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May 12, 2020     cib    

The collaborative online platform, Cities for Global Health - launched by Metropolis and the Euro-Latin-American Alliance of Cooperation among Cities (AL-LAs), with the support and collaboration of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) among many other international organizations - has received in the last weeks over 380 initiatives from more than 20 countries and over 80 cities, half of them members of our organisation.

The global crisis generated by the COVID-19 outbreak has been pushing cities of all shapes to give immediate answers to an emergency that is seriously threatening not only citizens’ health, but the social cohesion, the economy and the infrastructures of our urban territories all around the world. The initiatives collected at the platform Cities for Global Health, ranging from gender or education issues, to mobility or social issues, are all oriented to prevent, content or mitigate the consequences derived from the current situation as well as how cities and society will recover once this crisis is over. The debate is now on how those initiatives will be adapted to the new normal that all local and regional goverments will have to face.

What does this initiative propose in the face of this pandemic and beyond?

Cities for Global Health is far from being a short-term initiative, instead it has a clear long-term ambition. As urban spaces around the world are currently experiencing different stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, the initiative will evolve according to their needs, offering all sorts of ressources, knowledge and specific responses to the pandemic and, at the same time, a space of analysis, discussion and creation positioning cities beyond the outbreak.

It is a knowledge-exchange, connection and inspiring platform where local and regional governments, mayors and municipal administrations are invited to keep sharing their protocols, plans, initiatives and all sort of resources and knowledge in order to join forces to stop the global spread of this infection and future pandemics. Because, as the UN Habitat itself affirms, what we do today will change the cities of tomorrow, to make them safe and inclusive, and resilient for future crises.

Metropolitan governance: the top priority

There is no doubt that the urban spaces will change, and significantly so, after the COVID-19 crisis and the collaboration of central cities and peripheries and administrations of different levels is crucial to deal with this crisis and, in this way, design the cities of the future. In this sense, Cities for Global Health is a platform to showcase what cities are doing and be inspired by others to face the enourmus challengue that represents this pandemic to the governance of the cities and regions.

The main aim of this platform is to enhance and foster new avenues for city to city cooperation and to create collective solutions to glocal problems. Metropolitan governance and collaboration among metropolises and cities are crucial to ensure that not one is left behind this crisis and to improve the quality of life of their citizens.

While the virus spreads regardless of administrative boundaries, territorial scales or weather conditions, affecting millions of individuals simultaneously in different ways, it drives us to overcome management barriers. In metropolitan spaces, the collaboration of central cities and peripheries, and the incorporation of a metropolitan governance, can make a huge difference to ensure that quality of life is not further threatened under scenarios of fragility and that no one is left behind.