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Published on:

8th Apr 2020

Why Local Government Finance is Essential to the COVID-19 Response

Local governments have been on the frontlines when it comes to the COVID-19 response, in large part because of their competencies--citizen engagement, management of public space and service delivery. But for local governments in the world's least developed countries, their ability to execute an effective response is undermined by a lack of funding, considering many local governments lack the authority to tax or access capital markets. What measures can local governments deploy to address these finance challenges, which can be deployed in days or weeks instead of months?

We spoke with two thought leaders and practice leaders--David Jackson and Tehmina Akhtar, Director and Deputy Director of UNCDF's Local Development Finance Practice--to get their insights and recommendations for how local governments can address these finance challenges to support and strengthen their COVID-19 responses. These recommendations are also included in a publication UNCDF has released this week

This is a special co-podcast of Capital Musings and Capital Locast.

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About the Podcast

Capital Locast
Talking Local, Globally
The United Nations Capital Development Fund is a Centre of Excellence and Innovative Fund for Local Government Finance and Local Economic Development Finance. UNCDF and United Cities and Local Governments have joined in a coalition for a global financial ecosystem that works for cities and local governments.

The climate emergency is real. The scale of the plastics problem is only just starting to be understood. Inequality and migration are increasing. Urbanization is unstoppable. The world’s response to these development challenges is Agenda 2030 and the 2015 Paris Agreement.

But the development finance architecture is missing something. Local Governments are indispensable agents in solving these problems. Whilst national governments, civil society, and the private sector can achieve a lot, without a revolution in local government finance it will be impossible to build a sustainable liveable world. Our mission is to build the bridge to that future by leading the redesign of local government finance as an accelerator of global development. Capital LoCAST will be talking local, globally.

In the first season of Capital LoCAST, experts and thought leaders will set out the economic analysis and the policy agenda for a financial ecosystem that works for cities and local governments.

About your host

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UN Capital Development Fund

The UN Capital Development Fund makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries (LDCs).

UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.

UNCDF pursues innovative financing solutions through: (1) financial inclusion, which expands the opportunities for individuals, households, and small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in the local economy, while also providing differentiated products for women and men so they can climb out of poverty and manage their financial lives; (2) local development finance, which shows how fiscal decentralization, innovative municipal finance, and structured project finance can drive public and private funding that underpins local economic expansion, women’s economic empowerment, climate adaptation, and sustainable development; and (3) a least developed countries investment platform that deploys a tailored set of financial instruments to a growing pipeline of impactful projects in the “missing middle.’’