Do national governments matter anymore?

About the event

It is increasingly common to hear that the scope and influence of national governments and the central state are reducing. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities and capacities of different levels of governance (from supranational to local) to respond have been put under the spotlight. In some places, national authorities have never been able to exercise effective influence, and local systems and structures have always held sway. In others, the locus of innovation and change for societies has emerged from local coalitions.

The aim of this event is to explore these dynamics and strengthen our understanding of governance beyond the center – particularly at the sub-national level. The session will explore the regulatory systems, networks and incentive structures that underpin the roles and responsibilities of actors at different levels and impact governance processes and policy outcomes. In this context, we will interrogate UNDP’s role as a multilateral institution, examining how we are navigating these changing governance dynamics and how the organization might strengthen inclusive and responsive multilevel governance systems in its future governance offer.


Ana Patricia Graça, UN Resident Coordinator, Cape Verde

Gabe Ferrazzi, Adjunct Professor, University of Guelph

Gorka Espiau, Managing Director, Agirre Lehendakaria Center

José María Marín, Senior Program Officer, Open Government Partnership (OGP) Local

Amita Gill, Team Leader, Core Government Functions and Local Governance, Crisis Bureau, UNDP

Moderation and opening remarks by Sarah Lister, Head of Governance, Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, UNDP

Brief presentations will be followed by a substantive Q&A.

About the Future of Governance series

The Future of Governance consultation series is a three-month initiative aimed at exploring the state of social contracts in different settings. It is a convening space where the multitude of conversations on the future of governance across the organization can come together with the aim of building a shared narrative for UNDP’s governance priorities. The series – hosted on Spark Blue allows for colleagues from across the organization, and invited external participants to discuss thematic questions, showcase insights and expertise and reflect on what has worked well (and what has not) throughout the current Strategic Plan.

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