Antonio Guterres urges to rebuild cities after COVID-19
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged to interact and rebuild cities amidst the large-scale spread of COVID-19, stated an article published on the UN website. He noted that urban areas are a ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic, with 90 percent of reported cases. More than 55 percent of all people live in cities, while 24 percent of city residents live in slums with high population density and lack of basic sanitary and hygienic conditions.
“Cities are bearing the brunt of the crisis, many with strained health systems, inadequate water and sanitation services, and other challenges. This is especially the case in poorer areas, where the pandemic has exposed deeply rooted inequalities,” announced the UN Secretary General.
Antonio Guterres offered three key recommendations: to ensure that all phases of the pandemic response tackle inequalities, to prioritize those who are the most vulnerable, to strengthen the capacities of local governments and advance the Sustainable Development Goals.
The UN Secretary General said that there are also positive aspects. COVID-19-related restrictive measures have led to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Pollution levels dropped significantly in major cities such as Barcelona, Milan, London and Paris, according to a May report by the UN Economic Commission for Europe.
In order to ensure that this figure does not deteriorate, cities’ mayors increased funding for the construction of new cycle paths and pedestrian zones.