COVID-19 Response Plan

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The world is living through an unprecedented crisis as COVID-19 continues to spread, with tens of thousands of lives lost and over two hundred countries affected. In just a few months, the pandemic has transformed the way we live, work, travel and socialize. The world’s cities are generally reacting quickly to this urban humanitarian crisis and how they respond is critical to protect their population, halt the pandemic and set the scene for resilience and recovery. Take a look at the latest data on COVID-19 Worldwide.


The impact of COVID-19 will be most devastating in poor and densely populated urban areas, especially for the one billion people living in informal settlements and slums worldwide. Working with partners, communities and other UN agencies, UN-Habitat will support evidence-based government and humanitarian responses by collating, analysing and producing urban spatial data to inform COVID-19 related actions in urban areas including vulnerable settlements and communities. There will also be area-based programming for an integrated response and to raise public awareness to foster behaviour change. Essential services such as hygiene, water, sanitation and health facilities will be improved, and innovative technology used.

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Innovative new platform tracks cities’ readiness and response to COVID-19

Over 2,500 cities and urban areas have been affected by COVID-19 and collecting data on their preparedness and response is key to ending the pandemic. UN-Habitat has launched an innovative tracker platform to assess how ready the world’s cities were for the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have coped with its arrival.

The city-based COVID-19 Readiness and Responsiveness tracker platform uses global metrics to provide critical and often unavailable information from cities around the world. The tracker provides information that is critical for protecting populations and informing resilience and recovery strategies and future responses to global pandemics.

“One of the most significant challenges raised by many local city leaders remains the lack of local level data to help them respond better to the COVID-19 pandemic” said the Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimunah Mohd Sharif. “It is critical for leaders to be able to identify where their resources can do the greatest good and where the needs are most urgent. We offer this tracker as one of many evidence-based tools that can help local decision-making processes.”

The web-based visual platform provides scoring for over 1,000 cities including, where data is available, cities with a population of 500,000 or higher along with country capitals and state/ provincial capitals for the USA, Brazil, India, and China and allows for the addition of cities as data becomes available.

The COVID-19 Readiness and Responsiveness tracker for cities is a unique scoring mechanism that integrates a range of data points to provide a COVID-19 Readiness Score and a COVID-19 Responsiveness Score on a scale of 0-100.

The Readiness Score is based on five core indicator areas: public health capacity, societal strength, economic ability, infrastructure, and national collaborative will. Meanwhile the Responsiveness Score is based on: spread response, treatment response, economic response and supply chain response. The input data is normalized to provide comparison between cities.

The tracker, available at https://unhabitat.citiiq.com/ is powered by the CitiIQ platform which is capable of sourcing, translating and communicating both the Readiness and Responsiveness scores of cities.

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