Nairobi, 25 June 2020 - The sixth COVID-19 Urban Thinkers Campus webinar in the second season was organized by the World Urban Campaign and UN-Habitat’s RISE UP Flagship programme to discuss pro-poor investments for adaptation and resilience in the post-pandemic economic recovery.
Ambassador Njambi Kinyungu, Head of the Kenyan Mission to UN-Habitat, opened the webinar by speaking about the need to rethink the way economies are conceptualized at the international, regional, national and local level.
She called for a change of mindset as the world emerges from the COVID crisis to build-back better and create more resilient cities.
“With the pandemic an additional half billion people are at risk of joining the one billion urban poor. This new situation is forcing countries to find immediate solutions, starting with incentives,” she said.
An advisor on Global Partnerships & Strategy at the World Bank, Stephen A. Hammer outlined the Bank’s commitment to provide rescue support to governments through flexible financial instruments during the crisis. He stressed the importance data-driven solutions, and linked financial support to policy and market change, putting an emphasis on green recovery.
The need for bottom-up accountability, blended finance, context-specific investments driven by people was a key focus for David Dodman, Director of Human Settlements at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).
“Communities should be at the heart of financial solutions while transitioning to the post-COVID-19 recovery. Future development policies need to be based on robust integrated approaches that recognize the interconnected nature of social integration, health, food systems etc. in their own spatial contexts,” he said.
The webinar heard that the COVID-19 crisis revealed the spread and depth of inequalities worldwide and the inadequacy of global development policies over the last 30 years.
A senior Urban Specialist at Cities Alliance, Julian Baskin, focused on the urban poor and called for a rethink of the role of the informal economy and its interdependence with the public sector.
‘The legacy is one of exclusion and vast inequalities in cities big and small across the globe. Decisions about allocation of resources and space shall be made on the basis of people in order to recover differently, and ultimately, better,” he said.
Participants at the meeting outlined the need for new coalitions and partnerships to improve the resilience of the urban poor and promote inclusive approaches that overcome past systemic inequalities.
Further Urban Thinkers Campuses on COVID-19 are being held online in July. For more information and to register go to https://www.worldurbancampaign.org/urban-thinkers-campus