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UN-Habitat is responding to a growing volume of requests from both national and local governments to help them prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Building on more than 40 years of urban experience, much of it in humanitarian situations, we are focusing on the city-level response to the crisis. We are leveraging our extensive network of partners on the ground, bringing together mayors, governors, transport and utility providers, urban NGOs, women’s and youth groups, and slum-dweller community organizations. And we will bring our catalytic support to help central and local governments, communities and UN agencies to make their work more impactful.

As a centre of excellence on urban issues with a portfolio in more than 60 countries, UN-Habitat’s expertise covers a wide range of areas including housing, participatory slum upgrading, youth and gender initiatives, transport, water and sanitation, research and innovation. We will bring the power of these experts to the service of cities as they meet their specific and varied challenges over the coming months and beyond.

UN-Habitat has moved ahead quickly with implementing emergency projects and has mobilized over USD 1 million of its own internal funds to provide seed funding for scaling up in 13 countries with community preparedness, outreach and hygiene support in addition to the realignment of some projects at the country level for the immediate emergency response.

UN-Habitat is working closely within the United Nations system at the country, regional and global levels in its response to the pandemic and is supporting the three tracks outlined in the UN Secretary-General’s report: Shared Responsibility, Global Solidarity: Responding to the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.

UN-Habitat is focusing on three major response areas to tackle COVID-19 and its impact in different urban contexts and types of communities:

  1. Supporting local governments and community-driven solutions in informal settlements
  2. Providing urban data, evidence-based mapping, and knowledge for informed decision making
  3. Mitigating economic impact and initiate recovery


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