Annual Update 2020 VNG International

Developing Sustainable and

Resilient Cities and Communities

by strengthening democratic local government

New Service

Our COVID-19 Crisis Management Support Unit



The COVID-19 crisis means that local governments worldwide face a novel and large-scale emergency. Apart from the immediate threat to the health of staff and citizens, they need to watch over safety in the public space, show leadership and ensure continuity of their internal operations as well as of the services to citizens. Public leaders are expected to be prepared for crises, provide a comprehensive response, communicate to the public, and act as crisis professionals who balance the interests of the general public, media, the political arena, regional and national government levels. Big questions also loom about the period after: which transitions will be called for in the longer term, and how can we use the crisis to become more resilient?


VNG International aims to help the municipalities and subnational governments to rise to these challenges and has therefore set up CriT. CriT is an online COVID-19 crisis management back office through which Dutch expertise is shared with foreign local governments to strengthen their crisis response and turn towards resilience building. It helps both technical and governance aspects of managing the COVID-19 crisis locally.


The CriT’s expert pool of Dutch crisis management experts and Mayors gives tailor-made support on COVID-19 related crisis management issues to beneficiaries through videoconference.

In a colleague-to-colleague setup, the experts advise, coach and empower. Addressing needs of both political and technical staff, themes can be: communication in a crisis, coordinating and cooperating with other levels of government, public leadership and dealing with local civil society, operational continuity, risk management, scenario planning and so on. The back office does not provide medical or sanitary advice.