Collecting experiences and evidence on local and regional responses to COVID19

The COVID19 pandemic will have both sanitary and territorial impacts but regions and cities won’t be hit with the same intensity. Depending on the local capacities of health-care systems, on the resilience of local public services and on local initiatives, impacts will be mitigated more or less rapidly. National governments and European Institutions are taking the lead to find answers to this crisis, but regional and local authorities are also putting emergency mechanisms in place and adapt their services to better support citizens and businesses. 

This is the reason we are interested in ESPON to pool local experiences and territorial policy responses to be shared with all European regions. We are looking for those best practices and local/regional initiatives adapting public services -anything that could help us also to monitor the territorial impact of the crisis and design better responses for the future.

Some ideas of what we are looking for:

  • How regions/cities adapt services/policies towards people over 65
  • How do they  use/ adjust digital public services to address the situation
  • How is the situation impacting the relations with neighboring regions (especially in border areas)
  • What kind of specific responses have been developed for the population in rural/remote areas
  • What kind of specific local support is provided to SMEs (beyond national financial support)

If you know any of these best practices, let us know. You can send us a short description (400-600 words) by email to [email protected] and we will get in touch with you.


European Research Associations

At the same time, ESPON actively supports the effort of other European Research Associations to collect scientific evidence on the impact of COVID19:

The Regional Studies Association (RSA) is collating resources and evidence on how regions, cities, and industry around the world are dealing with the impact of the COVID19. You can read more about it on their website. The RSA also set up a Pandemics, Cities, Regions and Industry LinkedIn Group for interested researchers and practitioners to join and to discuss work done and findings from their affected region. For further information, please get in touch with the RSA at [email protected] 

The European Regional Science Association (ERSA) is organising a consultation on the spatial, economic and social impacts of Coronavirus where you can participate by filling in the relevant form

The Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie (TESG) invites early geographical investigations into the geography of the Coronavirus to submit research articles and notes -deadline 19 April 2020

Resources for local and regional authorities

EU Institutions and other organisations are also making an effort to collect best practices and examples from successful practices and actions local and regional authorities are implementing to support their citizens, either by adapting their services or by offering new ones. We listed them in this article that we will update anytime we are informed of new ones. If your organisation is running a similar initiative let us know by email to [email protected]

European Institutions

The European Commission announced among a number of measures the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative to mobilize cohesion policy to flexibly respond to the rapidly emerging needs in the most exposed sectors, such as healthcare, SMEs and labour markets, and help the most affected territories in the Member States and their citizens. And proposed a new set of additional measures in the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative Plus. All the COVID-19 related actions and initiatives of the European Commission, including information material can be found on the dedicated website.

The Social Economy Initiative is also collecting initiatives and actions that help in the fight against corona, such as technology solutions, services for elderly, volunteering requests, food delivery services, on-line courses, etc. You can access the open-source file and make your contribution.

DG Regio is inviting to share acts of solidarity or new obstacles that the cross-border regions are facing during the current COVID-19 crisis. You can share news, information or thoughts on Futurium

The Committee of the Regions endorsed an action plan and launched an exchange platform on COVID-19 that will help local and regional authorities to share needs and solutions and enhance mutual support. This platform will also act as a feedback mechanism to enable a reality check of the EU measures from the local and regional angle. The EPP and the PES group of the CoR are also collecting stories from their members.

European Associations of Regions and Cities

Eurocities has created a live update COVID-19 page that presents local initiatives from its members to support their citizens during the crisis. Examples vary from a phone line to help your neighbours in Bratislava, to support for health staff in Paris and corona video for kids in Vienna. You can also contact Eurocities and propose an initiative from your city.

The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) listed the pages of the national associations of local authorities that offer information on COVID-19 for their countries. 

The Association of Cities and Regions for sustainable Resource management (ACR+) is collecting and publishing data on the different systems and solutions implemented across Europe to manage municipal waste during the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim is to gather and exchange practices, and contributions can be made by email to Paolo Marengo

The Polis Network shares examples of how local authorities deal with public transport and urban mobility to support their citizens during the Covid-19 crisis. They can be found on the network's dedicated webpage that offers an overview of useful resources, such as reports, tools and analyses.

The Organisation of World Heritage Cities collects initiatives to mitigate the economic impacts of the crisis in businesses, tourism, culture and major events, in an effort to support its member cities by gathering and sharing all the actions implemented by local and regional governments around the world. 

Other resources

The OECD introduced a web page dedicated to the Coronavirus and the contributions of the organisation to measure the impacts and consequences of the pandemic. It is offering analyses and policy recommendations to address the challenges of the current crisis. 

The Compendium gathered country-specific information on the implications of the pandemic for the cultural sector and the current measures being taken. They are also collecting and curating online cultural initiatives related to the current COVID-19 crisis

The FP7 EPIWORK project is offering computer-based models that would allow to keep up with the spread and evolution of the pandemic

The ICLEI Resilient Development Program is launching a new webinar series, starting with Milan and Quito, where cities will share their stories on resilience and adaptation.

[upd: 02/04/2020]