Committed to Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All

In Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC


COVID-19 that is continuing to cause human tragedy, social upheaval and economic turmoil across the globe can be considered as a once-in-a-century ecological security crisis that creates an urgent need for an in-depth reflection on the relationship between human beings and nature. But striking a balance between the two will not be possible unless the root causes - rampant destruction of nature, increasing resources depletion, sprawling cities and human settlements, unabated greenhouse gases emissions, unsustainable consumption and production patterns are rapidly halted.

The international community therefore must heed to the unprecedented wake-up call that COVID-19 has offered to take decisive action to halt destruction of nature and tackle the imminent threats that undermine the health of ecosystems and disrupt the global climate, through combining the post-pandemic recovery of peoples well-being and an aggressive transformation towards sustainability. Thus we shall be able to achieve our vision of a healthy planet upon which all life depends to survive and thrive.

The year 2020 has led the world into a decade of action on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and the UN calls for a networked and inclusive multilateralism which will not only allow the outpouring of global solidarity to combat Covid-19 crisis, but help overcome the challenges of our current era. 2020 also marks the 15th anniversary of Global Forum on Human Settlements which has been dedicating to make sustainable cities and human settlements for all.

With the COVID-19 being projected to become a new normal, human society will be reshaped. Cities remain as the key battleground to strive for economic growth and sustainable development. But on the pathways towards the future, the first and foremost agenda is to ensure that cities are safer, securer and healthier, that cities become increasingly resilient to pandemic, climate, and various ecological crises, and that cities are closely linked to rural areas and nature to enable interactions in a positive and synergistic way. In the process, Resilient Cities need to be put in a better position to protect and enhance people's lives, secure development gains, foster an investible environment, and drive positive change. Only by maintaining ecological integrity and reinforcing urban resilience can we foresee a future that is safe, inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable.

Against this background, the 15th Annual Session of Global Forum on Human Settlements (GFHS 2020) was organized in a virtual format as an observance of Urban October on October 15-16, 2020, with the theme being Post-Pandemic Recovery and Transformation: Resilient Cities, Healthy Planet. The Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Awards Ceremony 2020 fell on the afternoon of October 16 (Central European Time).