• Mayor of Milan to chair C40 Cities task force providing mayors with knowledge and tools for designing an economic recovery that improves public health, reduces inequality and addresses the climate crisis
  • Virtual meeting of 40 mayors and city leaders from 25 countries uniting to collaborate across borders in response to COVID-19 pandemic
  • Disease control experts from Singapore share knowledge and experience of mass testing and medical equipment to monitor and contain COVID-19

Today, C40 Cities announced the launch of a mayoral-led task force to accelerate sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.

C40 mayors are already sharing knowledge and expertise to overcome the immediate health crisis. The Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will see leading mayors worldwide collaborate to achieve an economic recovery from COVID-19 that enables people to get back to work, while preventing climate breakdown from becoming an even bigger crisis that halts the global economy and threatens the lives and livelihoods of people everywhere.

The mayors will discuss how to use huge public investment in the recovery to create a “new normal” for city economies, based on eliminating pollution and poverty, improving public health and increasing resilience to shocks.

The Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force was unveiled today during a virtual meeting of more than 40 mayors and city leaders from major cities across 25 countries, hosted by C40 Chair and Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti, to share expertise on protecting their residents during the COVID-19 crisis. C40 mayors and senior city officials have been regularly collaborating to share knowledge and solutions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

The mayoral task force will be chaired by Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan. Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region of Italy that has seen some of the worst impacts of COVID-19. The task force will be made up of representatives of mayors from every region within the C40 network, many of whom have unparalleled specialist expertise – including Mayor of Freetown Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, who was Director of Planning at the National Ebola Response Centre of Sierra Leone during the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic.

“Our immediate priority is to protect the health of our residents and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. As we navigate the devastating daily effects of this unprecedented crisis, however, we must also look towards how we will keep our people safe in the future,” said Mayor of Milan and C40 Vice-Chair, Giuseppe Sala. “How we structure our recovery efforts will define our cities for decades to come. It is our responsibility as mayors to ensure that we build a solid foundation so that our cities emerge as healthier, equitable and more sustainable places to live.”

“Mayors are always on the front lines in the face of any challenge, and the COVID-19 crisis is no exception — as our cities have taken swift action to respond to this pandemic, protect the health of our communities, and save lives,” said Eric Garcetti, C40 Chair and Mayor of Los Angeles. “We remain focused on the immediate health crisis, but we have to start planning for the recovery — and this task force will give us a venue to collaborate on the smart solutions needed to preserve public health, restart our economies, and keep forging a path to a more sustainable and equitable future.”

“In stark contrast to inadequate cooperation between national governments, mayors from cities worldwide are uniting to respond to the immediate COVID-19 health emergency, as they have done to address the ongoing climate crisis,” said Mark Watts, C40 Executive Director. “The task force will enable mayors to drive forward an economic recovery from COVID-19 that reduces the risk of future global crises by building healthy, equitable and zero-carbon communities.”

The Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force is the latest in a series of measures C40 has taken to foster international collaboration and knowledge sharing during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to facilitating the exchange of best practices between mayors of the world’s largest and most influential cities, C40 hosts critical resources on COVID-19 responses from cities worldwide on the C40 Knowledge Hub. C40 has also partnered with Bloomberg Philanthropies to assist in an informed global response by mayors to the challenges of the current health crisis. C40’s Board President Michael R. Bloomberg is making resources available to C40 cities via the Partnership for Healthy Cities, and including C40 mayors in the Bloomberg Harvard Local Coronavirus Response Initiative.

“The coronavirus pandemic has created enormous public health and economic challenges for the world. In the weeks and months ahead, mayors will need to address many vital issues at once, including public health and safety, economic relief and recovery, and rising social service needs — all against the backdrop of climate change,” said Michael Bloomberg, C40 Board President and Mayor of New York City, 2002-2013. “The task force we’re launching today will help mayors collaborate to create robust recovery programs that protect lives, get people back to work, and continue making progress in the fight against climate change.”

Through a series of thought-leadership papers, webinars and briefings from experts worldwide, the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force will provide mayors with the best available data, best practices and analysis for how to achieve an economic recovery that gets people quickly back to work, puts resources into the hands of those who need it most, and accelerates action to overcome the climate crisis.

Furthermore, the task force will collaborate with a powerful global partnership of economists, businesses, cities, labour and youth movements to put the world on track to deliver an inclusive, unified COVID-19 recovery plan.

The task force will be made up of mayors, representing the geographic reach and diversity of the C40 network, convening at regular intervals in the coming weeks and months. It will be supported by the C40 Secretariat and report to the C40 Steering Committee. The full membership of the task force, including the key advisors who will be supporting the mayors, will be announced shortly.

The virtual meeting of mayors hosted today by C40 Cities, also saw the Director of Communicable Disease at the Singapore Ministry of Health, Professor Vernon Lee, share Singapore’s experience of mass testing for COVID-19.

“Having a comprehensive and targeted testing strategy will help guide urban cities to perform testing in a more coordinated, effective, and resource-efficient manner,” said Professor Vernon Lee, Director of Communicable Disease at the Singapore Ministry of Health. “Complemented with prompt contact-tracing and quarantine of close contacts, this would allow for early detection and isolation of COVID-19 cases to contain the spread of infection. Dense urban centres are especially vulnerable to infectious disease threats. A single case can quickly cause an outbreak within the community. Early investments in pandemic preparedness and response is key to developing resilient healthcare systems for the future.”

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