The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated an unprecedented global crisis, with thousands of lives lost, millions of families affected, and with poor and densely populated areas paying the highest toll. Many urban settlements have reacted rapidly and effectively to contain the virus, mostly thanks to first responders commitment, local authorities’ readiness and families confinement collaboration.

Although shortcomings have been exposed in many urban areas putting extra pressure on the social protection, education, health, and welfare systems, resulting in increased stress for families. Local and regional authorities have a critical task to protect all family members, stall the pandemic and prepare their communities for recovery and strengthened resilience. At the same time, the impact of COVID-19 has re-shaped urban life around the world. Local communities have played a key role in contributing to keeping people safe and maintaining some economic activities.

In this crisis as in many others, the family unit has proven to be one of the main agents for recovery, governance, protection and development within societies and thus cornerstone for the post-COVID-19. If families are these crucial development agents, an adequate environment is needed to facilitate their role. Local authorities should be considered the family unit as an important social agent to respond, recover, prevent and prepare for the ongoing challenges.

The recognition of communities’ value must be maintained beyond the virus outbreak. In the transition to a new sustainable urban normality, local communities must play an expanded role supporting government stimulus packages for employment creation, delivery of essential services, ensuring a green-economic transformation, the provision of adequate shelter and public space and reestablishment of local value chains. The Inclusive Cities for Sustainable Cities project is a worldwide alliance promoted by the International Federation for Family Development that aims to be inclusive of sustainable families by being responsive to their needs in these ten issues, based on 2030 Agenda and Habitat III and under the leadership of the Veneto Region in Italy: Housing, New Technologies, Education, Healthcare, Safety, Clean Air, Transportation, Affordability, Leisure and Tourism, and Vulnerable Families. Their commitment consists of presenting once a year the results in those topics and attending an annual Conference organized to share good practices.

As detailed by the Manifesto signed by all participants in the last annual meeting of the participants in the project, it is necessary to outline the model of a city that places the citizen at the center of its concerns and becomes responsive to the many challenges of the urban future, as a shareable and inclusive city which places family care as the basis for it. The report to be presented in this celebration is a first step towards this design for the future, enriched with lessons learnt during the pandemic.

The new law of the Veneto Region on ‘Interventions to support the family and natality’ is also a good example in the application of those principles.

Names and Titles of Speakers

Olivier, Yao, World President, International Federation for Family Development;
Roberto, Ciambetti, President, Veneto Regional Council;
Chris Williams, Director, UN-Habitat New York Liaison Office;
Jose Eduardo, Storopoli, Professor, UNINOVE University;
Beate, Prettner, Deputy Governor, Carinthia (Austria);
Gianna, Zamaro, Director of Social Policies and Disabilities, Autonomous Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia;
Georgios, Markopoulos, President, Regional Union of Municipalities of Attiki;
Rodrigo, Massi, International Relations Coordinator, Municipality of São Paulo;
Francesco Rucco, Mayor, City of Vicenza;
Valdemar, Bernardo Jorge, Secretário de Planejamento, State Secretariat for Sustainable Economic Planning, Parana;
Jean-Max, Trouillet, President of the Steering Committee, European Local Inclusion and Social Action network (ELISAN)