Some reflections on the Conference Background Paper: 'Improving Local Government: the Commonwealth Vision'

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Joe Stern


Even before considering its content, one has to admire the confidence of Dr. Philip Amis to undertake the preparation of a paper titled: Improving Local Government: the Commonwealth Vision. Dr. Amis, head of the International Development Department at the University of Birmingham and a trusted friend of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, would have understood the challenges of this assignment. There is no commonly accepted definition of ‘local government’ and practitioners have agreed that replicable models or templates for local government improvement are hard to find. Moreover, the Commonwealth is not much easier to define than local government and has been reticent historically to translate its various ‘vision’ statements into actionable plans.

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How to Cite
Stern, J. (2010). Some reflections on the Conference Background Paper: ’Improving Local Government: the Commonwealth Vision’. Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, (5), 10-14.
Background Papers
Author Biography

Joe Stern, International Development Consultant

Joe has worked as an independent international development consultant for the past twenty-one years. Focusing on governance issues and democratic development, he has provided a variety of services including program development and evaluation, policy analysis, strategic planning, institutional strengthening, and training. Areas of special interest are indigenous development, decentralization and local government, and legal and judicial reform. His clients have included governments, international organizations and institutions, universities, and non-governmental organizations. He has gained broad international experience in numerous assignments in countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong; Ethiopia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, the Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria and Malawi; and Guyana and the states of the Eastern Caribbean. Prior to his consulting career, Joe held positions with both provincial and federal governments at the technical, managerial and senior executive levels. Immediately prior to leaving the public service of Canada, he served as Chairman and Chief Executive of the Canadian Refugee Status Advisory Committee.