Whole-of-Society Approach to Creating Healthy, Resilient, and Sustainable Cities: Harnessing South-South Cooperation for a Post-COVID Era

This training serves as an introductory training for urban leaders, planners, and practitioners, aiming to (1) Increase awareness and understanding for managing complex urban disaster risks and enhancing public health emergency response preparedness, and SSTC; (2) Introduce useful concepts and tools to strengthen whole-of-society engagement in urban disaster risk management; (3) Better prepare city stakeholders and engage them in making cities resilient for future crises, health and non-health emergencies and uncertainties; (4) Facilitate learning through SSTC towards sustainable development; and (5) Inspire and motivate whole-of-society (especially young people) to play a key and active role in securing resilient and sustainable urban futures.

The training is jointly developed by the UN Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Global Education and Training Institute (UNDRR GETI), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and was held live on 7, 14, 21, and 27 June 2023.

Language: English
Health topic

Course information

Overview: The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the world what climate change has yet to, that prevailing risk governance and risk management architecture, mechanisms and approaches are inadequate when dealing with systemic, interconnected drivers of risks and cascading impacts. It demonstrated the consequences of failing to grasp and manage the drivers of risk creation and propagation in and across sectors, disciplines, geographies, scales and through time which negatively impact the health and well-being of humans and ecosystems and exacerbate vulnerabilities and exposure.(The Report of the Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030)

2023 marks the midpoint in the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the 2030 Agenda and other 2015 agreements which provides a major opportunity for all to review the progress and change course towards sustainable and resilient future for all. The finding from the Mid-term Review of the Sendai Framework reveals that while progress is being made, risk creating is outstripping risk reduction and the progress in risk governance and decentralization of disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies and implementation at the local level remains a challenge. Collaboration is critical not only with government offices, institutions, or entities responsible for disaster and crisis management, but also with all stakeholders, requiring an all-of-society and all-of-government engagement and partnership for its achievement. Capacity building of local risk management is a key priority that must be supported and guided by the national-level authorities and partners at all levels. It is also highly crucial to ensure inclusivity in DRR governance structure and enable whole-of-society engagement and participation.

The Buenos Aires outcome document of the second High-level United Nations Conference on South-South Cooperation (BAPA+40) in 2019, recognizes that local authorities as well as women and youth, play a growingly indispensable role in South-South and Triangular Cooperation (SSTC) which can take different forms, such as knowledge sharing, training and capacity building, and technology exchange in thematic areas, such as disaster risk mitigation and climate change. BAPA+40 outcome document also places need and importance to promote inclusive societies for achieving sustainable development, and to build effective, accountable, and inclusive institutions at all levels.

According to the UN, as of 2021, the global youth population is estimated to be 1.2 billion (16% of world population) and about 60% of world’s young people live in developing countries. Youth can play significant role in DRR and have the potential to build safer and more resilient communities through, for example, raising awareness on DRR and disaster preparedness and response, advocating for policy changes and better DRR strategies that prioritize the needs and safety of their communities, promoting youth volunteerism in disaster response efforts; developing and utilizing innovative technologies and digital and social media tools that can help in DRR, and serving as a catalyst for community engagement.

Since 2020, UNOSSC, UNDRR GETI, PAHO/WHO and WHO have jointly organized three annual certificate online training programmes focusing on harnessing South-South Cooperation, DRR and integration of health emergency response and preparedness in building resilience cities and societies, responding to different phases of the outbreak, emergency response and recovery of COVID-19 pandemic. The past three annual training series were well attended by over 6000+ participants from 155 countries and territories.

Building on the success of past three training series and learning from the pandemic, the fourth annual training was organized in June 2023 with the aim to provide a foundation of thoughts for engaging multi-governments and multi-stakeholders especially most at-risk groups such as women, youth and person with disabilities in DRR and public health emergency response and preparedness. The course emphasizes a whole-of-society approach to managing complex risk and creating healthy, sustainable, and resilient cities with practical examples and useful tools.

Course duration: Approximately 6 hours.

Certificates: A Certificate of Achievement will be available to participants who score at least 80% of the total points available across all the quizzes that appear at the end of each module. Participants who receive a Certificate of Achievement can also download an Open Badge for this course. Click here to learn how.

What you'll learn

  • Describe the connections between systematic risks, DRR, public health emergency response preparedness, SSTC, and the whole-of-society approach to public health and disaster risk management;
  • Apply concepts and tools such as the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities – Public Health System Resilience Addendum to enhance engagement of multi-governments and multi-stakeholders in DRR, health response and preparedness, and SSTC;
  • Provide examples of good practices and relevant solutions for multi-stakeholder engagement and participation in DRR, health emergency response preparedness, and SSTC.

Who this course is for

  • Local and national government officials in charge of disaster risk reduction and management, urban development and planning and public health emergency preparedness, national associations of municipalities, urban resilience and development practitioners, as well as civil society, private sector, and academia. The course is open to all applicants from both developed and developing countries, especially young people. Participants from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDs) are highly encouraged.

Course contents

  • Welcome

  • Module 1: Welcome and introduction: Whole-of-society approach to disaster risk reduction (DRR), public emergencies preparedness and South-South and triangular cooperation (SSTC):

    This session stresses the importance of the whole-of-society approach to building city resilience, especially in engaging meaningfully with city-wide stakeholders and multi-government sectors as well as the importance of learning from peer and through south-south and triangular cooperation.
  • Module 2: Using Public Health System Resilience Scorecard Addendum to strengthen stakeholder engagement and integration of public health and disaster risk reduction planning: Case examples from local government and stakeholders:

    This session is a deep dive into a practical tool to support cities in enhancing the integration of public health system resilience issue in disaster risk management and engaging with multi-stakeholder. It focuses on the Disaster Resilience Scorecard for Cities – Public Health System Resilience Addendum, and experience sharing from urban resilience practitioners from sub-national government and academia.
  • Module 3: Whole-of-society in urban health disaster risk management: from theory to practice :

    This session focuses on key frameworks, concepts and tools on health emergency and disaster risk management in the urban context and the whole-of-society and whole of government approach to reduce risks and impacts of emergencies and disasters. It also addresses the role of youth in health emergencies and disability inclusion in disaster risk management.
  • Module 4: Pandemic preparedness and the role of youth and local communities in addressing future crises :

    This session aims to inspire individuals and organizations to prevent future pandemics, respond effectively to crises, and engage young people and local communities in pandemic preparedness and response efforts. It covers topics related to pandemic preparedness, including training and capacity development, global health equity, DRR awareness and communication approaches, and education. Panelists discuss the need for a coordinated and collaborative response to pandemics, the role of technology, and the empowerment of youth and local communities in pandemic preparedness and response efforts
  • Final Assessment

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Learners enrolled: 2596

Certificate Requirements

  • Gain a Record of Achievement by earning at least 80% of the maximum number of points from all graded assignments.
  • Gain an Open Badge by completing the course.