The mission of the Urban Institute Center on International Development and Governance (IDG) is to improve governance and opportunities for citizens in developing countries by providing research and technical assistance focused on local government, delivery and financing of public services, and the interactions of governments with firms and citizens.

Among many voices in the field of international development, the Urban Institute is uniquely able to

  • bring an integrated approach to local governance and economic development, building on the expertise of economists, city managers, legal experts, and other development practitioners;
  • build on two decades of on-the-ground experience in more than 70 countries, working alongside local reform leaders and scholars;
  • draw on the domestic expertise of the Urban Institute in health, education, urban development, justice policy, and other areas of public policy;
  • assess the impact of policy options and changes and design performance measurement for donor projects and local budget and administrative processes; and
  • work with local partners to build capacity for sustained reform and research.

Key Accomplishments

The Urban Institute has provided policy advice and reform support in more than 70 countries on issues ranging from slum upgrading to the development of mortgage markets, from improving rural water supplies to urban infrastructure financing.

  • Urban Institute field teams of US and local experts introduce evidence-based policymaking to a range of developing country issues, including national policies and delivery of local services. For example, for the first time in Pakistan, district councils are consulting citizens in advance of adopting budgets and making adjustments that are improving such public services as health care and girls' education.
  • Urban has improved local government revenue generation capability by increasing autonomy of local governments, introducing more efficient methods of billing and collection, unlocking the revenue potential of municipal property through proactive asset management, introducing property registration systems, and demonstrating the relationship between user fees and service improvements.
  • In more than 100 cities in newly democratic and decentralizing Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Asia, Africa and Latin America, Urban has introduced citizen-focused program budgeting, applied performance measurement to improve delivery of essential services, and introduced more democratic decisionmaking to newly empowered local officials and citizens.
  • Urban guided one of Russia's first independent social policy research organizations—the Institute for Urban Economics—and supported development of think tanks in Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Indonesia, and elsewhere.

Futher Information

Follow these links for additional information on our team and our technical practice areas or if you would like further information about working with IDG. Please contact us if you have any further questions about our work or capabilities.