The Statement on "UN Policy Brief: COVID-19 in an Urban World”
As the preparation for the 15th Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS 2020) is in full swing, the United Nations launched the latest report “Policy Brief: COVID-19 in an Urban World” (hereinafter referred to as “Policy Brief”), on 28 July 2020, providing constructive guidance for responding more efficiently and effectively to the pandemic, building back better and greener, and enhancing urban resilience, inclusiveness and sustainability.
In the context of COVID-19, we resonate greatly with the views of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that “cities have proved to be ‘ground-zero’ the world over for the COVID-19 pandemic, and leaders everywhere urgently need to rethink and transform cities to respond to the reality of COVID-19 and potential future pandemics. In responding to the pandemic, the first line of business is to tackle inequalities and safeguard social cohesion. Second, we must strengthen the capacities of local governments. Third, we must pursue a green, resilient and inclusive economic recovery.”
As a UN-accredited global non-profit organization, the Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS) welcomes very warmly and extends its strongest support to this Policy Brief. Over the past 15 years, GFHS has been providing a global platform for high-level dialogue on urban issues and promoting sustainable cities and human settlements for all, which is also in line with the recommendations in the Policy Brief.
With the objective of undertaking a timely, effective opportunity to implement this Policy Brief, GFHS 2020 has been convened in a virtual format on 15 and 16 October incorporating an observance of Urban October with the theme “Post-Pandemic Recovery and Transformation: Resilient Cities, Healthy Planet”. GFHS 2020 is co-organized by the Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS), World Meteorological Organization (WMO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and International Science Council (ISC), in collaboration with UNESCAP, UNECE, UNDRR, UNDP, UNCTAD, ADB, UNCBD, UNCRD, and other international organizations. The Forum aims at calling on the international community to draw lessons from the pandemic and accelerate green transformation, to promote biodiversity conservation, to strengthen urban safety and resilience with special focus on the needs of women and girls and children, and to strengthen the capacities of local authorities and foster partnerships towards achieving the SDGs.
We reiterate the core message of Secretary-General Guterres as he launched the Policy Brief as follows:
“Now is the time to rethink and reshape the urban world.
Now is the moment to adapt to the reality of this and future pandemics.
Now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities”.
Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury
Chairman of Global Forum on Human Settlements
Former Under-Secretary-General and High Representative of the UN