The World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment prepares its 3rd edition


The 3rd meeting of the Steering Committee of the World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment enjoyed a strong and active participation. Convened on Thursday 20 January in virtual format, the meeting gathered more than 80 participants: UCLG and the OECD, founders  and leaders of the Observatory, were joined by all of the Observatory’s technical and financial partners (UNCDF, AFD, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, GIZ, the DeLoG network, the Council of Europe Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank), representatives of national governments, UCLG’s regional sections and committees, development banks, United Nations agencies and academics to take stock of the Observatory’s work and the ongoing preparation of its next publication, scheduled for mid-2022. 

In their opening remarks, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE) and Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG, welcomed the growing interest in the Observatory as demonstrated by the strong and diverse participation in this Steering Committee meeting.

Judith Winternitz, Chair of the OECD Expert Group on Multilevel Governance for Regional Development, and Anibal Gaviria, Governor of Antioquia, Colombia, underlined the importance of the Observatory’s work in analysing and informing decision-making on the role of local and regional governments in the implementation of the global agendas. In turn, all the Observatory’s technical and financial partners emphasised how the data produced forms a unique body of information, not only useful for their own action but also instrumental in informing public debate and policies, at national and international levels. 

“The Observatory has a major role to play in the debate, to help us build a compelling case and shed light on the changing situation of local finances, with the effects of the Covid-19 in particular”. 

David Jackson, Director of Local Development Finance, United Nations Capital Development Fund.

The meeting was structured in three main parts. The OECD and UCLG first highlighted the results of the previous edition, published in 2019: production of 124 country profiles presenting information on multi-level governance, territorial organisation, competences and finances of local and regional governments, together with a cross-cutting analysis of key findingsdatabase that allows for extraction and comparison of data – all of which is freely available on the Observatory’s website. This session also provided an opportunity to present several examples of webinars, training courses, research reports and national public policy debates directly fed by the Observatory’s work.

The second part of the session presented and discussed some of the new features of the next edition: simplification of the methodological guide, inclusion of new countries and introduction of a section on the impact and management of the COVID-19 crisis at territorial level.

Finally, a third moment of debate allowed the members of the Steering Committee to share their suggestions and recommendations on how to increase the impact of the Observatory: more user-friendly access to the database, collection of data and production of indicators that help inform policy-making more directly in the face of today’s complex situations (health crisis, climate emergency, access of local authorities to financial markets, etc.), connections with other observatories, translation of the report and country profiles into other languages, enrichment of the website with analytical notes on specific topics, illustration of data with inspiring practices, etc. These suggestions will contribute to improving the Observatory’s methodology and collective work process in future editions. 

“In parallel to the preparation of the report, it is time for all of us to acknowledge the immense work that has been done so far and set out to disseminate it widely”. 

Dorothée Allain-Dupré, Head of the Decentralisation, Public Investment and Local Finance Unit, OECD.

Data collection for the 3rd edition is underway for 140+ countries. It is planned to complete the update of the database and to publish the report by June 2022. The 3rd edition of the Observatory will be launched at an international conference on 7 July.

More information:

– See the agenda of the Steering Committee meeting

– Visit the website of the World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment

– Follow UCLG’s work on local finance