UN-Habitat report calls for cities post-pandemic to lead the way to a fairer, greener, healthier future

A new report on pandemics and cities from UN-Habitat, points the way to how hard-hit urban centres can reduce the impact of future outbreaks and become more equitable, healthy and environmentally friendly.

UN News | Updated: 01-05-2021 15:26 IST | Created: 30-03-2021 10:28 IST
UN-Habitat report calls for cities post-pandemic to lead the way to a fairer, greener, healthier future
The UN-Habitat report recommends actions for a sustainable recovery based on evidence from more than 1,700 cities. Image Credit: Twitter(@SAgovnews)

'Cities and Pandemics: Towards a more just, green and healthy future', launched on Tuesday, describes how urban areas have been at the forefront of the COVID-19 crisis.

"95 per cent of all cases" were recorded in cities in the first months of the pandemic, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, UN-Habitat Executive Director, said.

Cities on the frontline

"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," Ms 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.

UN News/Vibhu Mishra A view of the city of Bangkok, the capital of Thailand.

Life and death inequalities

It found that patterns of inequality, due 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 due to 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 text, urban leaders and planners must rethink how people move through and in cities, using lessons learned from the last year of COVID-19.

This includes an increased focus at the local level on planning neighbourhoods and communities that are multi-functional and inclusive.

Planning, affordability

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 the private sector.

The new social contract should "explore the role of the state and cities to finance universal basic income, universal health insurance, universal housing", said Sharif.

For one real-world example, Claudia Lopez Hernandez, Mayor of Bogota, explained how in the Colombian capital, 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.

New priorities

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.

The Cities and Pandemics Report makes it clear that the way urban environments recover from the pandemic, will have a major impact on the global effort to achieve a sustainable future for all – in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Visit UN News for more.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

Blockchain in Healthcare: Opportunities and challenges

The use of blockchain in healthcare is a relatively new innovation with many of its uses still being explored and related technologies being developed, improved, and scaled. ...

Debate surrounding vaccine passports and development misses bigger picture

... ...

Blockchain vs IOTA: Looking for a better alternative

... ...

For stability, Iraq needs to crack down on corruption

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Brazil eyes new Pfizer deal next week for 100 million more COVID-19 shots

Brazil expects to sign a new deal next week with Pfizer Inc for 100 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses, a Health Ministry official said on Friday, which would double the U.S. drugmakers delivery to the Latin American country this year.Rodr...

NASA's new chief big on climate, hedges on 2024 moon landing

NASAs new administrator is big on tackling climate and diversifying the agencys workforce, but hedging on whether the US can put astronauts on the moon by 2024.In his first interview since becoming NASAs top official this week, former Sen. ...

Soccer-Champions League final venue uncertain after Turkey put on UK's red list

The status of the Champions League final on May 29 between Manchester City and Chelsea in Istanbul was thrown into doubt on Friday after the UK government placed Turkey on the travel red list with Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for th...

Pfizer/BioNTech seek full U.S. OK of COVID-19 shot, target 4 bln doses in 2022

Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SA have filed for full U.S. government approval for their COVID-19 vaccine and are targeting production of 4 billion doses of the shot next year, mostly for low- and middle-income countries. Full appro...

Give Feedback