Regional, rural and urban development

Regions in globalisation: redefining regional attractiveness


To achieve inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development, with positive impacts for the well-being of people and places, the OECD supports regions to understand their position in globalisation and the policy levers available to improve regional attractiveness vis-à-vis investors, talent and visitors.


Adopting an innovative and comprehensive methodology, we encourage regions to rethink their approach to territorial development in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. We focus on understanding regions’ international characteristics, identifying existing and new drivers of regional attractiveness, and understanding the regional needs and assets necessary to thrive in the new global environment.


Based on an extensive analysis of strategic dimensions – reflecting both international connections and attractiveness – we provide regions with tailored policy recommendations to enhance their attractiveness to international investors, talent and visitors, and identify innovative governance and coordination mechanisms to support their implementation.


A selection of tools are provided to improve the visibility of participating regions, including: case-study ‘highlights’, webinars to share experiences and good practices, exposure in OECD publications and websites, and access to a network of regions.

Growing network of regions helps us understand the international characteristics of territories


The OECD has drawn together 25 regions from 10 countries to rethink attractiveness and understand the international characteristics of their territories, with more to follow.

Download Regions in Globalisation flyer  EN │ FR │ ES │ IT │ PT


Contact us to join the programme


Regions need to fully understand the challenges emerging from or reinforced by the pandemic

The focus of this project has never been more relevant after the COVID-19 pandemic triggered the most severe recession in nearly a century.


Regions are facing a new economic and sanitary environment prompting a rethink of participation in globalisation, as well as their attractiveness for investors, talent and visitors. An answer to the crisis means regions need to fully  understand the structural challenges emerging or reinforced by the pandemic and how their international profiles may have changed, while maintaining a focus on providing benefits to local residents and businesses, while preserving environment resources.


The indicators below highlight the severity of the crisis at the national level in OECD countries, and also the asymmetric impact between and within regions, as well as the economic interdependence that has been developed between regions in different countries:

 Trade and Investment picture



Statistical and policy analysis with case studies are at heart of the project

To help regions redefine their attractiveness strategies the OECD seeks to determine their position in the new global environment before and after the pandemic (taking into account the impacts of megatrends such as climate change, digitalisation and demographic changes also before the COVID19 crisis).


We assist regions to develop and implement policies that enhance inclusive and sustainable territorial attractiveness, by:


  • Providing statistical analysis based on a quantitative assessment of regional attractiveness in selected OECD countries. Providing unique evidence on existing and emerging drivers of regional attractiveness, and internationalisation factors (e.g. exploring the link between well-being and attractiveness, social inclusion and economic resilience, local talent and foreign-born people, etc.)


  • Developing policy analysis to support national and regional governments in designingpolicies to enhance territorial attractiveness to investors, talent and visitors, as well as increased well-being of residents by building on the experience of OECD and non-OECD peers at national, regional and local level. Supporting the implementation of such policies through improved coordination between public actors across levels and with  private stakeholders.


  • Developing regional case studies to help them utilise globalisation as an asset for regional development in the wake of the COVID pandemic. Focussing on specific territories in terms of industrial or services clusters, urban-rural linkages, and those displaying strong challenges and opportunities in a period of transition due to demographic, environmental and technological changes.


For this project, the OECD has designed an original  methodological framework, bringing together four categories of international connections. 

 This approach allows us to assess the international profile of regions, thus going beyond the criteria of economic exchanges alone:


¨   Infrastructure connections, or the physical connections that a region offers to its potential international partners: roads, airports, ports, rails, broadband internet and logistics;

¨   Human connections consist of foreigners who travel to or settle in a territory, in particular migrants and visitors;

¨   Knowledge connections refer to different dimensions of innovation (foreign researchers, international patent collaborations, etc.) and cultural links;

¨   Business connections, or commercial and financial exchanges, consisting of imports, exports and foreign direct investments.

A selection of reference indicators to assess the international attractiveness profiles of regions are also under development and will cover dimensions including: economic attraction, connectedness, visitor appeal, sustainable development, well-being, and  land use and housing.


International profile of regions 




Regions and globalisation


An original approach to regional internationalisation and its application to the case of France

The COVID-19 crisis demonstrated that local authorities are on the front line when it comes to dealing with the various effects of globalisation. In France, as in OECD countries in general, responsibility for producing and implementing strategies that combine economic development, innovation and internationalisation falls to the regional level. This summary document covers the main lessons learned from OECD policy analysis and statistical work carried out on French regions’ internationalisation. It proposes an original methodology for assessing the position of regions in globalisation and applies this to France, comparing statistical observations with the internationalisation strategies adopted by French the regions. Also presented are multi-level governance measures in which the actors of regional internationalisation are involved.


Publication cover for Regions and Globalisation
  • Read the paper in EN | Also available in FR



Webinar: What makes a region attractive? How to measure and monitor – 29 Nov 2021

Organised by the OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE), with support from the European Commission (DG REGIO), this webinar represents the first in a series on Rethinking Regional Attractiveness. It will inform the OECD’s work on Rethinking territorial development strategies in the new global environment, and the wider CFE activity on Regions in Globalisation. It will enable participants to learn more and exchange views on the OECD’s innovative approach to helping policy-makers understand and assess the international profile of regions, as well as their attractiveness to international investors, talent and visitors.

Webinar: Which relocation strategies for resilient regional development? The Case of nearshoring – 16 September 2021


Nearshoring and Reshoring strategies are tools often mentioned as recovery strategies linked to the COVID-19 crisis. While territories are being urged to reframe their positioning within the globalised world, relocation policies are considered possible instruments for more inclusive and sustainable regional development.

Nearshoring and reshoring may unlock opportunities for the revival of local economies. This seminar will consider some of the conditions needed to make these efficient policies tools for recovery and use the crisis as a transition lever to redesign regional positioning in the post-COVID-19 global environment.


Launch Event:  Regional Development in the New Global Environment: Argentina, Chile and Colombia – 2 July 2021

The regional dimension of the national development plans in the global context of COVID-19

Through the analysis and understanding of the position of the regions in globalisation, the OECD aims to promote a dialogue between the different levels of government and with the private sector and civil society to address regional disparities in Latin America.

The discussion will focus on the regional dimension of national recovery plans and their contribution enhancing the regional position in the new global environment. Furthermore, experience sharing on internationalisation and regional attractiveness policies will contribute to a more resilient, sustainable, and inclusive development after the impact of COVID-19.


Contact Information

If you have questions about the OECD work on regions, or if you are interested in becoming a partner region and/or country, and benefiting from the outcomes of this project, please feel free to contact us directly.

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