Nairobi, 14th May 2020 – Over 220 participants joined the second Urban-Rural Linkages webinar “Urban-Rural Linkages in the time of COVID-19: Metropolitan Perspectives” to learn about the role of metropolitan authorities and measures they are adopting to address the impacts of COVID-19, and discuss the effect of these measures on the urban-rural flows of people, goods, services, resources and capital. The webinar, organized by the Urban-Rural Linkages team in UN-Habitat, featured three speakers and four discussants, all of whom are experts and practitioners in the area.

Rafael Forero, Urban Policy & Metropolitan Expert from UN-Habitat and moderator of this session, pointed out the importance of metropolitan areas in the fight against COVID-19.

Mario Silva, Managing Director of the Metropolitan Planning Institute of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (IMEPLAN), Mexico gave the example of the metropolitan area of Guadalajara, whose dominant use of land is agricultural. He introduced that nutritional programme are included as part of the COVID-19 response measures to create stronger linkages between urban and rural areas within the metropolis.

Gabriel Voisin-Fradin, Project Manager for International Economic Relations, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, France then took the floor and emphasized the importance of partnerships with different stakeholders. He introduced that Grenoble Alpes-Metropole has usually worked with many partners (municipal, departmental, regional and state government). And in the face of the pandemic, new partnership with universities, hospitals, and the private sectors have been formed and strengthened. He also raised the question of how to maintain and take forward these partnerships in a post-COVID world. Both the Guadalajara case and the Grenoble case show that previous metropolitan policies regarding rural areas can contribute to a better response to COVID-19.

Lia Brum, Metropolis Observatory Officer, Secretariat General, World Association of the Major Metropolises, pointed out that most of the initiatives related with urban-rural linkages at the metropolitan level are led by city governments located in the peripheral areas of metropolitan territories. These initiatives are related to food supply, water supply, waste management, mobility, security and policies to tackle gender violence. She then stressed that no solution can be found without collaboration, and irritated in metropolitan spaces, the collaboration of central cities and peripheries can make a difference to ensure that quality of life is not further threatened. 

Juan David Palacio, Director of the Metropolitan Area of the Aburra Valley, drew the audience’s attention to the role metropolitan areas play in the protection of biodiversity. The Metropolitan Area of the Aburra Valley, together with 5 metropolitan areas (and other local and subnational governments from 12 countries, and 129 partners) signed the Aburrá Valley - Medellin Declaration of Metropolitan Areas to the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. In the declaration, metropolitan areas call for the consideration of urban rural linkages and for the equitable distribution of resources to maintain ecosystem services in both urban and rural areas.

This is the second webinar of this series. The first webinar of this series took place on Monday, May 4th, 2020, with speakers from China, Colombia, and the US discussing the current range of Covid-19 mitigation and post-Covid-19 recovery measures through the lens of urban-rural linkages.

For more information on previous webinars and upcoming ones, please visit