The Chair of the Urban20, H.E. Fahd Al Rasheed, President of the Royal Commission for Riyadh City, calls for urgent action to assist cities in their efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic in view of the extraordinary Group of 20 (G20) Leaders’ Summit convened by the Saudi G20 Presidency on March 26th.
The letter calls for a coordinated response that is informed, influenced, and led by cities, highlighting the role of local and regional governments as the first responders to crises. It calls for the important role of local public service provision to be acknowledged, and expresses the concern of the Urban 20 cities in avoiding that the health crisis turns into a social crisis with long repercussions.
The statement pays special attention to the need of protecting the most vulnerable parts of the population, namely those living in informal settlements or slums within and around cities as well as older persons, women, children, people with disabilities, refugees, migrants, and the homeless.
Protection of local public servants and additional financial resources to maintain public infrastructure will be critical in the aftermath of the crisis. Actions from G20 national governments will be required now.
The letter concludes with a call for solidarity to those affected and support to the authorities combatting the pandemic.
The Urban 20 is now in the process of coordinating next steps towards the Summit envisaged to take place in October in Riyadh.
About Urban 20:
The U20 initiative was launched in 2017, seeking to coordinate a joint position among the mayors of G20 major cities to inform and enrich the discussions of national leaders at the G20. UCLG is, together with C40, the co-convener of the initiative, and has an active role in supporting the U20 chairs in delivering the objectives, meetings and outcome documents.