UNDRR GETI & WHO Webinar - Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic series - COVID-19: Responding, Re-opening and Recovery Towards Resilience of Cities (co-organized with UCLG & ICLEI)

Organizer(s) United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction - Office in Incheon for Northeast Asia and Global Education and Training Institute for Disaster Risk Reduction World Health Organization (WHO) United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability



The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the need to scale up global efforts to strengthen resilience at all levels. The challenges of managing disasters while reducing disaster risks in countries, cities and communities have been exposed. Nevertheless, a range of international instruments and frameworks exist, to support countries in managing disaster risks and events, in particular the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and the Health Emergency and Disaster Risk Management Framework (2019), providing guidance to protect development gains from the risk of disasters due to natural, human-induced and environmental hazards. An Interim Guidance for Local Authorities on “Strengthening preparedness for COVID-19 in cities and urban settings” was also published by the World Health Organization in May 2020.

Since 2010, the Making Cities Resilient (MCR) Campaign has been encouraging local governments to take a systems approach to disaster risk reduction, engaging with all sectors and stakeholders with the aim to reduce disaster risks from all hazards. It is important to acknowledge that when the MCR Campaign ends later this year, and its successor the Making Cities Resilient 2030 is launched, local governments and cities will continue to take stock and move forward, learning from the COVID-19 pandemic and further committing to building stronger and more resilient systems. This webinar aims to capture some of these experiences and lessons learned, for present and future use.

Content and Objectives


Cities are on the frontline in managing complex scenarios arising from response to disease outbreaks and addressing the cascading socio-economic impacts as well as concurrent emergencies. The World Bank estimates that ‘about 100 million people will likely fall into poverty due to the impact of the pandemic, with as many as 49 million falling into extreme poverty. Many of these “new poor” will be people living in cities and who are self-employed, mostly working in the informal sector’ . Additionally, ‘Local authorities are expected to have 15% to 25% less revenues next year’  due to the acute contraction of economic activities, a decline of trade and exports, as well as tourism revenues and remittances following cross-border restrictions and lock down measures.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights that cities need to transition to a ‘new normal’ that allows interaction, trade, communication, wealth creation and development. Local authorities can use this as an opportunity to shape new and innovative policies that strengthen health systems, improve social protection, pursue climate-friendly solutions, and continue on the pathway towards resilience.

Resilience building is a long-term journey. Thus, this webinar aims to present and discuss the experiences of cities in preparing for, responding to and efforts to recover from the wide-ranging health and socio-economic impacts of the pandemic. It will explore what cities visualize as the new normal and how they are planning and preparing to re-open and recover from COVID-19 in a way that can strengthen the resilience of their cities while remaining vigilant about the ongoing pandemic.


Target audience:

Local government leaders, national and local government officials, urban resilience practitioners and experts from all regions.


Date and Time:

8 July 2020 (Wednesday)
07:30 Panama | 08:30 New York | 14:30 Geneva | 19:30 Bangkok | 21:30 Korea

Duration: 1 hour 30 min



Opening - Mr. Gino Van Begin, Secretary General of ICLEI


  • Urban Preparedness and Response for COVID-19 by Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, Assistant Director-General for Emergency Response, WHO
  • Making Cities Resilient by Ms. Mami Mizutori, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General (SRSG) for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR

Reflection from Local Government Leaders

  • Mr. Samuel Sserunkuuma, Ag. Deputy Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda
  • Mrs. Iman Rafii, Sub-Governor of Zgharta District/North Lebanon and Secretary General of the Disaster Risk Reduction Committee in North Lebanon Governorate
  • Mrs. Birgitta Sacrédeus, Member of Dalarna Regional Council, Sweden, and Member of the European Committee of the Regions

Closing - Ms. Emilia Saiz, Secretary General of UCLG

Moderator - Mr. Sanjaya Bhatia, Head of UNDRR Office for Northeast Asia and Global Education and Training Institute







  • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) Global Education and Training Institute (GETI)
  • World Health Organization (WHO)
  • ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability
  • United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)


Webinar Recording:



For more information:
Mutarika Pruksapong, UNDRR Global Education and Training Institute (GETI) at


Disclaimer: For the purpose of this event, UNDRR procures the services of Zoom Video Communications, Inc., an external service provider. Registration for this webinar is supported by the Zoom registration mechanism and does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities



with funding support from:



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