The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had and will continue to have consequences on all aspects of life in urban areas. Local, regional and metropolitan governments around the world have stepped up to the challenge and are responding quickly and creatively to unprecedented difficulties. But they are also reacting to the opportunities that have arisen by rethinking the role of cities and metropolitan areas in emergency situations.

The global crisis caused by the COVID-19 outbreak has pushed cities of all shapes and sizes into immediate action. In response to the urgent demands presented by the pandemic, we launched this platform in early March 2020. Our first step was to collate cities’ initial response efforts, aiming to provide local and regional governments, as well as city leaders, with inspiring ideas, tools and solutions. We also aimed to explore and improve new forms of city-to-city cooperation between administrations across different levels, both during the emergency and beyond. Since then, we have showcased multiple examples of crisis management initiatives from around the world.

As we move beyond the initial emergency, Cities for Global Health is now helping to create a space for sharing recovery and transformation plans for cities. The response of governments to this crisis must account for the urgency of the situation, while embracing both short- and long-term perspectives. That’s why we want to provide decision-makers with ideas, policy models and action plans that not only react to the COVID-19 outbreak, but also serve as a means to tackle future emergencies, considering the unrelenting march of urbanisation, high density urban populations and other health, economic and environmental crises to come.

This collaborative platform has attracted wide support from day one, as demonstrated by the number of showcased initiatives and collaborators. Cities for Global Health is here to stay.

In a fast-moving crisis, local communities look to their governments for information, guidance, and leadership. However, they also have a critical role to play when the government response shows gaps and limitations. Faced with the emerging global economic, social and health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, communities are finding solutions to “glocal” problems–from the fight against poverty and inequality, to promoting gender equality and human rights, to tackling climate change.

At Cities for Global Health we want to collate local community initiatives and actions to respond to the needs that have been laid bare by the pandemic. In promoting shared learning and inspiration, we hope government leaders will give communities a say in decision-making and work towards building a more inclusive urban future.

Cities for Global Health is an initiative co-led by the World Association of the Major Metropolises (Metropolis), United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and the Euro-Latin-American Alliance for Cooperation between Cities (AL-LAs).

This initiative goes hand-in-hand with the “Live Learning Experience: Beyond the immediate response to the outbreak”, developed by UCLG and supported by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Metropolis.



In addition, this platform makes a key contribution to the “Emergency Governance Initiative for Cities and Regions” (EGI) by including models and examples that have been implemented globally. EGI is run jointly by Metropolis, UCLG and the London School of Economics (LSE). It provides local, regional and metropolitan governments with relevant information, suitable frameworks, and the knowledge and resources to navigate the demands presented by governing emergencies.