How Cities are Working Together to Respond to COVID-19

Affairs for the City of Milan and Ambassador Nina Hachigian, Deputy Mayor of International Affairs for the City of Los Angeles, addressed the importance of city-to-city cooperation in the handling of the virus response and post-virus recovery. City-to-city cooperation does not have to apply to cities only in the U.S., but can work on an international level as well.

The city-to-city cooperation has included many levels. Beria noted that the pandemic has presented a steep learning curve but having communication with other cities has allowed cities to share knowledge, best practices and lessons learned for countries who are preparing for the response. Communication from city to city has given cities to opportunities procure medical equipment, seek advice, and general support.

Both Beria and Hachigian highlighted how the city-to-city collaboration and cooperation in Milan and Las Angeles has helped in cities approaches to learn from others. Hachigian stressed how impossible it is to overstate the actions Los Angeles has taken such as setting up their own testing sights, procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE), and redirecting their manufacturing, to name a few and all of which has been done without federal help. Hachigian stated how important it will be for cities in the U.S. to come together to call on the federal government to help rebuild their economies.

Both speakers spoke about the next steps they foresee for their cities. Hachigian stressed how city governments are now under intense pressure economically and financially. Plans going forward must address how to balance economic and financial pressures. Hachigian mentioned that this will be a time not only to recover but also to reimagine what the future for cities around the world will look like. Programs such as Care Corps, which was created by Oklahoma City’s Mayor, have been created to help give jobs to people that have been become unemployed as a result from Covid-19. These jobs will help in the overall response in fields such as R&D and contact tracing. Both, Hachigian and Beria stated that through the recovery and change this will bring, cities around the world are committed to creating sustainable plans with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the core of recovery plans.

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