UN Observance: World Cities Day, October 31

“Cities are increasingly the home of humanity. They are central to climate action, global prosperity, peace and human rights.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

2016 Theme: Inclusive Cities, Shared Development

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Recognizing the significance of urban basic services as a foundation for the overall social and economic development, the UN General Assembly designated by resolution 68/239 31 October as World Cities Day.

Planned urbanization maximizes the capacity of cities to generate employment and wealth, and to foster diversity and social cohesion between different classes, cultures, ethnicities and religions. Cities designed to live together create opportunities, enable connection and interaction, and facilitate sustainable use of shared resources.

The recently concluded Habitat III Conference adopted the New Urban Agenda, a vision for cities that are just, safe, accessible, affordable, resilient and sustainable. This marked a milestone in setting global standards for sustainable urban development, sparking new thinking on how we plan, manage and live in cities

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This year, the United Nations has selected the theme Inclusive Cities, Shared Development to highlight the important role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion.

Secretary-General’s Message for 2016

Cities are increasingly the home of humanity. They are central to climate action, global prosperity, peace and human rights. More than half of all people live in cities and human settlements, and that proportion is projected to grow to two thirds by 2050.

To transform our world, we must transform its cities.

Crime, pollution and poverty are taking their toll on hundreds of millions of city-dwellers. At the same time, urban areas are hubs of energy, innovation and economic dynamism. By investing in cities, we can advance progress across societies.

Momentum is building.

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Together with the other new global frameworks and Agendas – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Agenda for Humanity, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda – this New Urban Agenda will put sustainable urbanization at the centre of our efforts to eliminate poverty and achieve development and prosperity for all. It can also complement the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Local action is essential to realizing the potential of these global agreements. On World Cities Day, let us renew our resolve to confront urban problems and forge lasting solutions. Together, we can show how success in cities inspires change across the world.

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