Commonwealth Local Government Forum

Americas \ Local government service delivery

Equitable and efficient service delivery is at the heart of local government’s mandate. The resources in this section focus on the management and delivery of key strategic, corporate and technical services, ranging from those for which local government has direct responsibility, to shared service provision, and services for which local government is a partner.


  • Climate change management and adaption
  • Environmental management
  • Social services
  • Spatial/development planning
  • Strategic planning
  • Waste management and sanitation
  • Water and utilities
  • Partnerships for service delivery
  • Housing
  • Infrastructure


Institutional Collective Action During COVID-19: Lessons in Local Economic Development

At this point, little is known about local government responses to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. This crisis is happening on Main Streets around the nation. This article examines how some local governments are taking collective action in partnership with other governments as well as with organizations at the local and regional levels. What is unique is that collective action is rare as it relates to traditional economic development practices, yet it is occurring and leading to offerings of multi-institutional grants and low-interest loans. However, some newer supply- and demand-side actions are the result of a lack of resources and need for expediency. Practitioners can learn about the collaborative economic development actions that governments are taking and how these partnerships can stabilize their local economies.

Author: Darrin H. E. Wilson Brad A. M. Johnson Eric Stokan Michael Overton Publisher: Wiley Online Library Publication year: 2020

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through decentralisation and the role of local governments: a systematic review

This paper is about the role of local democracy and governance to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Increased reliance on locally generated revenue, difficulties in managing networks of actors with diverse goals and objectives, imperfect flow of information, and trust deficit in stakeholders pose major challenges to achieving SDGs locally. By doing a systematic review of the recent literature on decentralisation with examples from different local governments, the paper outlines ways in which these challenges could be addressed. The paper also highlights the need for enhancing local leadership capabilities and demarcation of responsibilities among local politicians and bureaucrats, a point missed in the SDG agenda.

Author: Joydeep Guha, Bhaskar Chakrabarti Publisher: Commonwealth Journal of Local Government Publication year: 2019


This report – an outcome of an expert group meeting held on the challenge of local government financing in developing countries – documents both the challenges and solutions related to the ability of local governments to mobilize revenues from local resources. The report also identifies successful governance mechanisms for efficient and equitable provision of public services in metropolitan areas of developing countries, and shares experiences and methods to making public service provision more viable in peri-urban areas of large cities and in smaller urban centres of these countries.

Author: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Publisher: United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Publication year: 2015

Municipal Finances A Handbook for Local Governments

This book reviews lessons learned about intergovernmental relations, metropolitan finance, financial management, revenues management, expenditures management, public assets management, external funding, and municipal finances performance measurement. It spans the arc from decentralization to transparency and accountability and travels the less-charted waters of assets management, creditworthiness, response to financial crisis, reporting mechanisms to various levels of government and civil representation. 

Author: The World Bank Publisher: The World Bank Publication year: 2014

Local Government Finance: The Challenges of the 21st Century, Second Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy

This report builds on the 2008 First Global Report on Decentralization and Local Democracy (GOLD I), which provides a broad based overview of local government systems around the world. GOLD II focuses on a specific aspect of decentralization—the fiscal architecture and performance of local governments. This topic was chosen for GOLD II because fiscal architecture is fundamental to ensuring that local governments can deliver public services and function successfully in meeting other essential responsibilities.

Author: United Cities and Local Governments Publisher: United Cities and Local Governments Publication year: 2010

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