Local Government Finance is Development Finance #3

Dear friends and colleagues

Welcome to #3 of the Local Government Finance blog – which will come out once or twice a week. Not everyone gets it – but many support our assertion that local government finance is development finance.

We are in the middle of the (virtual) High Level Political Forum (a UN review of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals) where the role of local governments in Covid19 Response and Recovery is being highlighted. This week the Global Taskforce on Regional and Local Governments issued the following declaration and on Monday 13th June the taskforce be co-organised the third edition of the Local and Regional Governments’ Forum with UN DESA, UN-Habitat, UNDP and the Executive Office of the UN Secretary General. The overall objective of the Local and Regional Governments Forum is to produce a fruitful debate and strong commitments from local and regional governments, national authorities and the international community to support a transformative bottom-up process grounded on multilevel governance based on the achievement of the SDGs in the aftermath of the COVID19 crisis, while contributing to the Decade of Action. You can catch a recording of the session here.


This week’s posting is more focused on the RECOVERY. Local governments are key to driving the recovery, despite limited financial resources and mandates there is a lot that they can do, as this (very short) video from Tanzania demonstrates…

But what is the INVESTMENT AGENDA for INCLUSION. What does an inclusive capital expenditure programme or an inclusive local economic development strategy look like. The video provides one small example, yet the challenge is to make sure that this economic recovery is INCLUSIVE. How to do this through INCLUSIVE CITIES will be discussed at the High-Level Political Forum on 15th July at 8.00am. Please register for the event Here All are welcome… A flyer is attached to this message.

On a substantive level the meeting will discuss how Rapid urbanization in many developing countries is becoming a significant challenge for governments, particularly local governments to whom citizens turn for ensuring access to basic services and urban governance.  Meeting the demand for infrastructure and services, ensuring inclusive territorial governance, and promoting inclusive local economic and social development are essential for inclusive growth of cities in the developing world, yet local governments themselves often lack the fiscal space and authority for development planning. Unless local government are empowered (including financially empowered) to make inclusion a priority in their agendas, and unless urban infrastructure investments are designed with the needs of all citizens in mind (not just the mobile, not just those with spending power, and not just those with formal, regular jobs) cities can become the location of ever widening inequalities and associated increases in extreme poverty and insecurity.

By ensuring that access to local leadership, provision of public services, access to public space, and availability of finance, among other things, to wide segments of the population, including women, urban poor, youth, migrants etc. cities in developing countries can provide greater opportunities for leveling the playing field and for sustainable and equitable development and growth. For instance, improved street lighting, safe transportation, childcare services, vocational training, smooth access to the jobs market and municipal access to concessional finance are examples of solutions that can increase women’s economic empowerment opportunities in developing cities. At the same time informal employment is far more prevalent in developing countries, the significant numbers of men and women in the informal economy, are vulnerable to economic downturns and emergencies. Responses such as social safety nets, job security and benefits are largely absent for these workers.

Join us to hear some examples of how city leaders are promoting inclusion within developing cities and making sure it is locked in through investment plans as the cities grow. We will also hear from funds and development finance institutions on what steps they are taking to make inclusion a priority in urban investments and projects and what measures are being used to assess this. The Side Event will conclude with a brief discussion with panelists and question and answer with participants.


Opening remarks: Judith Karl, Executive Secretary, UNCDF

Moderator: David Jackson, Director, Local Development Finance, UNCDF


·       Honorable Madam Noraini Binti Roslan, Mayor of Subang Jaya, Malaysia

·       Khomotso Letsatsi, Chief Officer: Municipal Finance, Fiscal Policy & Economic Growth, South African Local Government Association (SALGA)

·       Michael Wodzicki, Director, Strategies and Development, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)

·       Frederic Audras, Head of Urban Development Division, Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

·       Tehmina Akhtar, Deputy Director, Local Development Finance, UNCDF

Looking forwards to seeing you at the meeting.

David Jackson

Director, Local Development Finance

United Nations Capital Development Fund

Leave a Reply