Thematic Cities Cluster

COVID-19 Response and Recovery & Public Health

The South-South Cities Cluster on COVID-19 Response and Recovery offers a space for knowledge sharing and collaboration among cities partners of the Global South on how to respond, mitigate and recover from the pandemic, and how to prevent and prepare for future crises and emergencies. 

While living in cities may offer many opportunities, there are also urban health risks to be considered. The COVID-19 pandemic intensified challenges and vulnerabilities in developing countries, especially in cities with high population density, lacking proper health care facilities and with limited governance mechanisms. In the initial stage of the pandemic, an estimated 95 percent of COVID-19 confirmed cases were reported in urban areas (UN Habitat, 2021).  


In this context, the Cities Project received an increased number of requests for support in COVID-19 response and recovery and access to public health services. In 2021, the Cities Project will continue prioritizing requests received in this area and work with specialized UN agencies in different regions on enhancing collaborations and developing capacities of cities and institutions in public health emergency preparedness and response as well as social-economic recovery. 

The Cities Project welcomes city partners interested in participating in this Cluster and hopes the knowledge exchanged here leads to more South-South cooperation and a swift post-pandemic social and economic recovery  

Featured Members of this Cluster

Aparecida de Goiânia


Aparecida de Goiânia will be 100 years old in 2022, filled with opportunities. At nearly 600,000 inhabitants and a privileged geographic location, it attracts investors and generates over 120,000 jobs.

The solid establishment of businesses and universities, within its territory, thrives around great perspectives in healthcare, energy supply, industry 4.0 and the concept of Smart Cities.

The city also has a video monitoring system to help reduce criminality, and saves energy through the use of solar power, seeking resources to install a photovoltaic farm.

Additionally, over 750 kilometers of optical fiber has been installed, along with a 7,600 terabytes data center.

Following Covid-19 WHO recommendations, the city implemented mass testing, check-ups, network expansion, service qualification, monitoring and treatment of afflicted patients, and a scheduling app for the vaccination campaign.

Aparecida evolves along with social, economic and environmental development, in order to care for its population with multiple best quality services.

Aparecida de Goiânia, Brazil


The Philippines

Baguio is located in the island of Luzon, which is the largest and most populous island in the Philippines. Its geographic location is at 16.411999° N and 120.59834° E with an elevation of 1,400 meters above sea level. The City has a resident population of 366,358 for 2020 growing at 1.54% per year that can reach 600,000 to almost 1 million during peak season of tourist arrivals. Nighttime population is 380,000. Population density is placed at 6,005 per square meter.

It is a landlocked mountainous City also referred to as the “City of Pines” and the “Summer Capital of the Philippines”, popular for its temperate climate and rich cultural background. It has a land area of 5,749 hectares. As to its land cover: 9.81% are declared as watershed and protected forest; 1.41% as parks and recreation areas; 11.04% are open spaces; and the rest are settlement areas.

The City is 206 kilometers away from Manila which takes about four (4) hours to drive. It serves as the gateway to other municipalities in the Cordillera Region mountains. It is the only highly urbanized City in the region. The city is the center for education, trade and tourism in the Cordillera region. It was also declared as a UNESCO Creative City because of its rich culture and tradition on arts and crafts.

Baguio City is also home to one of the country’s most profitable Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) areas called the Baguio City Economic Zone (BCEZ). The BCEZ caters to 44 locators which produce textiles, wearing apparels, electronics, plastic products and others. Production output in the BCEZ accounts for the bulk of the Cordillera’s total exports. The city is also considered the financial center of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR). There are 82 banks operating in the city. Of these, 48 are Commercial, 23 are Rural and Cooperative and 11 Thrift banks. Baguio City is still the Summer Capital of the Philippines and remains to be among the top 14 destinations in the country. It is also among the top 20 destinations for Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibition (MICE). It received close to 1.3 million tourists in 2016, with tourism receipts amounting to Php 8.1 billion.

Baguio, the Philippines

Cities Alliance

Over the last two decades, the Cities Alliance has been working on climate change, resilience, and sustainable urban ecosystems that are at the heart of the recent urbanisation discussions - always with a special emphasis on communities in informal settings and equality for all.

Cities Alliance global work is designed to advance new tools, practices and understanding of emerging urban issues and support joint advocacy with our members; with our Global Programme Climate Change, Resilience and Informality in Cities, we work towards the goal of supporting communities - in partnership with local governments - to build resilient cities that reduce both risk and vulnerability by strengthening urban ecosystems, promoting investment in local resilience efforts, and advocating for people-centred resilience.

Cities Alliance, UNOPS



Doresópolis is a Brazilian municipality in the state of Minas Gerais. As of 2010, its population was estimated at 1,440. The town is named Doresópolis in honor of Nossa Senhora das Dores, the town's patron saint.

The municipalities of Doresópolis and Piumhi have always been closely linked. The region's history begins in 1732, with the discovery and exploration of the area by the sertanista João Batista Maciel who, coming from São Paulo, searched the region near the source of the São Francisco river for gold. Batista Maciel settled in Piraquara, on the right bank of the São Francisco River, near the village of Pitangui.

Doresópolis, Brazil

Gansu Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (GPAFFC)


Gansu Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (GPAFFC) is a not-for-profit civil group, whose work is guided by the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). GPAFFC aims to increase mutual understanding and nurture friendship between people from around the world and promote exchanges and cooperation in economy, trade, society, culture, science, technology and education.

Gansu Provincial People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (GPAFFC), China


the Gambia

Banjul, officially the City of Banjul, is the capital and the fourth largest city of The Gambia. It is the centre of the eponymous administrative division, which is home to an estimated 400,000 residents, making it The Gambia's largest and most densely populated metropolitan area.

Banjul, the Gambia



Located on the west coast of Turkey by the Aegean Sea, Izmir belongs to the broader region of Southeast Europe, and is one of the major port cities in the Mediterranean. Izmir province stretches over an area of 12.000 km2 and comprises 30 districts, 11 of which are situated in the metropolitan area.

Historically, the port has been at the core of Izmir’s identity and the city has long been a hub of dense networks of maritime connections. Through these connections people, goods, ideas and thoughts have flowed into the city. The port has long facilitated cultural exchanges and served as a nexus where people from different parts of the Mediterranean and Asia met, mixed and inspired each other. Thanks to its favorable geographical location, climate, water resources and fertile lands, the 8500 year-old city has been the home of many civilizations and cultures. Homer, the author of the legendary Iliad and Odyssey, whose works have had an enormous effect on Western culture, was born and lived in İzmir. The city was one of the prominent cities of the Hellenistic period and the Roman Empire. In the modern era, during the 17th century, Izmir became an important port attracting notable overseas trade owing to the Silk Road. With its well-protected bay, Izmir was closer to the Italian ports than the city of Istanbul. Venetian, Dutch, English and French merchants settled in Izmir, opening export factories and consulates. Dutch, English, French, Venetian and Ottoman subjects socialized with each other. Calvinists, Catholics, Sephardic Jews, Muslim Turks, Orthodox Greeks and Armenians worshipped almost shoulder to shoulder.

Commercial relations developed thanks to the port and this further led to deeper cultural ties. In the course of the eighteenth century, Izmir became the leading Mediterranean port. The town’s cultural, religious and linguistic diversity, its openness, and its growing international trade constituted an open society. The city did not only connect Mediterranean ports, but also acted as a strong bridge between the Orient and the Western world. Izmir long served as the gateway to the Orient, to China, for the traders, entrepreneurs, scientists and artists of Europe, through the paths of the ancient Silk Road. Izmir blossomed during the late nineteenth century when free trade increased the significance of Mediterranean ports. Therefore, for a long time, Izmir was described as the capital of the Near East in western literature.

Alongside its cultural diversity, the city has impressively high biodiversity. Coupled with terrestrial biological diversity, İzmir embraces rich wetlands. 10% of the world's flamingo population lives in İzmir’s largest wetland, the Gediz Delta. Izmir’s rural communities preserve crucial ecological knowledge. Izmir is the heir to ancient indigenous production landscapes where local agricultural practices protect rare biological diversity. Rural Izmir shelters unique anthropogenic landscapes that reflect a singular harmony between culture and nature. This precious cultural knowledge protects and helps manage lands, water and other natural resources. Traditional practices, techniques and ways of living in harmony with nature are vital at a time when biodiversity and cultural diversity are globally threatened.

There are many ancient settlements within the boundaries of present day Izmir such as Smyrna, Klazomenai, Ephesus and Pergamon. Pergamon and its multi-layered cultural landscape (2014) and Ephesus (2015) are catalogued in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The Historic Port City of Izmir, Historic Town of Birgi; Foça, Çandarlı and Çeşme Castles are currently on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List.

Today, the city celebrates its unique culture, which stems from its heritages, cuisine and cosmopolitan lifestyle where the sea and the agriculture play an influential role. The rresidents of Izmir enjoy many festivals dedicated to arts, culture, ecology and gastronomy, numerous museums, art centers, and independent cultural activities. The crystal-clear Aegean Sea, accompanied by sun and golden sandy beaches are a major part of Izmir’s cultural life. The city is also known for its international fair and Kültürpark, which is a landmark dating back to the early years of the Republic of Turkey. Kültürpark is a vast green public space in the city center which has played an important role in connecting Turkey to the world, in the economic and cultural domains, since the 1930s.

Izmir’s cultural vision is to evolve into a city of arts, design and innovation, ensuring biodiversity, and eco-friendly production and distribution models. Another aspect of this vision involves developing trans-border relations and making Izmir a node in major city networks by promoting interactions and diversity. The municipality aims at making İzmir more prosperous, democratic, inclusive, just, equal, safe and sustainable with its cultural policies.

Izmir, Turkey



Mumbwa District is situated about 140Km from Lusaka and has a population of approximately 176,620 of which 88,762 are females (50.3%) and 87,858 are males (49.7%). Its average annual Population Growth Rate stands at 3.2%, and the population distribution is 10.7 per km2. The district has a total land size of approximately 23, 800 km2.

Mumbwa, Zambia

Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA)

State of Palestine

The Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA), established in January 2016, is the main public diplomacy tool of the State of Palestine and works as a national coordinator for South-South and North-South Cooperation.

Guided by a vision of solidarity through development, the State of Palestine seeks to mobilize its skilled human resources to provide technical assistance to support partner countries in responding to crisis and tackling development challenges with the aim of promoting South-South Cooperation and realizing the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA), Palestine

São Paulo


The São Paulo City Hall is the government office in charge of management and control of the city of São Paulo, Brazil. São Paulo is a municipality in the Southeast Region of Brazil. The metropolis is an alpha global city and the most populous city in Brazil and the largest Portuguese-speaking city in the world. The city is the capital of the state of São Paulo, the most populous and wealthiest state in Brazil. It exerts strong national and international influence in commerce, finance, arts and entertainment.

São Paulo, Brazil

United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) Initiative


The “United for Smart Sustainable Cities” (U4SSC) is a UN initiative coordinated by ITU, UNECE and UN-Habitat, and supported by CBD, ECLAC, FAO, UNDP, UNECA, UNESCO, UNEP, UNEP-FI, UNFCCC, UNIDO, UNOP, UNU-EGOV, UN-Women and WMO to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: ``Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable``.

United for Smart Sustainable Cities (U4SSC) Initiative, ITU

Shah Alam


Shah Alam is a city and the state capital of Selangor, Malaysia. It is locatted within the Petaling District and a small portion of the neighboring Klang District.

Shah Alam is also one of the major cities within the Klang Valley, an area in Malaysia comprising Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs, and adjoining cities and towns in the state of Selangor. The Klang River flows through Shah Alam on its way westward to the Strait of Malacca.

Shah Alam, Malaysia



Fortaleza is the state capital of Ceará, located in Northeastern Brazil. It is Brazil's 5th largest city and the 12th richest city in the country in terms of GDP. It is an important industrial and commercial center of Brazil, and part of the Common Market of Mercosur Cities.

The city has a modern appearance with wide avenues. Fortaleza’s beaches, as well as those along the rest of Ceará’s coast, attract large numbers of tourists.

Fortaleza, Brazil



The Metropolitan Regional Government of Santiago is an autonomous body that as of July 14, 2021, is led by a Governor or Regional Governor. This authority oversees the superior administration of the region. The Regional Government cares about the harmonious and equitable development of the territory.

The main focus of their work is the planning and preparation of projects to promote the economic, social, and cultural development of the Metropolitan Region, taking into account the preservation and improvement of the environment and the participation of the community.

Santiago, Chile

IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies


The IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET) was founded in 2014 aiming to assist national, provincial, and local governments with advancing sustainable waste and resource management systems based on holistic and 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) principles.
The primary activities include:
Strengthening Waste Management Policy, Regulations and Institutions
Building Capacity and Guiding Implementation
Generating Impact through Scaling up Partnerships and Networking

IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies



Milan is the capital of Lombardy, located in Northern Italy, and the second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. Milan is the global capital of fashion and design. Home to the national stock exchange, it is a financial hub also known for its high-end restaurants and shops.

The Gothic “Duomo di Milano” cathedral and the “Santa Maria delle Grazie” convent, housing Leonardo da Vinci’s mural, “The Last Supper,” attest to the city’s history of art and culture.

Milan, Italy



The province of Potenza is located in the Basilicata region of southern Italy, occupying an area of 6,594.44 square kilometers and a total population of 369,538 as of 2017. The province has 100 municipalities, of which the capital is the city of Potenza.

The province features a variety of natural landscapes, ranging from the mountain lakes of Monticchio, the Lucan Forest, the Monte Sirino massif, the large National Park of Pollino (shared by Calabria), and the Tyrrhenian coast of Maratea.

Potenza, Italy



Udine is a city in northeastern Italy, in the middle of the Friuli Venezia Giulia region, between the Adriatic Sea and the Alps and it is less than 40 km from the Slovenian border. Udine is a very important commercial center, and it is also known for iron and mechanical industries.

The city has a long history that is evident through the Castle of Udine, a historic castle built by the Venetians in 1517 that houses one of the most ancient parliament Halls of Europe. In addition, the city hosts many important festivals and events, as well as renowned historical artifacts at the archbishop's palace and the Museo Civico.

Udine, Italy

Chaco province


The Province of Chaco is one of the 23 provinces in Argentina. It lies within the southern part of the Gran Chaco region, a vast lowland plain that covers territories in Argentina, Paraguay, and Bolivia, covering an area of 99,633 km2. Chaco is also home to the Chaco National Park.

Chaco province, Argentina

Afadzato South District


The Afadzato District is one of the 46 administrative districts created in 2012 with its capital at Ve-Golokuati, about 58km from Ho, 20km from Hohoe, and 200km from Accra. The total land area of the district is 553.0 square Kilometres about 3.06 % of the total land size of the Volta Region. Moreover, the location of the district has the potential to boost both local and foreign trade.

The Afadzato South District Assembly exists to improve both social and economic life of her people through efficient and effective resource mobilization, maintaining a strong agricultural base for further industrial development, being a leading tourist centre in Ghana and preserving cultural heritage of her people and the Region at large.

Afadzato South District, Ghana

Latest News and Updates

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Knowledge Products

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June 13, 2022

Public Health Scorecard – UNDRR

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Support for Physical, Mental and Social Well-being – Udine, Milan and Potenza, Italy

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Mobile Vaccinations – Santiago, Chile

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