CLGF was founded in 1995 and its establishment was endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in New Zealand later that year. It has received further endorsement at subsequent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings and in 2003 was given official recognition as an associated Commonwealth organization of elected representatives. It also has official recognition with some UN agencies and other international organizations. As an associated Commonwealth organization, CLGF ensures that local government's voice is heard within the Commonwealth and that it gets full recognition and support in the Commonwealth family. CLGF works closely with other Commonwealth and international organizations such as the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Foundation, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the United Nations, including UN-Habitat and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to promote and support democratic local government in the Commonwealth and to ensure that local government is recognized as an important sphere of government in development. CLGF works to promote and strengthen democratic local government across the Commonwealth and to encourage the exchange of best practice – through conferences and events, technical assistance projects and research.

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