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Act Local to Go Global provides universal theme for World Cities Day |

Act Local to Go Global provides universal theme for World Cities Day |


In his MeSSAge MARKING World Cities Daythe UN chief emphasized the critical role that urban areas have in achieving them Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The SDGs outline global actions and targets in 17 critical areas, including poverty reduction, gender equality and clean energy.

On World Cities Day, let’s resolve to work with cities to build a sustainable, inclusive and resilient world for all, he said.

Back to the SDGs

The SDGs were agreed by countries in 2015 and Mr. Guterres noted that next year marks the halfway point on the road to the 2030 deadline.

However, an honest look so far reveals a bleak picture, he added.

Across a range of critical goals from poverty and hunger to gender equality and education we are not seeing progress, but regressionsaid the General Secretary.

The consequences are dramatic: escalating climate chaos, rising poverty, rising inequality, and more.

Change course now

The General Secretary emphasized that we must change course and we can.

In line with the theme of the Days – Act Local to Go Global he said that the SDGs are global in scope, but implementation is local, meaning that their implementation mostly takes place in cities.

Currently, more than half the global population lives in urban areas, increasing to two-thirds by 2050.

Cities also generate over 80 percent of global economic activity and account for over 70 percent of carbon emissions.

Leading the green transition

The Secretary-General noted that many cities are already leading the transition to renewable energy, setting credible net-zero targets and building climate-resilient infrastructure.

“I encourage them to work with their governments and sister cities around the world to share experiences and help raise ambitionhe advised.

The UN chief underlined that the actions that cities take at the local level towards sustainability will be felt around the world.

Further, he added that transformative policies those pioneers today can catalyze the change you will save lives and livelihoods everywhere tomorrow.

The Pudong district is home to many of Shanghai's most iconic buildings.

The Pudong district is home to many of Shanghai’s most iconic buildings.

The festivities return to Shanghai

Global celebrations for World Cities Day are held in a different city each year. Shanghai hosted the first festivities in 2014, and the festivities returned there this year.

Shanghai is China’s largest city and the country’s president sent a congratulatory letter which was read by Shanghai Municipal Party Secretary Chen Jining.

Other dignitaries who addressed the opening ceremony were Housing and Urban-Rural Development Minister Ni Hong and Shanghai Municipal Government Mayor Gong Zheng.

Urban October ends

World Cities Day, held annually on October 31, caps a month of advocacy for sustainable urbanization, or Urban October.

Like the Secretary-General, the head of the UN agency that promotes a better urban future for all highlighted why countries need to step up the pace.

“We only have about 87 months, 380 weeks or 2,600 days left to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The best way to do this is through ensuring our cities and communities are sustainable. The time to act is now, said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of A-Habitats.

A government priority

UN-Habitat has been advocating for the localization of the SDGs since its adoption 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Agencies working in this area are guided by what she calls a territorial approach based on partnership, human rights and multi-level governance.

The priority for any responsible government is to ensure the quality of life for its citizens and make cities more child-friendly, accessible for the elderly, greener and friendlier, said the UN Resident Coordinator in China, Siddharth Chatterjee.

Global celebrations for World Cities Day 2022 were held in person and online. They were broadcast live at the UN compound in Nairobi, Kenya, the home city of UN-Habitat.

Representatives from China, Eritrea and Kenya attended the Nairobi ceremony, while more than 350 people from around the world joined the hybrid event, with over a dozen UN member states participating online from Nairobi.




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