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Global mayors come together to lead Covid-19 recovery task force

Chaired by the mayor of Milan, the task force has been established to drive forward an economic recovery that improves public health, reduces inequality and addresses the climate crisis. 

The group of global mayors want to drive forward a sustainable recovery from Covid-19
The group of global mayors want to drive forward a sustainable recovery from Covid-19

C40 Cities has announced the 11 mayors confirmed to participate in the newly launched Global Mayors Covid-19 Recovery Task Force to drive forward a sustainable and fair economic recovery from the crisis.


Mayor of Milan, Giuseppe Sala will today chair the first meeting of the task force.


In a separate announcement, C40 Cities has published a guide for city leaders, building managers and citizens on how to reduce and manage exposure to indoor air pollution given that emerging evidence indicates that people with poor lung health may be at greater risk of complications or death from Covid-19.


Who are the mayors?


The other members of the task force are: mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, Yvonne Aki Sawyerr; secretary for the environment of Hong Kong, China, KS Wong; mayor of Lisbon, Portugal, Fernando Medina; mayor of Rotterdam, Netherlands, Ahmed Aboutaleb; mayor of Medellín, Colombia, Daniel Quintero Calle; lord mayor of Melbourne, Australia, Sally Capp; mayor of Montréal, Canada, Valérie Plante; mayor of New Orleans, US, LaToya Cantrell; mayor of Seattle, US, Jenny Durkan; and mayor of Seoul, South Korea, Won-soon Park.


The task force will explore ways for the economic recovery from Covid-19 to get people back to work, while ensuring climate breakdown doesn’t become an even bigger crisis for the global economy and the lives and livelihoods of communities worldwide.


“When the time comes to reopen and rebuild, our efforts will define our cities for decades to come – and as mayors, it’s our responsibility to lay the foundation for the fair society and healthy planet our residents deserve,” said C40 chair and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti. “Cities worldwide led the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we will marshal all of our local resources to advance a robust global recovery – to get people back to work and accelerate action to address the climate crisis.”

“When the time comes to reopen and rebuild, our efforts will define our cities for decades to come – and as mayors, it’s our responsibility to lay the foundation for the fair society and healthy planet our residents deserve.”

Mayor of Milan and chair of the task force, Giuseppe Sala, said: “We know we do not want to take any steps back from our commitment on creating more sustainable, more equitable and healthier cities.


“We know we do not want to leave any fellow citizen behind. Our cities face an unprecedented challenge now and we are motivated to draw from our collective experience to provide support and guidance to mayors around the world. We must be ambitious and focused as well as creative. I thank fellow mayors for their trust and collaboration.”


The task force, representing the geographic reach and diversity of the C40 network, will convene at regular intervals in the coming weeks and months. It will be supported by the C40 Secretariat and report to the C40 Steering Committee, chaired by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti.


Indoor pollution guide


While outdoor air pollution has decreased in some cities during the pandemic, many people are spending more time inside, so protecting indoor air quality is as important as ever.


The C40 Indoor Air Pollution Guide is intended to help improve indoor air quality both now and in the future, once the current crisis has passed. C40 said the recommendations are not intended to replace any local, regional, or national health guidance in the evolving circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.


It is part of a broader effort by C40 to provide relevant Covid-19 resources to cities and citizens around the world. The guide provides practical steps that citizens can take in their homes and in private and commercial buildings to reduce exposure to indoor air pollution, both during and after the Covid-19 crisis.


Key actions that individuals can take at home include:

  • Reducing any burning inside the home (such as incense, candles, and wood fires)
  • Send fumes/smoke outside by using an exhaust fan that vents to the outdoors, or opening a nearby window/door, if no fan is available
  • Minimise the use of home products that can create air pollution such as artificial air fresheners, pesticides, aerosol sprays, adhesives, and harsh cleaning products. These products release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.

For those that manage residential or commercial buildings, the guide outlines specific actions to protect building inhabitants, like increasing ventilation, ensuring HVAC systems have high efficiency air filters and converting gas stoves to electric.


Finally, the guide explores recommendations for city governments, such as bans on open burning near population centres, and implementing measures in the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration to reduce outdoor air pollution.


“By addressing indoor air pollution, we can help protect our health during the Covid-19 emergency, with the added benefit of reducing the emissions that are driving the climate emergency,” said Shannon Lawrence, director of global initiatives, C40.


“We hope this guide will empower individuals to address one aspect of their health that is within their control, as we all work together to fight this global crisis.”


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