UCLG Policy Brief on Local Emergency Responses, Democratic Practices and Innovation
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected public service delivery, putting additional stress on city governments around the globe. Local leadership and multilevel governance systems are ill equipped to respond to the new reality. This leads to great concerns about the safeguarding of local democracy, the protection of human rights frameworks and the sustainability of the public service provision.
The sixth edition of the UCLG Policy Brief, published in July 2022, is part of a series by the Emergency Governance Initiative (EGI) on local response to complex emergencies. It provides a review of academic and grey literature and identifies case studies and analysis.
The Policy Brief focuses on emergency governance for cities and regions and the legitimacy of emergency responses. This issue ties in closely with the role of cities and regional governments in strengthening local democracy as well as advancing the broader principle of subsidiarity.
Emphasizing the important role of local democracy – such as practices and mechanisms that cities and regions provide for people to participate in and influence public decisions-making – this policy brief demonstrates how emergencies test as well as enable democracy. It further explores the role of local and regional governments and presents lessons learnt from democratic practices under emergency conditions, detailing the democratic pillars for Emergency Governance. The brief not only focuses on the current situation but offers a potentially useful solution: the concept of emergency assemblies where informed citizens discuss and make recommendations on policy issues. Here the authors offer two examples: the climate assembly in Budapest, Hungary and the Citizens’ council for COVID-19 in Augsburg, Germany. The Policy Brief is also dedicated to a new emergency governance culture that is centrally informed by feminist ideals.
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.