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UN-Habitat Launches Global Municipal Database

On September 24, 2018 UN-Habitat launched a Global Municipal Database (GMD), which provides standard indicators for municipal budgets and includes data on per capita expenditures, revenues and debt in cities worldwide. Being the first database to provide standardised local level per-capita budget data, it covers more than 100 cities, highlighting the importance of focusing on financial data at municipal level.

City level data collected from municipalities and metropolises provided the basis for policy formulation and creation of a tool to enhance city leaders’ understanding of municipal finances and help them engage in productive dialogue with residents, central governments, donors and the private sector.

Potentially, municipalities can apply data to monitor progress in comparison to peers, and the data can be used in research for linkages on local finance. More importantly, GMD can be used by academic researchers and international development entities to highlight policy issues and trends. Strengthening municipal finance is a component of the New Urban Agenda and the SDG11. Design and monitoring of its implementation can draw upon the GMD to fill data gaps.

The data, which is based on core mandates with a standard set of budget responsibilities identified and noted for each government, was compiled with cooperation from city-based researchers and technical staff of municipalities in developed and developing countries. Selection of cities and original points of contact for city-based researchers was derived from the Atlas of Urban Expansion project. The Atlas of Urban Expansion was developed by New York University with support from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and UN-Habitat, which plans to continue expanding this database in collaboration with major partners including United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

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