By Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities   

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge on an unprecedented scale in peacetime. Responding to this crisis is, of course, the highest priority of every mayor in the C40 community. On behalf of all C40 colleagues, members and partners, we send our most sincere thanks and best wishes to all those officials working around the clock to protect the lives and livelihoods of those who live and work in our cities.

During this challenging time, we are working to use the powerful connections which have built up during C40’s 15-year history to help cities respond to this crisis. Our mayors are using C40 to learn from each other about the COVID-19 response and we will continue to support these efforts. For example, C40’s Food Systems Network has been organising webinars, calls and group texts to support information exchange on plans for feeding people during an outbreak. Cities in C40’s waste networks are sharing their experiences of how they are managing waste collection and treatment during the COVID-19 crisis. 

As an organisation, we are taking necessary precautions to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and assist the global community in slowing and reducing the ongoing spread of the virus. These measures include a cessation of all business travel by our staff, temporarily closing all C40 offices around the world and postponing all upcoming in-person meetings or events. We will be closely monitoring the advice of public health officials and following the latest guidance across our international operations and in each location where we operate.

Tackling the climate crisis remains C40’s overriding mission. We are fully committed to supporting our member cities as they reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build a more resilient, healthy and equitable future where everyone can thrive. We will be thinking over the coming weeks about how our collective response to the climate crisis may need to change once the world moves into recovery mode – this work needs to continue while our mayors focus on the immediate needs of their residents. 

C40 colleagues are working hard to identify solutions and ways of working that will allow us to continue delivering our vital mission throughout the coming weeks and months. 2020 will be a crucial year for climate action, as we embark on a decisive decade for the future of life on our shared planet. The scientific reality, that global emissions must halve by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050, remains as true today as it was on January 1st. 

C40 will continue to monitor developments, remain guided by the science and do everything we can to support our colleagues and member cities to create the future we want. 

From all of us at C40, we hope you stay safe and healthy during this challenging time.

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