7 December 2020 – COVID-19 has hit our cities at different speeds. Over the past months, mayors and city leaders have been faced with unprecedented challenges. We have had to adjust and reframe our knowledge and experience in response to the worldwide pandemic. It is in this light that the Global Parliament of Mayors has organized a series of webinars. The first session, held in May 2020 and co-hosted by UN-Habitat, offered a forum to build on the discussion of the impact of COVID-19 on urban security and connect this to the pre-COVID process of implementing the United Nations System-wide Guidelines on Safer Cities and Human Settlement. In June 2020, this was followed by a webinar focused on the right to adequate housing. This session called on city leadership to collaborate locally, regionally, and nationally in order to take decisive action to ensure cities deliver on their responsibility to provide housing for the poor and the most vulnerable.

Building on these webinars, the Global Parliament of Mayors and UN-Habitat have organized four thematic sessions under the umbrella of “Rethinking the city – how mayors respond to the needs of a post-COVID city”. The 2-day webinar made room to debate on public health, urban sustainability, culture and education, governance, and democracy. If anything, this pandemic has been a wakeup call, showing us that cities are at the front lines of the COVID-19 response and that the virus has the power to reconfigure urban spaces and human interactions. Moreover, COVID has been an advertisement for the fundamental problems that face our cities. It has sharped the focus of citizens and mayors while, at the same time, deepening inequalities.

During the sessions, mayors, city leaders, and well-respected experts debate and share, first hand, how they have reframed their knowledge and experience in light of the shifts caused by COVID-19. We also look ahead, discussing how we can improve our post-COVID city, the urban agenda, and create a vision for resilient cities.

Click here to view the full Report GPM webinar Rethinking the City_Nov 2020.