Local Public Services in Crisis Mode and Development for Cities and Regions – New Policy Brief and Analytics Note

The Emergency Governance Initiative published the fifth Policy Brief “Local Public Services in Crisis Mode” and Analytics Note “Local Public Services and Sustainable Development” as part of a series on emergency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the conditions of public service delivery, putting additional stress on city governments around the globe. To ensure that human rights are being fulfilled, public services must be delivered in a safe and equitable way – and the responsibility for providing them “lies with local, metropolitan, and regional governments”, as stated in Policy Brief #05. 

The fifth edition of the Policy Brief, published in March, and the Analytics Note, published in April, are part of a series by the Emergency Governance Initiative (EGI) on local response to complex emergencies. The Policy Brief focuses on the effectiveness of local public service initiatives in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas the Analytics Note highlights shifts in priorities for public service provision. 

The Policy Brief #05 combines the results of case studies on how local public services worldwide have dealt with the COVID-19 crisis. Key findings of the Policy Brief #05 include challenges such as increased demand for some public services and reduced demand for others; loss of revenue; the urgency to digitalise user services and to protect workers; the necessity of strong dialogue, cooperation, and coordination for enabling responsive; effective and uninterrupted service provision.  

The Analytics Note is based on Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs). VLRs are an assessment process by which local and regional governments monitor their progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals. Its key findings reveal that, while health services unsurprisingly moved up the list of priorities, utility services remained the top concern for cities and regions around the globe.  

The EGI was founded in 2020 in cooperation with Metropolis, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), and LSE Cities. Building on in-depth analysis, EGI assesses the pandemic’s implications on local governance as well as recovery strategies. Aims of the Policy Briefs is to support local and regional governments in shaping their response to future emergencies through institutionalisation. You can find further information on the initiative and download the newest Policy Brief and Analytics Notes here.