STORY: Post Covid-19 Cities Report UN-Habitat
TRT: 02 min 52s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: EMBARGOED UNTIL 30 MARCH 06:01 CET
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 30 MARCH 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
UN-Habitat report calls for post COVID-19 cities to lead the way to a fairer, greener and healthier future.
A new report by UN-Habitat published on Tuesday demonstrated how cities can reduce the impact of future pandemics and become more equitable, healthy and environmentally friendly.
The document - “Pandemics and Cities Report UN-Habitat” - describes how urban areas have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis.
“Ninety-five per cent of all cases” were recorded in cities in the first months of the pandemic, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said.
“Throughout this pandemic, it has been up to local governments and communities to move quickly and decisively to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure an effective response.” Sharif added.
Despite these pressures, many local governments and community leaders responded quickly and effectively to prevent the spread of the pandemic and mitigate its effects.
The UN-Habitat report recommends actions for a sustainable recovery based on evidence from more than 1,700 cities.
It found that patterns of inequality, owing to a lack of access to basic services, poverty and overcrowded living conditions, have been key destabilising factors in increasing the scale and impact of COVID-19.
Eduardo Moreno, Head of Knowledge and Innovation at UN-Habitat, said that because of the pandemic, an estimated “120 million people in the world will be pushed into poverty and living standards will reduce by 23 per cent”.
“The conclusion is that income matters,” he added.
According to the report, urban leaders and planners must rethink how people move through and in cities, using lessons from COVID-19.
This includes an increased focus at the local level on planning neighbourhoods and communities that are multi-functional and inclusive.
The report explores how well-planned cities combining residential and commercial with public spaces along with affordable housing can improve public health, the local economy and the environment.
It calls for cities to be at the forefront of moves towards a social contract between governments, the public, civil society and private sector.
This new deal should “explores the role of the state and cities to finance universal basic income, a universal health insurance, a universal housing,” said Sharif.
Claudia Lopez Hernandez, Mayor of Bogota, explained how in Bogota their new social contract prioritises women and children.
It is a “ social contract that includes women, that provides them with time, with time to take care of themselves, with time to educate themselves, and with time and education skills to come back to the labour market”.
“To have self-sustainable women is to have self-sustainable societies,” Hernandez explained.
The report outlines how a new normal can emerge in cities “where health, housing and security are prioritised for the most vulnerable not only out of social necessity, but also from a profound commitment to human rights for all”.
This requires governments to focus on policies to protect land rights, improve access to water, sanitation, public transport, electricity, health and education facilities and ensure inclusive digital connectivity.
The report recommends strengthening access to municipal finance to enable city leaders to build a new urban economy that reduces disaster risk as well as addressing climate change by developing nature-based solutions and investing in sustainable infrastructure to enable low carbon transport.
Pandemics and Cities Report UN-Habitat makes it clear that the way cities and towns recover from the pandemic will have a major impact on the global efforts to achieve a sustainable future for all and provides important recommendations on moving towards a more just, greener and healthier future.