Policy Brief #03

Financing Emergencies in Cities and Regions: ongoing lessons from the pandemic 

Emergency Governance Initiative, January 2021

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. This Policy Brief from the Emergency Governance Initiative examines the impact of this ‘scissor effect’ and outlines lessons that could be used to strengthen the financial response of subnational governments to other complex 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, published in early January 2021.

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Policy Brief #03 is also available in French and Spanish.