Regional, rural and urban development

Regional Development Policy Newsletter





Previous newsletter

April-June 2021

We are pleased to share with you recently released publications of the Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC). We invite you to share this widely with your networks!

Official RDPC delegates can download all publications either on the O.N.E. Members & Partners platform or from the OECD iLibrary using the codes available on the ONE Community.


OECD Policy responses to COVID-19 - UPDATES



The territorial impact of COVID-19: Managing the crisis across levels of government

We have been tracking geographic impacts of COVID-19 since the start of the crisis. The 4th edition of The territorial impact of COVID-19: Managing the crisis and recovery across levels of government takes an in-depth look at territorial impact across its many dimensions: health, economic, social and fiscal. It provides a unique comparison of regional disparities in vaccination rates and it sheds light on how vaccination campaigns are being managed among levels of government across OECD regions. 

Updated 10 May 2021

Read the paper EN | FR



5 May OECD Regional Outlook 2021: Addressing COVID-19 and Moving to Net-Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The 2021 edition of the OECD Regional Outlook shows that a place-based approach is vital for resilience in the face of both these challenges. It analyses the different territorial impacts of COVID-19 on health and the economy, as well as policy responses. The report explores the different territorial implications of moving to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 whilst adapting to inevitable climate change and provides fresh analysis of regional data as well as insights for integrating the climate challenge into multi-level governance and urban and rural development so as to leave no region behind. Country notes online provide indications about where regions stand in the transition to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Read the book |Policy Highlights EN | ES | IT




28 April Applying the Degree of Urbanisation: A Methodological Manual to Define Cities, Towns and Rural Areas for International Comparisons

This manual has been produced in close collaboration by six organisations — the European Commission, FAO, UN-Habitat, ILO, OECD, and the World Bank. It presents a harmonised methodology to facilitate international statistical comparisons and to classify the entire territory of a country along an urban-rural continuum. The manual is intended to complement and not replace the definitions used by national statistical offices (NSOs) and ministries, to be used  as a guide for data producers, suppliers and statisticians when implementing the methodology within their data collections.

Read the book




22 June | Implications of remote working adoption on place based policies: A focus on G-7 countries

The COVID-19 crisis has brought substantial changes to the way people interact and firms conduct their business. Global lockdowns have accelerated the uptake and acceptance of remote working - which will likely remain in its hybrid form in the post-pandemic scenario. Changes in patterns of work have implications for regional development and a range of policy areas (e.g. land use, environment). Irrespective of the post-pandemic scenario, policies need to be forward-looking to seize the benefits of remote working for all types of regions and adapt to the effects of changes in settlement patterns. This report proposes a number of policy takeaways to guide short and long-term policy making to better prepare regions for what may be a “new normal” and identifies different scenarios of settlement patterns that could emerge post-COVID-19.

Read the book| Policy Highlights EN  FR  ES  JP




25 Jun | Global State of National Urban Policy 2021: Achieving Sustainable Development Goals and Delivering Climate Action

COVID-19 has amplified the potential of NUPs in shaping more resilient, green and inclusive cities as part of countries recovery packages. Building on the first edition launched in 2018, this report,  reviews how and in what forms NUPs (in 162 countries) have been developed, implemented and monitored to assist national governments in advancing NUP processes, especially in creating stronger links with urban-related global and regional agendas, and in mainstreaming climate action into NUPs. The report is a co-creation of the OECD, UN-Habitat and Cities Alliance, as a key outcome of the National Urban Policy Programme, a global partnership launched in 2016 at the Habitat III Conference

Read the book





30 June | Access and Cost of Education and Health Services: Preparing Regions for Demographic Change

Current population trends and the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce the need for efficient public service provision while guaranteeing good access to all. Population decline and ageing in rural regions affect the provision of services through lower economies of scale and scope, professional shortages and longer distances. This report provides internationally comparable fine-grained present and future estimates of the cost and physical access to education and health services in European countries. The report finds that demographic change in the next decades will likely further strain the trade-off between costs and access, especially in remote rural areas. This report aims to support evidence-based policy decisions to ensure service provision allows for both cost efficiency and a sufficient level of access in all territories.

Read the book | Policy highlights EN FR | Video

National and subnational reviews



18 May | The Circular Economy in Granada, Spain

While COVID-19 put many economic activities on hold, it also created momentum towards more sustainable production and consumption patterns, in line with carbon neutrality goals. This report summarises the findings of a two-year policy dialogue with the city of Granada in Spain, and provides recommendations and a vision to transition to a circular economy. It draws on Granada’s experience with the transformation of a wastewater treatment plant into a bio factory in 2015. The report argues that the city can play a role as a promoter, facilitator and enabler of the circular economy. This will require a collective and coordinated approach across all stakeholders and levels of government.

Read the book




11 June | Mining Regions and Cities: The case of Andalusia, Spain

This study identifies how Andalusia can build on its strengths and address current and future challenges to accelerate recovery from COVID-19 and improve local well-being while assisting EU climate goals. Andalusia is the largest mining producer in Spain, the second-largest copper producer in the EU and a leader in marble and gypsum production. The region benefits from two distinct mining subsectors, the metallic mining sector (e.g. copper and zinc), which accounts for most of the regional mining production, and the non-metallic sector (ornamental rocks and aggregates). The regional mining value chain has the potential to leverage the increasing global and EU demand for sustainable raw materials and thus become a frontrunner in leading technologies and circular processes for environmentally sustainable mining.

Read the book | Policy Highlights




23 Jun | Housing Affordability in Cities in the Czech Republic

While the full effects of COVID-19 on housing affordability in the Czech Republic remain to be seen, the pandemic has reinforced the urgency of tackling pre-existing challenges, such as a consistent shortage of housing supply in cities and structural obstacles for urban households to access affordable housing. While the Czech national government has taken a number of emergency measures to help people keep their homes during the COVID-19 crisis, this report recommends that Czech national and local governments need to implement both direct and indirect policy instruments more effectively to shape a more sustainable and inclusive urban paradigm. This report also contains the results from an innovative OECD and Ministry of Regional Development-conducted survey of more than 1 800 municipalities.

Read the book




30 June | Better Governance, Planning and Services in Local Self-Governments in Poland

This report provides an assessment of public governance and territorial development in Polish local self-government units (LSGUs). It offers key recommendations to governments at the national, regional and local levels in Poland on how to enhance development, improve service delivery and strengthen management processes within LSGUs. It addresses eight key thematic areas, including strategic planning, co-ordination across administrative units and policy sectors, multi-level governance and investment capacity, monitoring and evaluation practices, budgeting, strategic workforce management, open government, and regulatory policy to reduce administrative burden and simplify public procurement. The report proposes a classification of LSGUs in Poland based on OECD typology, in order to reflect the economic functionality of specific regions/territories as a means to help LSGUs design more effective local development policies.

Read the book

OECD Regional Development Papers

20 May | 15 Years of Water Wisdom: The OECD Water Legacy 2016-2021

With an estimated 3 billion people lacking access to basic handwashing facilities, the COVID-19 pandemic underscored the far-reaching impact of mismanaged water. Through a range of policy, finance and governance tools for water management, the work of the OECD over the past 15 years has contributed to improving water security globally.

28 May Administrative Capacity Building Self-assessment Instrument for Managing Authorities of EU Funds under Cohesion Policy

This Self-assessment Instrument offers subjective evaluation elements, complemented by insights and good practices to support Managing Authorities develop actions that will strengthen capacities pertinent to their administrative needs and priorities.

28 May| Champion Mayors: 5 Years of Inclusive Growth in Cities

Cities worldwide are engines of growth and prosperity. However, the benefits they generate are unevenly shared across social groups and often fail to trickle down to certain categories of the population. This stocktaking document highlights the progress made on inclusive growth over the past five years in Champion Mayor cities.

11 June | Building the STRING Megaregion as a Green Hub in the Wake of COVID-19

STRING is a political cross-border organisation spanning five cities across Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Seizing the political momentum of the coming decade, including supporting a green COVID-19 recovery, will be critical to advance STRING’s green vision and shape a future-proof economic model. 

29 June | A Territorial Approach to SDGs in Córdoba, Argentina

The province of Córdoba in Argentina has started to integrate the SDGs in its governmental actions to deliver social inclusion. The province has established three axes of governmental action linked to the SDGs – social justice, sustainable economic growth and strengthening institutions.

29 June | A Territorial Approach to SDGs in Paraná, Brazil

The state of Paraná in Brazil has used its last multi-year plan (2016-2019) to promote the SDGs as a tool to reduce territorial disparities and to foster the exchange of good practices among municipalities at different levels of development.r

29 June | A Territorial Approach to SDGs in Kitakyushu, Japan

Over recent decades, the city of Kitakyushu in Japan has transformed from a manufacturing hub into a city prioritising sustainability. SDGs are increasingly integrated in local development strategies, notably through the participation of the city in the SDGs Future Cities Initiative of the Japanese government.


30 June | Self-assessment tool for local selft-governments in Poland: Strenthening governance for more effective development strategies

This paper presents a Self-assessment Tool (SAT) to help local self-government units (LSGUs) in Poland strengthen public governance practices in the design and implementation of local development strategies. It provides key indicators to enable counties and municipalities to assess main strengths and gaps in public governance and local development practices. 




20 April | La ville de demain doit être inclusive, verte et intelligente / Morocco / Medias 24 / Aziza Akhmouch

25 April | Urbanisme : à quoi ressemblera la ville de demain ?  / Morocco/ Les Inspirations éco / Aziza Akhmouch

3 May | Navigating the crisis: think small first to build back better /Cogito / Lamia Kamal-Chaoui

19 May | Circular Economy: An Opportunity for the New Normal in Granada, Spain / Cogito / Ander Eizaguirre

21 May | Mayors Champion Strategies for Green, Inclusive and Thriving Cities Post COVID-19 / Cogito / Liv Gaunt

21 May | Water Governance in Asia-Pacific / IUCN / Aziza Akhmouch and Maria Salvetti

9 June  | Mexico Needs to Get its Cities Right to Recover From COVID-19 / Cogito / Oscar Huerta Melchor

16 June |  Future Cities and Champion Mayors: City-to-city cooperation / / Aziza Akhmouch

29 June | Counting the Cost: Maintaining Access to Education and Health Services in Rural Areas / Cognito / Ana Moreno Monroy

Upcoming events

7 July 2021 │Webinar: The Territorial Dimension of Trust

13:00-14:30 (CEST)

This webinar will gather experts from around the world to discuss the local drivers of trust in government and how to develop targeted strategies for a resilient recovery. Agenda | Register

8 July 2021 Webinar: Spatial Inequalitities during and after the COVID-19 Pandemic

16:00-17:15 (CEST)

This webinar is part of a series of webinars that aim to carve a comprehensive overview of the COVID-inequality nexus in a number of areas including: income, spatial inequality, labour, gender, education, mental health and more. Agenda  Register


12 July 2021G20 Circular Cities Conference

12:00-15:00 (CEST)

The G20 Circular Cities Conference aims to stimulate a reflection on how to accelerate the circular economy transition through coordination across levels of government. Agenda  Register



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