions to be self-governing.