Speaking on the occasion of World Cities Day 2017, UN-Habitat Executive Director Joan Clos highlighted the role of technology and the NUA in making cities more inclusive, efficient and accountable.
An event titled, ‘Accessible Cities United: Enabling future cities to be smart,’ highlighted how smart cities lead to advances in other areas, such as education, health and energy.
An ‘Urban Breakfast’ in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, concluded that Africa’s urban transition is unprecedented in scale and magnitude, with “profound implications” for inclusive and sustainable growth.
31 October 2017: The international community celebrated World Cities Day 2017 on the final day of “Urban October.” The Day focused on the theme, ‘Innovative Governance, Open Cities,’ and sought to: highlight the role of urbanization in global development and social inclusion; advance implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the New Urban Agenda (NUA); and exchange and showcase innovative practices in urban planning, building and management.
UN-Habitat joined partners for the global observation of the Day in Guangzhou, China. The Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Joan Clos, highlighted the role of technology and the NUA in making cities more inclusive, efficient and accountable. Specific activities included a World Cities Day Forum, a World Cities Day – Urban Governance Innovation Practices Exhibition and an Urban Cultural Exchange. [World Cities Day Website] [World Cities Day 2017 Website] [UN-Habitat Press Release on Guangzhou Hosting Global Observance of World Cities Day 2017] [UN-Habitat Story on World Cities Day Event in China]
Specific activities held on World Cities Day 2017 included a World Cities Day Forum, a World Cities Day – Urban Governance Innovation Practices Exhibition and an Urban Cultural Exchange.
On the occasion, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) organized an event titled, ‘Accessible Cities United: Enabling future cities to be smart.’ The meeting, which convened in New York, US, highlighted how smart cities lead to advances in other areas, such as education, health and energy. The event aimed to serve as a platform for sharing knowledge and identifying solutions to the challenges cities face in providing accessible infrastructure, services and information.
The event also launched the ‘Microsoft Translator’ project, which enables two people who speak different languages to have a conversation in real time, and can be used in cities to connect people with their local governments and with each other. [UN News Story on Accessible Cities Event] [DESA Event Page] [UN Social Development Network Story on Event]
On 30 October, an ‘Urban Breakfast,’ held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, ahead of the Day, concluded that Africa’s urban transition is unprecedented in scale and magnitude with “profound implications” for inclusive and sustainable growth. Organized by the UN Economic Commission for African (UNECA) and UN-Habitat, the event discussed: implementation of the NUA in Africa; the centrality of urbanization to sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 11 (cities and human settlements); and implications of rapid urbanization for the region’s structural transformation agenda. [UNECA News Story]
In 2013, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) designated 31 October as World Cities Day to promote the international community’s interest in urbanization, and cooperation among countries to address challenges of urbanization. The general theme of World Cities Day is ‘Better City, Better Life,’ while each year a different sub-theme is selected. World Cities Day is the first international day initiated by the Government of Chine, who first made the proposal during the World Expo 2010 Shanghai China.