The Commonwealth Local Government Forum was established in 1995 with the aim of encouraging best practice in local democracy and government.
Speaking in Edinburgh today, Hilary Armstrong said:
'We support the value and worth of local government. Good local democracy matters because it promotes political stability and peaceful economic development.
'The aims of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum include:
-- encouraging the development of local democracy at local level
-- exchanging experience among practitioners through sharing the practice of good governance with countries and institutions embarking on the path to democracy
-- strengthening the practice and institutions of local democracy
'I support these aims wholeheartedly. That is why my department - the department of environment, transport and the regions - will join the forum on behalf of the UK government. I fully endorse what the forum is trying to achieve.
Ms Armstrong continued:
'We of the Commonwealth have a common interest in reinvigorating local democracy: to nurture and protect the values of local democracy - to promote stability, to help create economic success, to build better communities providing opportunity, quality of life and social justice for all. There are no short cuts or one common model for success. Progress is uncertain and mistakes will be made. But as members of the same Commonwealth we have the advantage of being able to talk to one another and to exchange ideas as equals. I feel confident that will help us all to achieve our goals.'
-- The subscription rate payable for membership of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum is£5,000 per year.