Launch of the Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment, a partnership between the OECD and UCLG

Lancement de l’observatoire mondial des finances des collectivités territoriales un partenariat entre l’OCDE et CGLU

Photo credits: OCDE

On 17 November 2017, UCLG co-chaired together with the OECD the first Steering Committee of the World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment. The purpose of the Observatory is to collect data and provide analyses on finance and the institutional setting of subnational governments in the different regions of the world, in order to better understand their contribution to sustainable development policies.

A committee meeting to map out the road towards 2018

At its first meeting, the Observatory Steering Committee gathered together representatives of associations of local and regional authorities from Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, and Europe; national governments of OECD member countries; international institutions specialized in local finance, and development agencies. 

Welcoming participants to the steering committee, Lamia Kamal-Chaoui, Director of the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Local Development and Tourism stated that the Observatory was a way to put multilevel governance into practice. The OECD thus restated its commitment to a subnational analysis of development challenges. 

In connection with the Sustainable Development Goals, UCLG Secretary General, Josep Roig, reaffirmed UCLG’s commitment to its role as a network of networks while supporting capacity-building and partnership in order to contribute to sustainable development: “as SDG 17 encourages us to do”

The committee went over the results of the pilot study conducted in 2016 on Subnational governments around the world: structure and finance and agreed to update it by 2018. The essential features of the project were outlined: it provides reliable and harmonized data for a sample of over one hundred countries in order to monitor and provide a comparative analysis of subnational public finance in varying institutional settings. 

Opportunities for decision support

The steering committee thanked the French Development Agency (AFD) and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) for their continued support and invited new partners to support the project financially. Réjane Hugounenq, Project Manager of the Local Government and Urban Development Department at the AFD hoped that the Observatory would conduct a closer analysis of financial flows and institutional mechanisms to facilitate local investment.

Flo Clucas, CEMR spokesperson on local finance, also highlighted the need for the work of the Observatory to better respond to citizens' demands. Other members, such as the Committee of the Regions also welcomed the initiative and expressed their willingness to contribute to it. Christel Alvergne, Regional Advisor for Africa at the UNCDF, presented the aim of adapting the methodology to around twenty of the least developed countries, which will be included in the updated version of the report in 2018.

After the fruitful discussions, UCLG and the OECD must now work to refine the data collection methodology. The methodological and conceptual challenges of “translating decentralization into numbers” are just as significant as reviewing the experiences of partners, such as UCLG Africa.

Therefore, a work strategy could be started to share knowledge and skills, develop regional networks of experts and deepen partnerships between institutions in order to foster greater ownership of the findings and contribute to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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