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]. RSA is also about to launch a Small Grant Scheme to support the research community in these challenging times.

The European Regional Science Association (ERSA) is organising a consultation on the spatial, economic and social impacts of Coronavirus. You can participate by filling in the relevant form and read the contributions o the dedicated forum page

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.

The European Investment Bank (EIB Group) established a EUR 25 billion guarantee fund to deploy new investments in response to COVID-19 crisis

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) developed a 1 billion coronavirus solidarity package to support economies under huge pressure from the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fisheries Areas Network (FARNET) collects best practices from the fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The European Network for Rural Development (ENRD) presents rural responses to the COVID-19 crisis and resources from the EU actions and initiatives

The European Commission's Intelligent Cities offers case studies of technology-based actions cities are implementing to support their citizens and ecosystem in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic. You cal also submit yours.

The Joint Research Centre (JRC) created a website that provides an overview of the measures taken in the area of 35 states (34 UCPM Participating States plus Switzerland)

European Programmes

Urbact presents examples of URBACT cities responses to the COVID crisis including an interactive map

The INTERREG programme POCTEFA collects cross-border experiences from local and regional authorities during the COVID pandemic

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 network created also a page with useful resources on Covid-19 and mobility

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. 

The United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) together with Metropolis and UN-Habitat launched a live learning experience with local and regional government which aims to create a virtual and living community, make available online resources and develop briefings or guides together with UN-Habitat. UCLG also developed a page with initiatives of cultural mobilization of cities, local governments and networks in the COVID-19 crisis.

The Assembly of European Regions (AER) is monitoring the COVID-19 crisis providing links to resources that may be useful to the European regions. 

The C40 network developed a COVID-19 portal that curates third-party journalism, webinars, city COVID-19 initiative trackers, and peer-to-peer support offerings that may be useful for cities. 

The Covenant of Mayors published a selection of platforms to support cities and towns

The Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS) offers a list of good practices of local governments in South-East Europe and their Associations.

The Metropolis Network launched Cities for Global Health, a collaborative online platform that offers access to knowledge, strategies and actionable plans implemented by local and regional governments around the globe, related to the COVID-19 outbreak other health emergencies. 

The European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) is organising a webconference series for local authorities with contributions of one or more local actors and experts sharing experiences of the crisis every Tuesday and Thursday.

The Rurality – Environment – Development (RED) association provides a list of activities of its members to respond to the COVID-19 crisis

The ECOLISE network created a wiki page with community responses including initiatives of local authorities and other resources

The Arc 2020 network published a short selection of local responses to the crisis

The Intercultural Cities of the Council of Europe created a page dedicated to best practices from local and regional authorities

Euromontana collected initiatives that support mountain agriculture during the COVID-19 crisis.

The CIVITAS2020 Initiative offers a collection of resources enabling essential mobility during COVID-19

The Atlantic Cities network offers support to local and regional authorities facing problems with the implementation of their current projects and useful resources to address the effects of the crisis

The Regions 4 sustainable development network offers a number of resources and best practices to address the COVID-19 crisis.

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 organisation also published a note (EN) (also available in French) on the territorial dimension of the COVID-19 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. ICLEI is also offering a pool of resources that can be useful and inspiring to local and regional authorities.

The TEX-MED ALLIANCES, an ENI CBC Programme project, put its knowledge at the disposal of national, regional or local governments and to any organization that might need it, with the mapping of the productive capacities of the Mediterranean area.

The TUMI initiative gathers all available knowledge about COVID-19 and transport in a dedicated page

RURITAGE, a Horizon 2020 project, collecting innovative actions in the midst of the global pandemic crisis to increase and strengthen resilience in rural communities.

[upd: 15/05/2020]