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5 October 2020

Digital Edition - Hopin Platform

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold globally, cities are currently bearing the brunt of the crisis. 90 percent of cases reported thus far have occurred in cities. If not addressed effectively, the health and socio-economic impact of the crisis threatens to jeopardize the ambitious goals set out in the 2030 Agenda.

At a time where the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has just started, the COVID-19 crisis forces policy-makers to think outside the box and identify innovative solutions. To advance such solutions, coordinated actions at all levels of government and by many stakeholders are required, including at the local level.

As pointed out in the recent UN Policy Brief ‘COVID-19 in an Urban World’, cities and municipalities are home to extraordinary solidarity and resilience. In many countries, cities and regions have core competencies for policy areas underlying the SDGs such as water, housing, transport, infrastructure, land use or climate change. Beyond SDG 11, which focuses on cities and communities, an estimated 65% of the 169 targets behind the 17 SDGs will not be reached without engagement of local and regional governments.

While the socio-economic economic crisis triggered by the lockdown measures has further exacerbated existing challenges in many cities, the authority vested in cities thus provides a unique window of opportunity to Mayors, local representatives and urban stakeholders to build back better and to realize resilient, inclusive, gender-equal and green economic recovery for the advancement of the SDGs.

Conducted for the fifth year in a row, Bridge for Cities 2020 provides a forum for Mayors and urban stakeholders to discuss and exchange views on relevant experiences, challenges and opportunities. This year’s event will place particular emphasis on green, social and technological innovations to respond and recover from the crisis and act as an accelerator for the SDGs, thus also helping to define the future of cities.

Concept Note

Key themes

The manufacturing sector has been one of the sectors most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, with the largest decline witnessed in micro, small- and medium enterprises (MSMEs). The sector plays a critical role not only for job and wealth creation, but also in the context of providing essential personal protective equipment (PPE). In many cities, notably in developing countries, economic decline during the crisis has followed income lines, with  repercussions on citizens’ well-being and access to basic services. The response and recovery measures taken by cities to pursue inclusive growth and job creation are therefore of vital importance to develop livable cities.

Lockdown and social distancing measures in the trail of the COVID-19 crisis have disrupted our normal ways of living, working, and communicating. Digitalization has proven to be instrumental to overcome some of these difficulties, helping local governments to respond to ever-changing exigencies in terms of governance, social services, commerce, work and health. Promoting behavioural shifts and applying technology-based smart city solutions to managing the effects of COVID-19 are of continued importance to urban economy, even beyond the crisis.

Cities are engines for growth, as they are home to the great majority of a country’s productive, industrial and manufacturing activities. At the same time, they are paying the highest toll in terms of pollution and environmental degradation and have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 crises. The lockdown measures applied in the great majority of industrialized and other countries have had disastrous consequences on economic growth but a positive short-term environmental impact. This demonstrates that decisive, targeted, collective action can quickly transform the environment but must also be designed to drive sustained recovery. The crisis provides a unique opportunity to expand investments in an equitable green transformation, which will create lasting solutions and reduce the risks of future crisis and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Agenda

The Organizers of the event will welcome participants and share their introductory remarks.

Participants:

  • Mr. LI Yong, UNIDO Director General
  • Mr. Cai E-Sheng, Chairman, Finance Center for South-South Cooperation
  • Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director, UN-Habitat
  • Mr. Zhao Houlin, Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union
  • Mr. Ernst Woller, First President of the Provincial Parliament of Vienna, Austria
  • Mr. Pirouz Hanachi, Mayor of Tehran, Iran
  • Ms. Anna Lisa Boni, Secretary General, EUROCITIES

Participants will find a dedicated space to virtually connect and discuss the key themes of the event.

Innovative economic recovery: Accelerating digitalization for smarter cities
Lockdown and social distancing measures in the trail of the COVID-19 crisis have disrupted our normal ways of living, working, and communicating. Digitalization has proven to be instrumental to overcome some of these difficulties, helping local
governments to respond to ever-changing exigencies in terms of governance, social services, commerce, work and health. Promoting behavioural shifts and applying technology-based smart city solutions to managing the effects of COVID-19 are of continued importance to urban economy, even beyond the crisis.
The townhall interview will focus on how recovery and a successful transition into smart cities rests upon the creation of a collaborative and innovative environment of in cities, which can drive the fourth industrial revolution forward and facilitate the early adoption of technologically advanced and environmentally-friendly industrial solutions for cities’ development.
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Mr. Carlo Ratti is an Italian architect, engineer, inventor, educator and activist. He is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he directs the MIT Senseable City Lab, a research group that explores how new technologies are changing the way we understand, design and ultimately live in cities.

Participants will find a dedicated space to virtually connect and discuss the key themes of the event.

Inclusive economic recovery: Driving business innovation and job creation for liveable cities

Focus:

 - Share the actions undertaken by cities to support inclusive recovery, especially in the areas of women and youth employment and support to small businesses.

 - Highlight examples of response and recovery measures taken by cities to leverage the disruptions created by the crisis to promote inclusive, gender-responsive, sustainable 4IR transition.

 - Discuss the potential of city-based initiatives to improve the enabling ecosystem for MSMEs; promote innovation, inclusivity and partnerships; secure investment in digital infrastructure; ensure local access to advanced technologies; develop local digital skills and attract talent.

 - Explore the role of cities as launch pads for the digital transformation of MSMEs.

Moderator: Mr. Bernardo Calzadilla Sarmiento, Managing Director, Directorate of Digitalization, Technology and Agri-business, UNIDO


Panellists:
Mr. Ullrich Sierau, Mayor of Dortmund, Germany
Ms. Maria Isabelle Climaco, Mayor of Zamboanga, Philippines
H.E. Sheikh Hisham bin AbdulRahman Al Khalifa, Governor of the Capital Governorate, Kingdom of Bahrain
Mr. Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Mayor of Almaty, Kazakhstan
Mr. WANG Xinwei, Mayor of Zhengzhou. China
Mr. Naina Andriantsitohaina, Mayor of Antananarivo, Madagascar
Mr. Ernst Woller, First President of the Provincial Parliament of Vienna, Austria
Mr. ZHANG Yong, Vice Mayor of Shenzhen, China

Participants will find a dedicated space to virtually connect and discuss the key themes of the event.

Focus:
 - Discuss effective institutional frameworks and policies, including green procurement and public-private partnerships for harnessing stakeholders’ potential for enhanced greening of the cities economies in the post-pandemic world.
 - Present examples of cities’ economic recovery plans, highlighting successful co-design and synergies with businesses deploying green technologies.
 - Pave the way for key stakeholders to address COVID-19 related urban development challenges, through eco-design solutions, bringing circular economy integration to life in companies, cities and within digital/physical networks.


Moderator: Mr. Stephan Sicars, Managing Director, Directorate of Environment and Energy, UNIDO

Panellists:
Mr. Yousef Al Shawarbeh, Mayor of Amman, Jordan
Ms. Rose Senanayake, Mayor of Colombo, Sri Lanka
Ms. Manal Awad, Governor of Damietta, Egypt
Mr. Milan Trivić, Deputy Mayor of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mr. Kong Vitanak, Deputy Governor of Sihanoukville Province, Cambodia
Ms. Souad Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia
Mr. Carlos Mario Marin, Mayor of Manizales, Colombia
Mr. Gabor Kerpel-Fronius, Deputy Mayor of Budapest, Hungary

UNIDO's representative will wrap up the event's discussions and conclude the event.

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