United Nations, Oct 31 : Over half of the world’s population now live in cities, with numbers expected to double by 2050, but while urbanisation poses serious challenges, cities can also be powerhouses for sustainable development; something the UN is spotlighting on World Cities Day, marked October 31.
The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will host a celebration at its Paris Headquarters on Thursday, convening representatives from all corners of the world for discussions on how cities can combat the climate crisis, create more inclusive urban spaces, and contribute to technical innovation.
Cities provide a wealth of opportunities, jobs included, and generate over 80 per cent of gross national product across the globe, according to UN estimates. Urban areas also account for between 60 and 80 per cent of all energy consumption, despite only occupying three per cent of the planet’s surface and are responsible for three quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions.
In addressing these pros and cons, the Organisation has advocated for a “people-centred” development model, and aims to “re-humanise cities” in the face of trends impacting them, from population growth, demographic shifts, and increasing the risk of disasters induced by climate change.
This year’s theme: “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations” spotlights the role of technology and young people in building sustainable cities. To do so, Thursday’s commemorative event will be organised along four key discussion themes: ‘Cities 4 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’, ‘Cities 4 Climate Action’, ‘Cities 4 Communities’, and ‘Cities 4 the Future’.
The UN-proclaimed World Day serves as a call for States, municipalities and city dwellers to work together for transformative change and sustainable strategies for cities, as urbanisation continues to swell. (UNI)