The UN Secretary General’s Policy Brief on COVID-19 in an Urban World reckons that urban areas are at the epicentre of the pandemic, accounting for an estimated 90 per cent of cases. Overcrowding and urban areas with poor infrastructure and housing or weak local governance leads to higher virus transmission.
Solutions start at the local level which is why cities and local communities are uniquely placed to protect and support displaced people. The Global Compact on Refugees recognizes the crucial role mayors and local authorities play as first responders, a role even more critical now when we are all faced with the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing shelter, health care, food and assistance are how a number of cities in South Africa are helping those forcibly displaced to cope through the pandemic.
On 20 November 2020, we organized a conversation between UCLG Africa, UNHCR, a refugee representative, and city authorities to discuss the commitment to create inclusive cities despite the challenges that COVID-19 presents.
Registration and participation
The event was held virtually, and participants connected via Zoom. Simultaneous interpretation was provided in Arabic, English, French and sign language and included closed captions.