On 10 June 2020, the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and UNDP Seoul Policy Centre (USPC), jointly organized a webinar on “Cities and local administrations as actors in responding to COVID-19 and the role of SSTC”. The webinar brought together city officials from the Global South to share their responses at city level and reflect on the role of South-South and triangular cooperation.
Please click video to watch the recording.
Cities and local authorities often find themselves at the forefront of combating the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with related economic challenges. Hosting majority of the world population, cities are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19; at the same time, they also become the centres of action and laboratories for innovation. Besides the management of the wide range of health-related operations, cities and local administrations undertake measures to protect the most vulnerable populations, support local economies and ensure the continuity of public services in the new context.
In 2019 BAPA+40 Outcome Document recognized the importance of rapid urbanization in developing countries and called for “greater South-South and triangular cooperation aimed at eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions in urban and rural areas through more coordinated policies and sharing of knowledge, solutions and experience, by raising the productivity, resilience, and sustainability at the local level”. This was an important acknowledgment of the cities as actors in South-South and triangular cooperation. The outbreak of the COVID-19 gave this process a renewed sense of urgency. There are numerous similarities in the way COVID-19 spread across different cities around the world, although affecting each city at different times. Sharing knowledge and solutions across cities can not only help to avoid past mistakes but also identify what works in different contexts.
The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) initiated the South-South and Triangular Cooperation among Maritime-Continental Silk Road Cities for Sustainable Development Project (Cities Project) in partnership with the Government of China to advocate, promote and support South-South cooperation at the city level, by leveraging the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative. Specifically, since the outbreak of COVID-19, the Cities Project has been working to: 1) support sourcing, mobilization of medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) donations of partner cities; 2) advocate for expression of solidarity among cities; 3) facilitate exchanges among medical professionals and relevant local government officials on COVID-19 response practices and learnings through online platforms; and 4) support documentation and dissemination of cities good practices in COVID-19 containment and risk mitigation.
About the webinar:
The webinar: “Cities and Local Administrations as Actors in Responding to COVID-19 & the Role of South-South & Triangular Cooperation” addressed: 1) role of cities in responding to COVID-19 in different countries 2) health and socio-economic measures that have been put in place by the city of the local government, and 3) role and the potential of South-South and triangular cooperation in exchanging practices; preparedness of the cities to document and share solutions. The aim of this webinar was to contribute to a global exchange of experiences that could increase understanding of the challenges and solutions, improve the effectiveness of cross-disciplinary responses, and leverage cooperation amongst countries, including through South-South and triangular cooperation.
Moderator: Mr. Artemy Izmestiev, Policy Specialist, USPC. Following are the details of the speakers:
- Mr. Jorge Chediek, Director of UNOSSC & Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation New York, United States
- Ms. Anan Atteerh, Deputy Governor and the Head of the Health Committee of Nablus Governorate, State of Palestine
- Mrs. Rohey Malick Rowe, Lord Mayor, Banjul, the Gambia
- Ms Jie Ding, Deputy Director, Nanjing Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Nanjing, China
- Mr. Alessandro Attolio, Executive Director of Innovation, Territorial Services and Planning at the Province of Potenza, Local Authority, Italy
- Ms. Laurence Kwark, Secretary General of the Global Social Economy Forum (GSEF), Seoul, Republic of Korea
- Mr. Stephan Klingebiel, Director of USPC, Republic of Korea