Cities are at the forefront of the transition to complex risk management


Cities around the world have faced more challenges since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is exacerbating vulnerabilities and significantly impacting urban health and wellbeing. The COVID-19 pandemic reveals the new reality: cities live with uncertainties and face much more complex risks. To transition to a resilient and sustainable urban future, cities must evolve to reflect the interconnectedness of people, planet and prosperity. Cities need to move to systematic risk governance with a better understanding of systematic risks.

In this context, the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Global Education and Training Institute (UNDRR GETI), the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) organized a four-week certification training program from August 23 to September 13, 2022, dedicated to sharing experiences in the transition to risk management complexes and building a resilient future.

On September 13, the fourth and final session—South-South City Exchanges on Transitioning to Living with COVID-19 and Managing Complex Risk Scenarios—brought together experts, national and local authorities from Bangladesh, Chile and Thailand. Panelists shared their innovative practices and lessons learned from the systematic impact of the pandemic and complex risk management amid extreme weather events and climate emergencies.

This mutual learning and support enables city actors in all countries to collaborate and take collective action to reduce risk. Strengthening the institutional capacity and ecosystem of South-South and Triangular Cooperation in the Global South is crucial for continuous learning, knowledge sharing and capacity building among cities, as well as for a sustainable and sustainable future. resilient in the context of COVID-19 and other global crises.

On behalf of the co-organizers, Dr Qudsia Huda, Head of Disaster Risk Management and Resilience at WHO, emphasized in her closing speech: “A complex risk management approach should be able to protecting the health workforce and infrastructure in cities through a whole-of-society approach. This justifies strong and informed risk governance with strong leadership at all levels. Governors/mayors play this vital role in cities, and we are counting on you”.

This joint training took place for the third consecutive year following the success of the first edition focusing on the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and the second edition focusing on building back better from the pandemic in 2021. More than 1,300 people from 590 cities and districts in more than 140 countries and territories around the world participated in this year’s joint training, with simultaneous interpretation provided in 6 languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.


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