ON 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared a global pandemic due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) outbreak as the number of confirmed cases surpassed 200,000 worldwide. Since then, COVID-19 has spread out to more than 200 countries causing deaths of 200,000 people (as of 25 April 2020). The spread of COVID-19 has been affecting many people and cities around the world. Local governments are in the front line and responsible for coordinating their community’s response to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. UCLG ASPAC has taken the initiative to continue connecting cities for insights to tackle the challenge and facilitate city solidarity in difficult times.

Brief Guide – What Local Governments Need to Know

As local governments are the leading actor at the local level and responsible for coordinating their community’s response to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, UCLG ASPAC has facilitated the immediate exchange of information regarding the outbreak by preparing a brief guide informing what local governments need to know about COVID-19. The guide also incorporates practices from cities and regions and it is published on the UCLG ASPAC website. It helps provide information on what city leaders have done and steps they have taken in protecting the people’s lives from the disease.

Thematic Discussions through WebShare Sessions

UCLG ASPAC, in cooperation with partners, organises a series of WebShare sessions to disseminate the practices of cities and local governments and to update the current local challenges and strategies in facing global pandemic.

#1 WebShare (3 April 2020)
Theme: Experience of Local Governments in Indonesia in Tackling COVID-19
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#2 WebShare (9 April 2020)
Theme: Local Governments’ Actions on COVID-19 in Asia-Pacific Region
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#3 WebShare (16 April 2020)
Theme: Global Cooperation for Managing Global Trends and Building the Future Together
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#4 WebShare (17 April 2020)
Theme: Local Governments’ Roles in Providing Supporting Data for Making National Strategy in Responding to Impacts of COVID-19
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#5 WebShare (23 April 2020)
Theme: Local Governments’ Action to Mitigate the Economy Impacts of COVID-19 in Asia-Pacific Region
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Mayor Tri Rismaharani of Surabaya, President of UCLG ASPAC, utilised the opportunity to greet and support city representatives in WebShares #1 and #2, and encouraged members to keep the positivity and productivity during this difficult situation. The bond amongst members during this difficult situation was getting strong. On the occasion of WebShare, Mayor Madelaine Alfelor of Iriga, treasurer of UCLG World, thanked Xi’an City for its support and emphasised that “a friend in need is a friend indeed.”

The Webshare Sessions were attended by mayors, governors, local government officials, representatives from the relevant Ministries, UN bodies and many other stakeholders including civic society and the academe. The results of discussion include the need to synchronise data at local and national levels to ensure that support reaches the target groups, to improve transparency, and to provide clear information to the public. Moreover, there have also been many local initiatives implemented by members including the mobile market, digitalisation of the traditional public market in cooperation with online motor taxies, stimulus package to small and medium-size enterprises, unique approaches on social and physical distancing, among others.

Facilitating City Solidarity

UCLG ASPAC has also facilitated city solidarity and support. Xi’an City (China) provided medical supplies (masks, hazmat, thermometer, etc.) to Iriga City (Philippines). Haikou City (China) has also provided more than 50,000 masks to Jakarta City (Indonesia). More cities in China and South Korea plan to donate the supplies and equipment under the coordination with UCLG ASPAC Secretariat.

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