Recording of DeLoG's Webinar with UNCDF and UNDP on "Enabling Local Governments to Tackle the COVID-19 Response and Recovery" Now Available

On the 03rd of June 2020 from 03:30 pm to 05:00 pm CEST, the DeLoG Secretariat, UNCDF and UNDP conducted a webinar on enabling local governments to tackle the COVID-19 response and recovery. The inputs for the webinar were given by David Jackson, Director for Local Development Finance at UNCDF, Amita Gill, Local Governance Specialist at UNDP, Tehmina Akhtar, Deputy Director for Local Development Finance at UNCDF, Dmitry Pozhidaev, Decentralisation Advisor at UNCDF and Christel Alvergne, Regional Technical Advisor at UNCDF. Overall, the webinar was attended by 136 participants from 45 countries. The recording is now available here.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of fast, effective local action to slow the spread of the virus. The effectiveness of the response to COVID-19 has varied significantly across national territories, which not only reflects differences in the geographical spread of the virus, but also differences in the approaches taken by local governments as first responders. Local governments have faced tremendous challenges in addressing the needs of testing, social distancing and focused treatment which can effectively stop the virus. Some countries neglected the role of local governments in the early response and later publicly acknowledged how costly this neglect has been.

At the same time, local governments while grappling with this health crisis are facing massive economic consequences of the closures and slowdowns resulting in critical needs for social welfare and support while at the same time shrinking local governments revenues for their essential functions and basic service delivery. Being doubly challenged at a time when citizens are increasingly turning to local governments for guidance and assistance requires targeted, timely and effective solutions to get ahead of the curve and manage the response and recovery.

Finance is a critical need for local governments to respond effectively to the pandemic as well as to be able to address longer term recovery needs from the economic impact being experienced in many regions world-wide. The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) is assisting Local Governments in several ways, for example, through the use of existing intergovernmental fiscal transfer systems as a channel for emergency funds; enabling use of Operational Expenditure Block Grants which allow additional funds to be used with greater flexibility by local governments for immediate response measures; supporting local governments in repurposing existing budgets in view of changing priorities and possible disruption of revenues; and collaborating with central banks and institutions to enable effective COVID-19 recovery assistance for local governments, PPPs and small local businesses.

UNDP has also developed a framework of support to local governments focusing on Business Continuity Management (BCM). BCM aims to advise and enable local governments to continue governance functions during this critical period through effective support for participation and citizen engagement in COVID-19 response, digitalisation of government systems to allow governance functions to continue during periods of closure as well as supporting access to finance.

In this webinar, UNCDF and UNDP presented some of their experiences in assisting local governments at the frontlines of the crises to respond to the demands placed by the pandemic as well as to maintain core government functions. Besides concrete project examples from Senegal and Uganda, a special focus was placed on inclusion and gender in COVID-19 response and recovery to discern how local governments can ensure that the needs of all are addressed.


Speakers and Panelists:


David Jackson, Director, Local Development Finance, UNCDF

  • What COVID-19 has taught us about the role of Local Governments in emergency, response and recovery: Key demands, experiences and solutions

Panel 1: Thematic presentations

Amita Gill, Local Governance Specialist, UNDP

  • Business continuity management for local governments: Why it is essential in this crisis

Tehmina Akhtar, Deputy Director, Local Development Finance, UNCDF

  • Inclusion and gender in COVID-19 response and recovery: How can local governments ensure needs of all are addressed

Panel 2: Country case studies and solutions

Dmitry Pozhidaev, Decentralisation Advisor, UNCDF

  • Uganda’s efforts to localise COVID-19 response

Christel Alvergne, Regional Technical Advisor, UNCDF

  • How does COVID-19 reshape the fiscal decentralisation agenda in Senegal

Q&A and Discussion

Please find the biographies of the speakers here.


During the webinar participants had the opportunity to ask questions and provide live feedback through polls. Questions unanswered during the webinar were shared with the speakers for written replies. The webinar was open to the public.

The webinar was jointly organised by the DeLoG Secretariat and UNCDF.