Barcelona, 5 October 2020To mark World Habitat Day 2020, the Barcelona City Council (Spain) and the UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Global Programme organized an in-person event with virtual participation to announce their commitment to create more resilient cities during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The collaboration between Barcelona and UN-Habitat, during the next four years, is aimed at delivering the United Nations operational urban resilience projects, contributing to the achievement of global agendas (Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals, New Urban Agenda, Paris Agreement on Climate Change and Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction), sharing innovative practices from Barcelona globally and linking Barcelona with global initiatives such as the Making Cities Resilient 2030 and the World Urban Forum.

The UN-Habitat Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif told the meeting: “cities must be better planned, managed and financed to improve resilience and meet citizens’ needs, leaving no-one behind. Having cities like Barcelona to lead urban innovation and support others is living proof that the change is possible.”

The deputy mayor for the 2030 Agenda, Digital Transition, Sports and Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination of Barcelona City Council, Laia Bonet stated: “the pandemic has been a stress test that has shown us that we must build more resilient cities at a social, ecological, urban and digital level. This means responding to the social emergency; addressing the digital divide through digital inclusion policies, and accelerating the ecological transition to a healthier and more democratic urban model.”​

This new agreement provides an opportunity to revisit goals and to focus on current realities: providing high quality technical expertise and provision of innovative solutions in areas related to urban resilience; and facilitating access to field experiences, tools, knowledge, and current capacity development and training methodologies, with a special focus on COVID-19 response and recovery.

As a follow up of to this agreement, during Urban October, Barcelona City, UN-Habitat and local partners SUEZ and Cetaqua, are organizing the Urban Resilience in a context of Climate Change (URCC) conference on October 20 and 21. This online meeting is open to all and will bring together participants from academia, administrations, companies and local communities to exchange knowledge and share challenges and solutions in cities, with a special focus on European urban areas.

Barcelona City is recognized as a centre for promoting research in urban sustainable planning, urban governance and risk management, as a leader in urban innovation and digital transformation and a reference for other municipalities. It supports cities in developing countries (city-to-city cooperation), such as Maputo (Mozambique) and Dakar (Senegal) in expanding their capacity to implement actions for resilience. Initial years of collaboration made possible to advocate for more resilient cities through the Barcelona Resilience Week.