Regional development

World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment


About the Observatory

The World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment (SNG-WOFI) is a multi-stakeholder initiative, which was jointly established by the OECD and United Cities and Local Government (UCLG) in November 2017.

It is dedicated to collecting comparable data and information on subnational government structure and finance from 130 countries, and aims to support decision-making by national and subnational governments as well as international organisations.

The SNG-WOFI provides policy and decision makers with a variety of resources dedicated to shedding more light on subnational government finance and investment. These include individual country profiles, a comparative synthesis report, and an SNG-WOFI website that includes an interactive database and visualisation tools (currently under development).

This initiative is led by a Steering Committee and supported by the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), the Development Partners Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG), and the French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement, AFD).




  • Ensure standardised, reliable and transparent access to data on subnational government structure, finance and investment.
  • Support dialogue and decision-making on multi-level governance and subnational finance among governments and international organisations.
  • Serve as a capacity-building tool for subnational governance and finance.




The Steering Committee is guiding the work of this initiatve and two Steering Committee meetings were organised in 2017 and 2018. A methodological guide was developed to help data collection by focal points around the world.

This SNG-WOFI initiative follows a 2016 pilot study conducted by the OECD and UCLG entitled Subnational Governments Around the World: Structure and Finance. This was the first large-scale comparative study undertaken on this topic, covering over 100 countries. It revealed that subnational governments are responsible for 25% of public expenditure worldwide, or 9% of GDP, and 40% of public investment. In OECD countries, 60% of public investment comes from subnational governments.   






2019 International Conference


The first International Conference of the World Observatory on Subnational Government Finance and Investment: Towards a global understanding of multilevel governance and finance systems will be organised in Paris, France (OECD Headquater) on 17 June 2019.

At this event, the 2019 World Observatory Report will be presented together with the interactive web database of comparable data on subnational government organisation and finance in over 120 countries.


Agenda (English)

 | French

Register here | S’enregistrer



Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

United Cities and Local Government (UCLG)

The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) Agence Française de Développement (AFD)
Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) The Development Partners Network on Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG)
Lincoln Institute of Land Policy 


The Second Steering Committee Meeting


 Group photo of the 2nd steering committee meeting of the World Observatory of subnational finance, 17/12/2018, Paris, OECD Headquarters

The Second Steering Committee was held on 17 December 2018 to review the initiative’s progress in its first year.


Participants had the opportunity to discuss: 

  • The outcomes of the first year of co-operation among the partners and members of the Steering Committee
  • The methodological guide for gathering and analysing data and information, including the challenges encountered in that process, and how to address them
  • Progress in data collection and information gathering for over 100 countries
  • A preliminary comparative analysis of the dataset and next steps 
  • The first iterations of the database and visualisation tools for the web platform
  • Advancing the initiative, including the conference and report launch event scheduled for 17 June 2019 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris

UNCDF and AFD explained how they are supporting the World Observatory’s activities. Participants also welcomed the CEB and the DeLoG as active partners of the World Observatory.





Photo highlights





The First Steering Committee Meeting


 The group photo of the first meeting of the Steering Committee for the initiative on 17 November 2017, at the OECD headquarters.

The first meeting of the Steering Committee, held in Paris on 17 November 2017 at the OECD Conference Centre officially launched the Observatory.


This meeting brought together almost 50 participants to reflect on and initiate a multi-level approach to collecting, analysing and disseminating information on subnational finance and investment. Participants included:

  • Representatives of national governments: Belgium, Chile, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovak Republic, Korea;
  • Representatives of associations of subnational governments: Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South East Europe (NALAS), United Cities and Local Governments-Africa, United Cities and Local Governments-Asia Pacific, Council of European
  • Municipalities and Regions, National Confederation of Municipalities of Brazil, Commonwealth Local Government Forum, Forum of Regions, Mercociudades, Metropolis, Association internationale des maires francophones;
  • EU institutions: European Commission, EU Committee of the Regions;
  • International Organisations and institutions: Council of Europe, United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF);
  • Multilateral and national development banks: Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Asian Development Bank
  • Foundations, institutes, and other networks: Decentralisation and Local Governance (DeLoG) Network, Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.





Photo highlights







Please contact Dorothée Allain-Dupré|Isabelle Chatry

For more information about our work, please visit:


Related Documents