Webinar with UN-Habitat: Urban-Rural Linkages in the Time of COVID-19 - Impact on the Urban Poor and Slum Dwellers in Asia and Africa

The fourth session of this webinar series, Urban-Rural Linkages in the time of COVID-19: Impact on the urban poor and slum dwellers in Asia and Africa, jointly organised by UN-Habitat with the GCRF Centre for Sustainable Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC), examined the impacts of COVID-19 on the urban poor and slum dwellers through the lens of urban-rural linkages in African and Asian cities.

View full concept note.

Watch video recording and download presentations via links below.


  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Opening remarks – Dr Shipra Narang, Chief, Urban Practices Branch, UN-Habitat
  • Joseph Muturi, Slum Dwellers International
  • Professor David Everatt, School of Governance University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Chairperson South African Statistics Council and Co-Investigator SHLC
  • Professor Debolina Kundu, National Institute of Urban Affairs (India), and Co-Investigator SHLC
  • Kerstin Sommer, Participatory Slum Upgrading Programme, UN-Habitat
  • Moderated discussion and Q&A
  • Takeaway and insights
  • Vote of thanks


  • Develop a deeper understanding on the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic on slum dwellers and the urban poor.
  • Discuss the contributions of urban-rural linkages and integrated territorial approaches to address the needs of slum dwellers and the urban poor in the face of COVID-19.


  • What are the territorial characteristics of slums in the city?
  • To what extent are the COVID-19 response measures enforced in slums?
  • What is the impact of COVID-19 on slum dwellers and what are their coping mechanism?
  • How are the impacts of COVID-19 on slum dwellers related to urban-rural flows of people, food, water, resources? How are communities in slum areas handling these links to face the crisis?
  • What actions can be taken by government and other actors to address the different needs of slums dwellers while strengthening urban-rural linkages in the face of COVID-19?
  • What capacities and institutions should be strengthened to take these actions?


The COVID-19 pandemic has serious impacts for people all over the world. These impacts are differentiated by social, economic and spatial inequalities, which pose distinctive challenges for slum dwellers and the urban poor. This demands special attention from governments at all levels, international organisations, local institutions, and academic and civil society actors.

SHLC researchers based at the National Institute of Urban Affairs of India, together with World Vision India, will share insights from a recent telephone survey exploring COVID-19 impact on slum dwellers and the urban poor in Indian cities. Researchers from the SHLC team based in South Africa will share insights about the current situation in Johannesburg.

UN-Habitat started a process beginning in 2015 that culminated in 2019 with numerous stakeholders agreeing the Urban-Rural Linkages: Guiding Principles and Framework for Action to Advance Integrated Territorial Development (URL-GP). The ten guiding principles seek to orientate the actions of different actors to reduce spatial inequalities and unequal access to resources and services across the urban-rural continuum. It is both important to understand and recognise the needs of slum dwellers and discuss the contribution of urban-rural perspectives so that no one in these communities is left behind.