Innovation, Proximity and Solidarity: Local Economic Development as Immediate Response

Banner photo credits by Ryoji Iwat

30 - 30/04/2020

UCLG Meets #BeyondTheOutbreak - LLE on LED & Employment

Thematic session: Actions for the immediate response and the generation of employment and sustainable local economic activity from local governments


  1. The health crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is having unpredictable, but surely severe effects on the global economy and employment.
  2. The world is in a deadlock situation, on both supply and demand for services and goods that produces a perverse circle in the whole economic activity, putting at risk the maintenance of employment and companies.
  3. The spread of the crisis, its lack of synchrony, could prolonged in a scenario in which some countries or regions begin to emerge from the situation, others are in its most virulent phase, which complicates a global exit and has impact on commercial activities and human mobility.
  4. Although the crisis management corresponds essentially to the states, the impact on employment and economic activity is experienced at the local level, and local governments must have mechanisms to mitigate, first, and then promote generation of activity and economic, social and environmental growth.
  5. In this context, more than ever, it is necessary to strengthen cooperation, the coordination between cities and leave no one behind. Acting in isolation is useless. Further isolation may not be the solution.
  6. The crisis, and its uncertainty, forces national, regional and local governments to coordination so as to offer a range of economic and social policy measures, with greater component of solidarity (solidarity economy, collaborative economy, social and collaborative initiatives).
  7. Thereby, the coordination between actors, such as public-private partnership, is shown as well as fundamental in order to tackle necessities within territorial systems of health, technology, gender equality, etc.


The main objective is to share and discuss not only the new challenges that the crisis produces and the measures and instruments that are being implemented in the territories, but also to show the value and power of local and regional governments to provide answers at critical moments for employment and economic activity.

Local and regional governments have a key role to play in giving impulse and coordinating different actors’ efforts to maintain or reactivate local economic development systems. This can allow connecting single mitigation and compensatory measures as part of integrated territorial responses and more strategic, forward-looking socio-economic recovery trajectories to ‘build back better’ on more inclusive and sustainable basis.

Furthermore, the opportunity is also given to the involvement of people as main characters in their territories when designing and developing a strategic territorial agenda, with the aim of addressing issues such as ecological, social, health and other crises.

The role of LRGs is also key in linking up and ensure coherence of locally implemented measures with national and global policies as part of multi-level governance frameworks.

It is crucial to reflect on how to give answers both immediate and in the medium term, from the exchange of knowledge and experiences aimed at mitigating the negative effects of the crisis on the economy and employment. At national level, this means reopening debates such as basic income, securing basic services for unemployed people or those in precarious employment, but also the territories, boosting the activity of self-employed people and promoting more resilient and sustainable economic and productive models.

This can include addressing the reorientation and re-localization of key productive activities, promoting shorter supply chains and integrated production and consumption circuits, alternative marketing and provision/distribution arrangements, targeted procurement measures, alternative economic practices that connect local offer and demand for goods and services such as SSE and circular economy, and other measures directed at preserving and restoring the livelihoods of most vulnerable and marginalized groups of society. 

The opportunities of sharing and learning between local initiatives is huge within the crisis period and it is urgent for local leaders the design and articulation of responses, so as to elevate the debate to the national level, on which resources are usually provided.

UCLG and its Committee on Local Economic and Social Development, in association with Metropolis et UN-Habitat, will launch a live learning experience for local and regional governments on Wednesday, April 30, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (GMT +1) to promote debate, exchange and search for solutions to challenges that are global and local at the same time. The session will be one more opportunity to highlight the work of the LRGs, anticipating crisis situations and answering, on the front line, to citizens.