New Policy Brief from the Emergency Governance Initiative highlights innovative governance responses to COVID-19

Launched today, Policy Brief #01 of the Emergency Governance Initiative for Cities and Regions spotlights innovative institutional responses to the coronavirus emergency in Barcelona, Spain; Bogotá, Colombia; Gauteng, South Africa; and Seoul, South Korea based on interviews with senior government officials. As cities across the world begin to reopen, these case studies provide important lessons on stakeholder engagement, inclusive communication, multi-level governance, and effective use of data in managing the pandemic response.

These case profiles are complemented by lessons drawn from UCLG, Metropolis, and UN-Habitat’s “Live Learning Experiences,” including a personal reflection from UCLG Secretary General Emilia Sáiz and a summary of global COVID-19 monitoring initiatives and insights from a scoping survey. The Policy Brief concludes with a critical perspective, “Urban sovereignty in the time of pandemics” by Diane Davis of Harvard University and Graham Denyer Willis of Cambridge University. 

To accompany the Policy Brief, we have also released Analytics Note #02, which  highlights the most common challenges, innovations, and knowledge gaps facing cities and regions as they respond to COVID-19. The note is based on a survey of nearly 60 cities and regions in 35 countries, spanning every continent. 

Supplementing the Policy Brief, we are pleased to share recordings from three of the interviews conducted as part of our research. 

The Barcelona Deal: The Barcelona Deal:
Interview with Laia Bonet, Deputy Mayor of Barcelona for the 2030 Agenda, Digital Transition, Sports, Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination, and International Relations.


Bogotá's Citizen Culture: Bogotá's Citizen Culture:
Interview with Luz Amparo Medina Gerena, Director of International Relations for the Capital District of Bogotá


Gauteng Multi-Level Governance: Gauteng Multi-Level Governance:
Interview with Mduduzi Mbada, Head of the Policy Research and Advisory Services Unit, Office of The Premier of Gauteng Province


This Policy Brief and Analytics Note are 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 the first in a series of quarterly publications that are complemented by the data-driven and more frequently published Analytics Notes.