ICLEI Africa supports local and subnational governments during COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is placing huge strain on our communities, our governments, our healthcare systems and our economies. Especially during this time, many of our cities are grappling with immense health emergencies added to existing cumulative and unprecedented sustainability challenges. Building resilience will therefore be even more critical now.

ICLEI Africa is a highly innovative and agile organisation, well placed to quickly adapt and evolve in response to changing circumstances. We are committed to indeed ramp up our efforts to support our cities and regions during this time.


As of 21 September 2020, 1,407,680 COVID-19 cases have been reported in 52 African countries, with over 33,950 deaths and 1,153,967 recoveries. The unprecedented pace at which the global COVID-19 situation is changing is directly impacting cities and local governments and presenting unique challenges to their leaders.

Daily life for local government officials has changed severely. Some are being redeployed to support response operations. Those able to continue with pre-COVID-19 deliverables are doing so with limited access to their offices or from home. This restricts face-to-face meetings and engagements. Those supporting cities and their residents, like the national government, the private sector, development agencies and civil society are facing similar restrictions.

Building resilience in African cities is more critical than ever as we move forward during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. These challenging and uncertain times are forcing us to discover and implement new and innovative ways of working, as good practices emerge and signify a new normal. As the proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”


ICLEI Africa is committed to serving all local and regional governments across the continent, in response to their needs, by providing:

  • Relevant and reputable information
  • Platforms for knowledge sharing
  • Connections between leaders and practitioners to share good practices


We are developing additional ways to support our cities remotely and have introduced the following tools:

  • A webinar series on Building a Resilient Urban Africa during and after a Pandemic presented by CoM SSA and partners. City leaders will share their experiences, knowledge and good practices, and inspire new ways of building resilience at the local level in Africa, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A collection of reputable resources that are relevant, useful and inspiring for local governments in Africa. These resources are available below and are being shared via our Twitter account.

Reputable English resources for African cities



The Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa


Transformative Actions Program (TAP). Finance toolkit

South African National Government. A practical systematic guide towards unlocking municipal climate finance. 

World Resource Institute. Key Investments Can Build Resilience to Pandemics and Climate Change. A WRI blog showcasing ideas about investments in COVID-19 response and in climate change resilience.

UN Capital Development Fund. Why local government finance is essential to the COVID-19 response. This blog series explores the various responses, in particular the financial actions, of local governments against COVID-19.

Sustainable Procurement Platform. Which role can public procurement play towards more resilient cities? Sustainable public procurement can enable public authorities to build resilience of supply-chains and the built environment.

Politico. Follow the green money as coronavirus spreads.

Reuters. ‘Sustainable’ funds a safer harbour in coronavirus market meltdown.

‘We are not putting climate action on pause’. Big investors behind the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance released a statement which starts ‘We are not putting climate action on pause’.

UNCDF. COVID19 Local Government Finance guidance note (Edition 3).

Financing the coronavirus response in sub-Saharan Africa. The coronavirus pandemic is likely to cost sub-Saharan Africa over $100 billion, but African governments must not bear this responsibility alone. New research examines what fiscal measures can support the region through the pandemic.

All hands on deck: how to scale up multilateral financing to face the Covid-19 crisis. This article argues for stepped-up financial support to developing countries’ management of the coronavirus.

Development Finance Institutions and the Coronavirus. ODI suggests shareholders provide space for DFIs to fast-track investments, allow repayment postponements and announce a Bounce Back Better facility.



Webinar feature: Africa’s first epicentre: Sharing COVID-19 experiences from top leaders in South Africa’s Western Cape and global experts. On 15 September, ICLEI Africa hosted prominent political figures and top African scientists in an essential webinar that deep-dived into what it meant when Cape Town became Africa’s first COVID-19 epicentre, and what lies ahead for the continent.

  • TimesLIVE. Western Cape’s decisive leadership ‘helped SA weather Covid-19 crisis’ (16 Sep 2020)
  • iAfrica. Prominent Political Figures, Top Scientists Deep-Dive Into Cape Town Becoming Africa’s First COVID-19 Epicentre (16 Sep 2020)
  • The Citizen. ‘SA at a stage where we are beyond these levels of lockdown’, says Abdool Karim (16 Sep 2020)
  • News24. Abdool Karim: SA heading to low level Covid-19 transmission threshold, but second wave threat remains (15 Sep 2020)


Africa CDC
 is a specialised technical institution of the African Union established to support public health initiatives of Member States and strengthen the capacity of their public health institutions to detect, prevent, control and respond quickly and effectively to disease threats.


ICLEI Africa. African mayors and city leaders stand in solidarity in response to global crises

Cities for Global Health. Collective responses to global health emergencies.

E-Tracking map of the #CoViD19 in Africa. This site has been developed to track the spread of COVID-19 in Africa, in real time. It also offers insights into consequences for health and the economy

Advocacy and ICLEI events affected by COVID-19. ICLEI is tracking the latest developments on how the global crisis is affecting events around the globe.

Sustainability officers report on the effects of COVID-19 crisis on their work. Since the first cases of COVID-19 were reported at the end of 2019, every sector of society around the world has been affected. Sustainability departments are no exception.

The COVID-19 crisis: Are we daring to look beyond? A message from Wolfgang Teubner, ICLEI Regional Director for Europe.

Pressing Forward: Local government climate and sustainability staff speak to uncertainty amid global health crisis. This article captures some of the initial insights and adjustments ICLEI US Members are experiencing across diverse departments.

COVID-19 special: Working remotely for public servants. This free online workshop explains how to stay productive and leverage the full potential of your team while working remotely. 15 April 2020, 4:00 PM CEST – via APOLITICAL

Collective responses to global health emergencies. This page for local and regional governments to share initiatives (e.g. plans, strategies, policies) designed specifically as a reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak and initiatives designed to face other health emergencies such as sanitary crisis or epidemics – via Cities for Global Health

How to communicate effectively with the public during COVID-19. This online workshop featuring academic experts in neuroscience and behavioural economics explains how to communicate effectively with the public and data on how the public is responding to messages about COVID-19 – via APOLITICAL

Cities and coronavirus (COVID-19). This curated collection of media and resources focuses on topics relevant to mayoral teams and departments that are C40 touch-points: waste, food, buildings, transportation, public engagement, and many more – via The C40 Knowledge Hub

The Brookings Institution. Developing policies for effective COVID-19 containment: The TRACE model


Climate change and resilience

Webinar: Resilience of local governments: A multi-sectoral approach to integrate public health and disaster risk management. Presentations and the recording are available from the event page online.  

The Conversation. Coronavirus is a ‘sliding doors’ moment. What we do now could change Earth’s trajectory

The Conversation. Coronavirus: how economic rescue plans can set the global economy on a path to decarbonisation

UN news. COVID-19 is not a silver lining for the climate, says UN Environment chief

BloombergNEF. Covid-19 – The Low-Carbon Crisis

The Independent. Coronavirus: Will the global shutdown help or hinder progress in the climate crisis?

Inside Climate News. In the face of a pandemic, climate activists reevaluate their tactics

International Institute for Environment and Development. Coronavirus and climate change are two crises that need humanity to unite

Thomson Reuters Foundation. Climate stress and coronavirus gang up on world’s vulnerable

World Economic Forum. How our responses to climate change and the coronavirus are linked

Forbes. How Coronavirus Could Help Us Fight Climate Change: Lessons From The Pandemic

Le Monde diplomatique. What does Covid-19 mean for people displaced by climate change?



Climate Home News. Governments still due to submit tougher climate plans in 2020, despite COP26 delay.

From pandemics to poverty: hotspots of vulnerability in times of crisis. This brief outlines countries, sub-national areas and populations in or near poverty that need to be prioritised in the response to coronavirus.

GreenBook. In response to the current COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa, the GreenBook is providing access to information to assist with risk and vulnerability mapping and analysis. The GreenBook team created vulnerability indicators in support of identifying high-risk areas in our country (primarily in response to Climate Change), considering health susceptibility and transmission potential.

COVID-19-led ban on wild meat could take protein off the table for millions of forest dwellers. Lack of access to wild meat could result in hunger and malnutrition for local and Indigenous communities.

Governing Through Crisis. This five-part crisis management webinar series helps local and regional governments respond to COVID-19 – via CivicPlus. 


Consumption, production and energy

C40 Knowledge Hub. How cities can strengthen local economic recovery by investing in building retrofits

The Conversation. We analysed electricity demand and found coronavirus has turned weekdays into weekends.

Reuters. Coronavirus could trigger biggest fall in carbon emissions since World War Two.

The Guardian. Will the coronavirus kill the oil industry and help save the climate? 

COVID-19: Lessons learnt and outlooks for sustainable, low carbon transport. This webinar focuses on the sustainable transport sector’s response to the crisis, informal transport, public transport, bailout schemes, socio-economic stimulus plans and intergenerational solidarity. – via SloCaT



CityTalk. Confined but not confounded: Nature’s decisive role in cities during and beyond COVID-19

Vox. Our environmental practices make pandemics like the coronavirus more likely.

The Guardian. Ban wildlife markets to avert pandemics, says UN biodiversity chief.

Reuters. East Africa locust swarms gather as coronavirus curbs delay pesticides.

Destruction of habitat and loss of biodiversity are creating the perfect conditions for diseases like COVID-19 to emerge. As habitat and biodiversity loss increase globally, the novel coronavirus outbreak may be just the beginning of mass pandemics.

The Conversation. Coronavirus: what the lockdown could mean for urban wildlife

The Nature of Cities. People Staying Home, Wildlife Occupying the Streets: Lessons from COVID-19 Lockdowns.


Urban planning

Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform. Key Considerations: COVID-19 in Informal Urban Settlements (March 2020)

The Conversation. Megacity slums are incubators of disease – but coronavirus response isn’t helping the billion people who live in them

UNESCO Creative Cities Network. Cities Response to COVID-19.

The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here. The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

Pandemics Are Also an Urban Planning Problem. Will COVID-19 change how cities are designed? Michele Acuto of the Connected Cities Lab talks about density, urbanization and pandemic preparation.

Forbes. Sustainable Infrastructure In The Age Of Coronavirus: ‘Winners’ And Losers.

Ressources en français fiables et utiles pour les gouvernements locaux en Afrique sub-saharienne



La Banque africaine de développement place un emprunt obligataire social, « Combattre le COVID-19 », d’un montant record de 3 milliards de dollars. Une opération historique, la plus importante émission obligataire sociale libellée en dollars américains à ce jour sur les marchés de capitaux.

NIGERIA : le pays lance sa 3e obligation verte pour financer plusieurs initiatives. Le gouvernement fédéral du Nigeria a annoncé le lancement imminent de la troisième tranche de son programme d’obligations vertes. Celle-ci est destinée au financement de plusieurs projets verts à travers le pays.

Covid-19 et inclusion financière : ce que les précédentes crises peuvent nous apprendre. L’impact sanitaire et économique de la pandémie de Covid-19 est sans précédent. Toutefois, les crises antérieures offrent des leçons précieuses sur la manière dont les chocs sanitaires et économiques peuvent perturber les services financiers pour les pauvres.

Guide COVID19 Financement des Collectivités Local (3ème édition) (UNCDF)


Ressources générales

La réponse des gouvernements locaux africains à la pandémie du Covid-19. Ce rapport, réalisé par la GIZ, dans le cadre de la Convention des Maires en Afrique subsaharienne, vise à présenter un certain nombre de mesures prises par les villes africaines afin de faire face à la pandémie du Covid-19.

Association des Maires francophones (AIMF) a développé une plate-forme pour partager les informations et les solutions mises en œuvre par ses membres en réponse à Covid-19.

Réponses collectives aux urgences sanitaires mondiales – Cette page permet aux collectivités locales et régionales de partager des initiatives (des plans, des stratégies, des politiques) élaborées spécifiquement en réaction à la crise COVID-19 et des initiatives mises en place pour faire face aux urgences sanitaires telles que des épidémies – via  Villes pour la santé mondiale 

Epidémie de coronavirus : Ressources et informations  – La Plateforme ELSA vous accompagne pendant l’épidémie de COVID-19. Vous trouverez dans cette thématique les ressources nécessaire à la bonne compréhension de l’épidémie, les conseils pour se protéger du virus et les outils pour communiquer auprès des différents publics, notamment auprès des personnes séropositives.

Sensibilisation au virus Corona (COVID-19) : Que peuvent faire les bibliothécaires africains : Cette page regroupe des ressources utiles (fiches d’information, articles, infographies, etc.) que vous pouvez diffuser en les partageant afin de sensibiliser votre personnel et vos communautés d’utilisateurs. — via AfLIA (Association Africaine des Bibliothèques et des Institutions d’Information)

La propagation du COVID-19 en Afrique en temps réel | Cette initiative a été créée et développée depuis Dakar par Cédric Moro (consultant en risques majeurs), afin d’établir un suivi précis de la propagation du virus en Afrique, ses conséquences sanitaires et économiques. Cette plateforme, accessible à tous, permet de suivre en temps réel l’évolution de la pandémie sur le continent, nation par nation. 

Formation : Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS) : Virus respiratoires émergents, y compris le COVID-19 : méthodes de détection, de prévention, de réponse et de contrôle

Numéros verts du coronavirus en Afrique de l’Ouest et du Centre | Liste de numéros locaux à appeler pour obtenir des informations sur le COVID-19 — via UNICEF


Changement climatique et résilience

 Les Objectifs de développement durable à l’heure du coronavirus (United Nations)

Coronavirus : le jour d’après se fera avec les Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) (Novethic)




“Plus jamais ça !” : 18 syndicats et associations environnementales s’unissent pour préparer le jour d’après (Novethic)

La transition socio-écologique sera-t-elle la grande oubliée de la relance post-Covid ? (The Conversation FR)


Consommation, production et énergie

Relocaliser la filière française textile, un enjeu environnemental et social (Novethic)

Accélérer la transformation du secteur automobile pour préserver l’industrie (Novethic)



Le Covid-19, symptôme d’une biodiversité maltraitée par l’activité humaine (Sciences et Avenir)

Les Chauves-souris, source inépuisable de virus dangereux pour les humains (The Conversation FR


Planification urbaine

Coronavirus : M comme « microbiologie urbaine » (Le Monde)

Coronavirus : désinfecter les rues ? « Inutile et dangereux », selon le ministère de la santé (Le Monde)



Le tourisme et la maladie a coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) (UNWTO)

Elcia Grandcourt : «Le tourisme africain se remettra de la crise liée au Covid-19» (La Tribune Afrique)

Covid-19 : Les 10 Pays Les Plus Dépendants Du Tourisme (Forbes)