New Policy Brief from the Emergency Governance Initiative analyses the financial response to COVID-19 at the city and regional level, and outlines lessons that could be used to strengthen the position of subnational governments in their response to future emergencies.
During the COVID-19 response, city and regional governments have been facing a ‘scissor effect’ of mounting expenditures related to the health, economic and social impacts of the virus, and a simultaneous decrease in revenues due to economic disruption.
Despite the enormity of this challenge, there is a lack of information and policy guidance in relation to emergency finance for cities and regions. In July 2020, the EGI conducted a systematic review of online COVID-19 resources identified as having a subnational governance component, and found that very few provided policy guidance related to finance. At the same time, city and regional officials surveyed by the EGI identified finance and resources as the area in which additional information and examples of best practices would be most beneficial.
This Policy Brief is designed to address this gap. It presents an analysis of the main trends that have been developing in subnational finance during the emergency, and outlines lessons that could be taken up at the various levels of government to improve the financial response of cities and regions during future emergencies.
The analysis is based on a survey of 33 municipal finance departments and interviews with Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, City of Freetown; Tehmina Akhtar, Deputy Director of UNCDF; Flo Clucas, Finance Spokesperson for CEMR; and Omar Siddique, Head of Office and Chief Technical Advisor, UN-Habitat Kosovo.
This Policy Brief is part of the Emergency Governance Initiative (EGI) led by LSE Cities, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis). This Initiative investigates the institutional dimensions of rapid and radical action in response to global emergencies to provide city and regional governments with frameworks, knowledge, and resources to navigate the new demands of leading emergency responses. This Policy Brief is complimented by Analytics Note 03: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Subnational Finances that was published earlier this month.