The informal economy is a crucial source of employment, products, and services for the more than 1.2 billion of the world's population living in informal and inadequate housing settings, while also making essential contributions to growing national economies. Yet, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the ongoing barriers vulnerable communities face, many residents have paradoxically become essential workers on the front lines that entire urban populations are relying on. Consequently, keeping communities that were typically ignored, underrepresented and/or undercounted are now a vital part of a city’s lifeline, despite livelihoods in these precarious neighborhoods remaining critically fragile. Residents are facing a failure to ensure labor protections, vastly insecure and/or inadequate housing and basic service infrastructure (such as water, adequate toilets, sewers, drainage, waste collection), overcrowding and space constraints, violence, food shortages, medical care, social service support, PPE (hand hygiene, eye protection, surgical or respirator masks, gowns, and gloves) and accurate health information about a pandemic that is changing rapidly and still largely unknown to experts. These conditions make physical distancing and self-quarantine all exceedingly complicated and the rapid spread of infectious disease alarmingly evident.
In this webinar, speakers from across the world dived into the most crucial challenges facing frontline informal residents and workers today and showcase innovative ways that leading organizations are supporting vulnerable communities to mitigate COVID-19 in some of the most challenging global settings. The panelists together created a unique call to action to support vulnerable communities by identifying immediate needs, opportunities for support.
Intro/Opening Remarks by Ethan Kent and UN-Habitat
Moderated by Giselle Sebag, MPH: Bloomberg Associates