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Study - 15.04.2020

OECD analyses the impact of COVID-19 on cities and regions
Local and regional governments are at the frontline of the response to COVID-19. Their regular services are being put under pressure because of social distancing and care is being provided to the sick and vulnerable, while their sources of revenue are shrinking due to the economic slowdown.

But what short-medium-and long-term effects does the pandemic have on local government functioning and finance? And how have municipalities and regions responded so far? These are the questions the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is seeking to answer in two reports: one dedicated to territories and the other specifically focusing on cities.

The territories report covers numerous topics including: local and regional governments’ role in the crisis (notably healthcare), COVID-19’s impact in different regions, digital tools for tracking infection, the need for multi-level coordination and finally economic issues, namely the impact on local economies and government finances. The report also gathers many examples of the various government responses to coronavirus.

The report on cities specifically looks at how cities have been hit and their policies in various areas, namely: communication and awareness raising, workplace practices and commuting patterns, social distance and confinement, measures for vulnerable groups, local service delivery (notably water and waste) and support for businesses and economic recovery.

With their charts, tables, and maps, these documents contain a wealth of information on the very diverse situations in the various countries and territories. Indeed, while coronavirus has been spreading worldwide, some regions have been far worse hit than others.

Local and regional governments’ responsibilities for healthcare also vary widely. These account for more than 90% of government healthcare expenditure in Switzerland and Spain to less than 1% in France.

The OECD specifies that these documents will be regularly updated as the situation develops and thus may serve as a useful reference in the future as well.
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