Local Government Associations

“It is important to stand together, to share information and communication. We, as VNG, are providing research and expertise, and we work on guiding on the right direction, even if we don’t have all the answers.”
Jan Van Zanen,
Mayor of Utrecht and Co-President of UCLG
“Local government associations are supporting communities that help deal with solutions, and providing advice to economic stakeholders to ensure the recovery continues.”
Raf Tuts,
Director, Global Solutions Division, UN-Habitat
“We need to gather the needs and challenges from cities, into a coherent list of policies. We are the joint voice that says that we need these measures.”
Brock Carlton,
CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
“LRGs and their associations will need a different space in the decision-making in the aftermath in order not to go back to how things were. Articulating a joint response with concrete proposals will be critical and a responsibility that UCLG is willing to undertake together with its partners, member cities and associations.”
Emilia Saiz,
UCLG Secretary General
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A group of diverse peoples' hands stacking on top of each other


Local leaders around the world are facing a common challenge of keeping citizens safe while ensuring the provision of basic public goods and services. While they face a common threat, the particularities of each region and territory ask for different approaches to guarantee a safe environment for all. In that context, Local Government Associations (LGAs) play a key role in providing reliable and timely information to their members, supporting collaboration in service provision, and generating awareness and promoting advocacy by liaising local leaders with regional and national authorities. Additionally, they have proven to be a very effective space for the exchange of learnings, best practices and tools amongst members to respond to such an unprecedented challenge. 



During the LLE, 97% of the representatives of LGAs stated that COVID-19 has affected the work of their associations,


and 60% responded that intergovernmental responses have improved throughout the crisis. 


Nonetheless, one of the main challenges being faced by LGAs during the pandemic is still the lack of coordination and consensus between different spheres and levels of government. This results in delayed responses to urgent matters and in contradicting messages from national authorities both to local government actors and to the population. LGAs also expressed to be under extreme pressure as local governments are expected to provide additional public goods and services when funding or other essential resources (such as health equipment) are not available and income through service fees is decreasing drastically. 

Learn more about the challenges being faced by cities and regions


Prior to the pandemic, local and regional governments and LGAs had already expressed the need to be more engaged with national authorities when it comes to creating development policies that will ultimately reflect in the lives of urban citizens. Given the challenges imposed by the crisis, many of which will remain in the years to come, LGAs can be used as a fundamental tool to bridge that gap and have more leverage when advocating for national policies that support local needs. As expressed during the pandemic, appropriate funding to address health, social and economic changes due to the crisis will also be fundamental to build more resilient and inclusive cities. 


Here’s how Brazil’s FNP (Association of Medium and Large Cities) is promoting dialogue between Brazilian mayors and foreign local authorities

The League of Cities of the Philippines has been able to negotiate internal revenue allotments for its members to ease their financial pressure

South Africa’s SALGA is partnering with the private sector to direct support to municipalities


Learn how Quito cooperates with local associations and businesses to expand social assistance to migrant residents

Sfax is working with local and international associations to deliver food baskets to vulnerable migrants

Lampedusa is opening up vacant apartments and public facilities to migrant residents:

Learn more about other responses and initiatives in terms of Local Government Associations:

Key Takeaways

  1. Looking ahead, the crisis could help define and expand the role of Local Government Associations to support their membership.
  2. Solidarity and decentralized cooperation among communities, and dialogue between states and local and regional governments will be key to resolving the current challenges; and UCLG will strengthen this aspect through the different groups, in particular through the Capacity and Institution Building (CIB) working group which is already working to deliver a library of best practices and methodologies.
  3. LGAs, together with local authorities, are filling the gap in terms of information dissemination to local communities when there’s no clear communication coming from the national level.
  4. LGAs are working beyond the public sphere and establishing new partnerships – for instance, by coordinating efforts between local governments and private and academic stakeholders.
  5. Precisely at a time when travelling is very limited, LGAs have become a key platform through which municipalities can exchange ideas, tools and best practices to address common issues. So far LG associations have done a lot in terms of providing online platforms to exchange ideas and enable live interaction between local authorities.

the Press Release

The Outbreak

The pandemic has reinforced the idea that collaboration is paramount if we want to effectively respond to pressing global challenges. Like in a health emergency such as the one we face, as we aim to flight climate change, increasing inequality and many other global issues, it will take global cooperation to find effective, long-lasting solutions. COVID-19 should serve as an example of the role that associations such as LGAs might have in bringing together their members and other key actors and promoting a collaborative, transparent and inclusive approach to address those issues. 

Two hands, one white and one black, coming together in a powerful handshake

Back Better

The UCLG Decalogue

 “An international system built on the force of cities, local and regional governments that learn and define policies together supported by strong associations that will allow scaling up of actions.”


Additional information can be found on this Google Drive provided by the UCLG Capacity and Institution Building. 


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