As shown by the results of training needs assessments conducted
by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat), training needs of
local-government elected officials (councillors), or of local politicians,
appear among the most urgent worldwide and, at the same time, the least attended
areas of capacity-building for local development and municipal management.
In the last few years, a number of countries as varied as Nepal
and Poland or Uganda and Paraguay have embarked for the first time in several
decades, and in some cases for the first time ever, on a process of electing
their councillors and mayors. Training needs of local-government elected
officials are also at the top of the agenda in established municipal democracies
such as Ecuador, India, and the United States of America.
To respond to these needs, the United Nations Centre for Human
Settlements (Habitat) has developed and tested a series of training handbooks to
assist councillors to represent the citizens, provide civic leadership and
effectively work with central government and with the management, technical and
professional staff in local authorities and other local institutions. The
handbooks cover policy and decision-making, communication, negotiation and
leadership, attending, managing and conducting meetings, councillors' enabling
and facilitating activities, financial management and other related needs. Each
handbook is intended for use primarily by trainers in national training
institutions for local government or training units within local governments
As further assistance for trainers using these handbooks, the
Centre has published this companion, Trainer's Guide for Training of Elected
Officials, containing trainer's notes and information prepared exclusively for
the benefit of these trainers in planning workshops for local elected officials
based on the handbooks.
It is expected that this trainer's guide will contribute greatly
to strengthening the capacity of local governments through the introduction of
good leadership practices, one of the major objectives of the 1996 United
Nations Conference on Human Settlements, Habitat II.
I wish to thank Dr. Fred Fisher and Mr. David W. Tees for
preparing this and other handbooks in the series in collaboration with the
United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (Habitat) Training Section within
the Centre's training programmes supported by the Government of the Netherlands.
I also wish to acknowledge the contribution of the trainers and local-government
officials in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Kenya, Lithuania, Romania and Uganda who
assisted in the fieldtesting of these training materials.
Dr. Wally N'Dow
Centre for Human