Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the Bridge for Cities 2020 event, held today:

Urban areas have become epicentres of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an estimated 90 per cent of reported cases in cities and towns.  What started as a health emergency has quickly exacerbated major development challenges, such as unemployment and rising inequality.  The crisis has highlighted the critical frontline role of local governments in responding to emergencies.  It has also reminded us of the urgent need to transform cities to prepare for future crises.

Over the coming ten years of the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals — and as we recover from the pandemic and its socioeconomic impact — we must promote a stronger, durable recovery by building more resilient, inclusive and sustainable cities.

The United Nations system is committed to supporting cities in their efforts to recover and simultaneously achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including by providing platforms for cities to identify and engage with partners to jointly address common challenges.  I wish all mayors and other participants successful deliberations during this year’s “Bridge for Cities” event and trust that it will lead to solid and successful partnerships for a sustainable future.

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