- C40 Cities announced 11 mayors will unite to form a Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force to prioritize public health, economic equality and climate amid recovery from the new coronavirus.
- The task force will assess different global recovery approaches to identify how cities can best create new jobs while keeping emissions and climate change front-of-mind. The committee will help to ensure the "climate breakdown doesn’t become an even bigger crisis for the global economy and the lives and livelihoods of communities worldwide," C40 wrote.
- The following mayors have joined the task force, chaired by Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala.
|Yvonne Aki Sawyerr||Freetown, Sierra Leone|
|*KS Wong||Hong Kong|
|Fernando Medina||Lisbon, Portugal|
|Ahmed Aboutaleb||Rotterdam, the Netherlands|
|Daniel Quintero Calle||Medellín, Colombia|
|Sally Capp||Melbourne, Australia|
|LaToya Cantrell||New Orleans|
|Won-soon Park||Seoul, South Korea|
*KS Wong is the Secretary for the Environment of Hong Kong
Social distancing and stay-at-home orders have had the unintended effect of reducing emissions in cities, but leaders are now faced with the prospect of reopening their economies to restore normalcy — which could reverse those reductions.
Across the globe, the approach to recovery has been uneven. Some parts of China are well into recovery mode, while a handful of European countries and U.S. states have shown an eagerness to reopen by lifting aspects of their lockdowns, despite looming concerns. Other governments are treading more cautiously for fear of another spike in infections.
The new task force pulls together mayors from across the entire international, climate and economic spectrum. For instance, Aki Sawyerr said in a statement that one-third of Freetown residents live on less than $1 a day, while leaders in cities like Melbourne and New Orleans are accustomed to climate recovery following past disasters. These experiences and perspectives will enable the task force to develop both inclusive and scalable recovery practices.
There is broad agreement that it will take a long time for cities to resuscitate their economies after COVID-19 dies out, and those involved in the task force said this period presents an ideal opportunity to think differently about and combat climate change.
"While the full scale of a COVID-19 recession is uncertain, it is clear that we need a new strategy to prevent the climate crisis posing an even greater threat to our economy and citizens," Park said in a statement.
The task force could also be a place for cities to advocate for increased financial support from their national governments — a tactic that has gathered steam in the U.S. but has been subject to political headwinds in Congress. On the flip side, Wong said Hong Kong has received HK$ $288 billion ($37 billion USD) in relief support, equivalent to almost 10% of its entire GDP, with that fund helping create green jobs and investments in a "more resilient, smarter and greener mode of operations for the city."
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