United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has asked the world's leaders to rethink and reshape the urban world as cities have proved to be ground zero for the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a recorded message launching the latest UN policy brief "Covid-19 in an Urban World," he said, "Now is the moment to adapt to the reality of this and future pandemics. And now is our chance to recover better, by building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities."
In his message, Gueterres highlighted deeply-rooted inequalities in the poorest areas, citing strained health systems, inadequate water and other challenges that cities are facing in common – with 90 percent of reported novel coronavirus cases concentrated in urban areas.
He also mentioned the extraordinary solidarity and resilience that people in different cities have shown in the time of pandemic.
"As we respond to the pandemic and work towards recovery, we look to our cities as hubs of community, human innovation and ingenuity," said the top UN official.
According to Gueterres, in responding to the pandemic, the first line of business is to tackle inequalities and safeguard social cohesion.
"We must prioritise those who are the most vulnerable in our cities, including guaranteeing safe shelter for all and emergency housing to those without homes."
He added that the UN policy brief also recommended cities pursue a green, resilient and inclusive economic recovery.