UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on COVID-19 in an Urban World

UN Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on COVID-19 in an Urban World


Urban areas are ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 90 per cent of reported cases. Cities are bearing the brunt of the crisis – many with strained health systems, inadequate water and sanitation services, and other challenges. This is especially the case in poorer areas, where the pandemic has exposed deeply rooted inequalities. But cities are also home to extraordinary solidarity and resilience. The “Policy Brief on COVID-19 in the Urban World” offers three key recommendations. First, we need to ensure that all phases of the pandemic response tackle inequalities and long-term development deficits and safeguard social cohesion. Second, we must strengthen the capacities of local governments. Third, we must pursue a green, resilient and inclusive economic recovery. We must act with the same urgency and resolve to transform cities and address the climate and pollution crises. 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. And now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities.


United Nations




Resilience & Risk Reduction

Sustainable Development Goals

Goal 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

New Urban Agenda Commitments

Building urban governance structures to establish a supportive framework
Environmentally Sustainable and Resilient Urban Development
Information Technology and Innovation
Mobilization of Financial Resources
Planning and Managing Urban Spatial Development
Sustainable and Inclusive Urban Prosperity and Opportunities for All
Sustainable Urban Development for Social Inclusion and Ending Poverty


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