Regional, rural and urban development

Regional Development Policy Newletter - December 2020


December 2020

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

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

Colleagues at the RDPC Secretariat wish you all the very best for the close of 2020. We thank you for your presence throughout this trying year. We hope to be able to resume meetings in a normal fashion and welcome you in Paris again in 2021.



OECD Regions and Cities at a Glance 2020

The report provides a comprehensive assessment of the resilience for regions and cities across the OECD with new regional and city-level indicators for measures of social, economic, environmental and financial resilience. The report also provides new evidence on the capacity of regions and cities to cope with the economic fallout, highlighting differences in the capacity of remote working across places, urban-rural gaps in digitalisation and the very different starting points in terms of local economic outcomes.

See also the Regions and Cities Statistical Atlas web tool that allows visualising maps and charts for a wide range of statistical indicators at the subnational scale - all of which are downloadable in CSV format.

30 November 2020

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Managing Environmental and Energy Transitions for Regions and Cities

This report offers guidance on how to prepare regions and cities for the transition towards a climate-neutral and circular economy by 2050 and is directed to all policymakers seeking to identify and implement concrete and ambitious transition pathways. It describes how cities, regions, and rural areas can manage the transition in a range of policy domains, including energy supply, conversion, and use, the transformation of mobility systems, and land use practices.

18 November 2020

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Transport Bridging Divides

This report summarises the benefits of transport investment for economic growth and job creation and for catching up in OECD regions. The report consider inequality in access to opportunities using the EC-ITF-OECD Urban Access Framework and how transport can bridge social divides by taking a closer look at accessibility within OECD cities. The report highlights the need to go beyond transport infrastructure investment and consider wider urban planning, as well as complementary measures in regions.

11 December 2020

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Improving Transport Planning for Accessible Cities

Building sustainable transport networks for accessible cities requires a holistic planning approach, a sound institutional framework, reliable sources of funding, strong governmental capacity, and should build on community engagement. Urban accessibility requires coherent allocation of responsibilities across levels of government to support strategic planning. The report proposes concrete actions that cities can take to adapt their institutional framework, to improve transport planning and ensure they have access to sustainable sources of funding.

11 December 2020

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Broad-based Innovation Policy for All Regions and Cities

This publication summarises the main findings of a series of high-level expert workshops, organised with support by the European Commission, to deepen the understanding how OECD countries can move towards a broad‑based form of innovation policy for regions and cities. It seeks to help empower firms to benefit from global trends and technological change, in order to better adapt to the different capacity and innovation eco‑systems across regions and cities.

15 October 2020

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The Circular Economy in Cities and Regions

This synthesis report builds on the findings from 51 cities and regions contributing to the OECD Survey on the Circular Economy in Cities and Regions and on lessons learnt from OECD Policy Dialogues. The report provides circular economy good practices, obstacles and opportunities, analysed through the lens of the 3Ps analytical framework (people, policies and places). It concludes with policy recommendations, a Checklist for Action and a Scoreboard to self-assess the governance conditions to foster the transition towards the circular economy in cities and regions.

28 October 2020

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Rural Well-being: Geography of Opportunities

Fully taking into account the variety of situations characterising rural regions, this new policy framework leverages improved data and analysis while broadening the scope from economic focus to encompass the environmental and social dimensions of well-being. Recognising the strong interdependencies between different stakeholders and the need for partnerships between government, the private sector and civil society to successfully implement policies, the Rural Well-being Policy Framework focuses on governance mechanisms, including the OECD Principles on Rural Policy.

5 October 2020

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Asian Water Development Outlook 2020: Advancing water security across Asia-Pacific

Despite considerable achievements in Asia-Pacific region, 1.5 billion people in rural areas and 0.6 billion in urban areas still lack adequate water supply and sanitation. Sound water management and reliable service delivery remain vital to inclusive economic growth and well-being, especially after COVID-19. AWDO 2020 includes chapters highlighting the importance of finance and governance to water security, building on the OECD Council Recommendation on Water and the OECD Principles on Water Governance.

December 2020

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National and subnational reviews

A territorial approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Bonn, Germany.

The city of Bonn, Germany, has gone through a comprehensive process to link the city’s 2030 Sustainability Strategy to the SDGs. The Strategy seeks to address the main challenges faced by the city in terms of providing affordable housing, expanding and maintaining green spaces, shifting to clean forms of transport and energy, and providing employment opportunities for all, especially for low-skilled workers. The SDGs provide a holistic framework to manage trade-offs between climate, sustainable mobility and affordable housing goals, while striving to reduce inequalities.

26 October 2020

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A territorial approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Flanders, Belgium

With strong economic performance, low unemployment and a well-educated population, Flanders is using the SDGs to respond to demographic, climate and digitalisation megatrends. A territorial approach to the SDGs can accelerate the transition to more sustainable pathways in Flanders if federal, regional, provincial and local sustainable development strategies are strategically aligned, and sufficient funding is ensured for innovative sustainability solutions.

16 November 2020

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A territorial approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Southern Denmark, Denmark

With low poverty rates and levels of inequality, high satisfaction with regional government, and strong innovative potential, the region of Southern Denmark is well equipped to tackle environmental challenges, such as air pollution and historically polluted sites. Municipalities can use the SDGs to improve local development strategies, scale up initiatives, and further develop potential for public-private partnerships.

16 November 2020

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A territorial approach to the Sustainable Development Goals in Viken, Norway

The newly formed Viken county government has endorsed the SDGs as a framework for implementing the Regional Planning Strategy for a Sustainable Viken.
The sustainable development challenges and opportunities vary across its 51 municipalities, between highly-urbanised and largely rural areas. The SDGs can be used to promote better access to economic development and labour market opportunities, and disparities in skills training and education.

16 November 2020

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Auditing Decentralised Policies in Brazil: Collaborative and Evidence-Based Approaches for Better Outcomes

The report offers a model for audit institutions to assess multi-level governance, and explores governance models for stronger collaboration among the courts of accounts in Brazil. These approaches may inspire and inform other supreme audit institutions with responsibilities for auditing decentralised policies and programmes involving central, regional and local governments.

26 November 2020

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OECD Policy responses to COVID-19 - UPDATES


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

This paper takes an in-depth look at the territorial impact of the COVID-19 crisis in its different dimensions: health, economic, social and fiscal. It provides examples of responses by national and subnational governments to help mitigate the territorial effects of the crisis, and offers ten takeaways on managing COVID-19’s territorial impact. The paper offers a forward-looking perspective to discuss the crisis’ implications for multi-level governance as well as points for policy-makers to consider as they build more resilient regions. This note was prepared within the framework of the Regional Development Policy Committee.

Updated 10 November 2020

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COVID-19 and key workers: What role do migrants play in your region?

During COVID-19 lockdowns it became visible that migrants are often important in sectors that are crucial for the functioning of everyday life. This note provides an assessment of the role of foreign-born workers in essential services (referred to as migrant key workers) at the regional level for 31 European countries. It examines the share of migrant key workers in regional labour markets, their importance in jobs with different skill requirements, and differences between EU and non-EU migrants. This note was prepared within the framework of the Regional Development Policy Committee.

Updated 26 November 2020

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OECD Regional Development Working/Policy Papers

The geography of Swedish SMEs’ investments: Financial constraints across the urban-rural hierarchy in a wealthy country with low regional disparities

This paper advances our knowledge of the spatial determinants of productivity by empirically demonstrating one such mechanism – clear differences along the urban-rural continuum in the sensitivity of SMEs’ investments to own cash flow. Sweden is a highly digitalised country with low regional inequalities. We find that the world of financing is not yet flat for the majority of Swedish SMEs. Companies located in non-metro regions are most dependent on own cash flow in their investments.

19 October 2020

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Leading practices for resource benefit sharing and development for and with Indigenous communities

This paper summarises leading practices for benefit sharing, workforce development, and business and governance development for and with Indigenous peoples. The paper covers six key policy areas: i) Indigenous benefits funds and benefit sharing agreements, ii) Indigenous governance, iii) Indigenous entrepreneurship, iv) Indigenous education and training, v) Indigenous employment, and vi) Indigenous community programmes.

28 October 2020

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The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on regional and local governments: Main findings from the joint CoR-OECD survey

This Brief summarises the main findings from the CoR-OECD COVID-19 Survey on “The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on regional and local governments: governance, finance and recovery plans”. This on-line survey was carried out in June and July 2020 among representatives of subnational governments of the European Union. Answers were received from 300 subnational government respondents representing 24 countries.

19 November 2020

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Roads, market access and regional economic development

The increase in market access that the expansion of the road network and the growth of Europe created between 1990 and 2012 raised GDP, employment and attracted population. Predominantly urban, intermediate and predominantly rural regions benefit equally from improvements in access, however, the investment required to create the same degree of improvement in the three types of regions varies substantially.

4 December 2020

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Developing transit-oriented communities for better accessibility and affordability: The case of the Metro Vancouver Region

The development of transit-oriented communities (TOC) is a central element in the promotion of accessibility in the Metro Vancouver Region (MVR). The purpose of this paper is to draw lessons from the MVR’s experience in transit-oriented initiatives to contribute to the development of compact, connected and green urban centres.

11 December 2020

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Planning mobility in a fragmented metropolitan area: The case of Prague and its suburbs

A common urban mobility plan for Prague and its metropolitan region as well as the creation of an integrated transport system coordinated by a central transport body are the main assets Prague can leverage to enhance accessibility. This paper aims to draw policy lessons from Prague’s mobility strategy and suggesting recommendations that could improve its effectiveness in enhancing accessibility.

11 December 2020

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Overcoming administrative fragmentation for better mobility and accessibility: The case of the Madrid Autonomous Community

Overcoming administrative fragmentation to build an integrated public transport network is one of the main actions taken in the Madrid Region to improve mobility. This paper aims to reveal policy lessons from the experience of the Madrid Region in fostering urban mobility and accessibility, which could inspire policy change in other EU cities.

11 December 2020

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Asymmetric decentralisation: Trends, challenges and policy Implications

A growing number of countries in the OECD and beyond are moving toward asymmetric decentralisation. This paper aims to shed light on the various forms of asymmetric decentralisation and examines arguments from both economic research and policy practice angles. The paper highlights pitfalls to avoid and good practices when implementing asymmetric decentralisation policies to reap their benefits and to minimise costs.

15 December 2020

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Upcoming events

13 January 2021 – Broad-based Innovation Policy for All Regions and Cities

14:00-15:30 (CET)

The virtual event starts with a presentation of key results from the recent OECD publication Broad-based Innovation Policy for All Cities and Regions to set the scene for a panel discussion on “Innovation Policy for all Regions and Cities: Putting Places on the Path Towards Recovery”, combining views from policy makers at regional, national and supranational levels.

Register in advance…

31 March 2021 – 5th Meeting of the OECD Champion Mayors Initiative, Bilbao, Spain

This meeting will launch cutting- edge research and renew the Champion Mayors commitment to inclusive growth with the publication of a new political outcomes document. The meeting will focus on sustainable and inclusive economic strategies post covid-19 and examine city recovery efforts. It will also launch the new Champion Mayors Inclusive Growth case study for the city of Bilbao.

Find out more…

About us

The OECD Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities provides comparative statistics, analysis and capacity building for local and national actors to work together to unleash the potential of entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises, promote inclusive and sustainable regions and cities, boost local job creation, and support sound tourism policies.

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