The Bartlett Development Planning Unit


DPU staff contribute to UCLG hosted discussion on how governments are addressing the COVID-19 crisis

31 May 2020

Videos of the contributions by DPU's Dr Barbara Lipietz and Prof Adriana Allen to United Cities and Local Governments' (UCLG) #BeyondTheOutbreak Live Learning Experience virtual sessions can be watched online.


Launched jointly by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), Metropolis, and UNHabitat on March 25th, 2020, the #BeyondTheOutbreak Live Learning Experience virtual sessions aim to bring together Local and Regional Governments, their associations, and partner organisations to allow and promote meaningful exchange as they find themselves confronting the COVID-19 crisis while maintaining an orderly functioning of public services.

Following an initial consultation held during the launching session, the eighth thematic Live Learning Experience, held on Wednesday 29 April in collaboration with Cities Alliance, explored how local and regional governments were addressing the COVID-19 crisis and its relationship with contexts of informality. Over 200 participants joined the session.

A number of key findings emerged throughout the sessions, all of which furthered the central argument that local and regional governments play and will continue to play a critical role in addressing informalities during and beyond the current COVID-19 pandemic. A briefing & learning note published by UCLG details some of the findings generated.

A key point that was raised by participants was the need to properly acknowledge the initiatives of communities themselves and provide enabling environments that are conductive for harnessing grassroot action. DPU’s Barbara Lipietz, emphasised how communities are coming up with place-based, nuanced responses which need to be recognised and fostered. Barbara also highlighted how essential it is to shed light on alternatives and positive responses, to ensure a response to the crisis that also covers our structural vulnerabilities and thus brings us not to normality, but to a “better” normality.


In contributing to the discussion around the issue of protecting women and informal workers in the informal economy, DPU’s Adriana Allen made the point that we must work hard to ensure that people living and working in informal contexts actively participate in society. The discussion highlighted the importance that informal workers play in society.


The full video can be found on UCLG’s YouTube channel.