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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - JEDDAH: Created by cities, for cities, Saudi Arabia’s Urban 20 (U20), a G20 engagement group, has initiated the creation of a Global Urban Resilience Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fund is a response to the findings of the U20 Special Working Group (SWG) on COVID-19, which was set up by the U20 chair city, Riyadh, together with co-chair cities Rome and Buenos Aires, as it gathered 32 case studies and surveyed 21 cities covering a population of more than 75 million.
“We have the opportunity right now to learn from the impact of COVID-19, to study how to build cities which are more resilient and agile.
The cities of the U20 have taken the lead to develop a fund for city action to combat the pandemic and mitigate future urban shocks,” said Saudi Arabia’s U20 chair, Fahad Al-Rasheed, president of the Royal Commission for Riyadh city.
The goal of the fund is to accelerate the transmission of new learning and ideas for a more secure future for urban residents, Al-Rasheed said. The goals of the fund include addressing the challenges that the pandemic has created for cities, and showing how vulnerable cities can be as many are not financially empowered to respond or build resilient city infrastructure of the magnitude required.
Goals also include providing critical infrastructure investments, grants, loans and emergency response funds.
Ten more cities were added as members including Amsterdam, Helsinki, Houston, Izmir, Los Angeles, Madrid, Mexico City, Rio De Janeiro and Tshwane. This was in addition to seven knowledge partners: University of Pennsylvania, Coalition for Urban Transition, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, OECD, International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group), Agence Française de Developpement and Universite Gustave Eiffel.
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