Connecting cities for global health

July 2, 2020

The platform Cities for Global Health provides first-hand experiences on how local governments across the globe are dealing with this crisis.

Cities are at the forefront of COVID-19 response. The platform Cities for Global Health provides first-hand experiences on how local governments across the globe are dealing with this crisis.

Cities have been one of the most affected areas by the COVID-19 pandemic, which threatens to hit urban areas even harder, not only as a health crisis but as a social and economic crisis over the years to come.  To face these challenges, local governments are responding by putting forward many initiatives to try to “flatten the curve” of the virus, as well as to start recovering from its impact.

In this context, UNDP is collaborating, through its HUB for territorial partnerships – the ART Initiative, with the Cities for Global Health initiative. Launched by the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis), the Euro-Latin American Alliance for Cooperation between Cities (AL-LAS) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the platform aims to collect a wide range of responses, including plans, strategies & policies, to COVID-19 and its consequences from local governments all over the world.

By navigating through the platform, it is possible to see how cities are finding innovative ways of tackling the health emergency. It has been required to apply a great dose of creativity and adaptation to ensure business continuity, communicate confinement measures, and to acquire medical supplies. Yet, since this pandemic continues to expand globally, local leaders also need to mitigate its impacts on the economy and society.

This unprecedented situation poses many questions, hardships, and concerns to the cities affected by the outbreak. Supporting them in their work not only means channeling financial resources, but it also requires sharing knowledge, disseminating experiences, and fostering collective action against the current challenges.

Cities for Global Health initiative contributes to this effort. Since its launch, the platform is continuously growing, fostering city-to-city collaboration and collecting specific responses from cities around the globe to the COVID-19 outbreak. It has, so far, compiled more than 557 initiatives by 95 cities in 32 countries. They comprise prevention, containment, mitigation and recovery efforts.

How cities are responding

Do you need to design a plan to communicate the anti-coronavirus measures? Or to apply institutional adjustments in the local government you work in? Perhaps you don’t know how to mitigate the effects of the crisis concerning tourism activity in your city?

Cities for Global Health” showcases how different territories confront these challenges and disseminates economic, communication, technical and financial initiatives, among others. For instance, by consulting the platform, you can learn about the campaign “#NoEstásSola” launched by Madrid City Council, which served to inform women victims of gender and sexual violence to know that they can contact the specialized resources, when necessary, at any time, as they are an essential service. You can also know about how the city of La Paz ensured the access to food of families living far away from the Urban Macro Districts of the City by installing “mobile markets”.

Join us and contribute to the knowledge transfer

Do you have an innovative, hands-on or best practice to share with others? Would you like to contribute to solve some of the challenges of this global problem?

Do not hesitate to register and share your initiative on the platform, here. All information included in “Cities for Global Health” could be very useful for local civil servants and organizations to help effectively overcome the pandemic and its effects on populations and local economies.

Please send any questions that you may have on the “Cities for Global Health” platform to

About the UNDP ART initiative

The ART Initiative is a UNDP global programme for territorial partnerships that promotes sustainable human development at the local level. ART partners with local and subnational governments, their associations and other territorial networks to support their efforts towards the localization of the SDGs. Follow us on Twitter and Issuu.