• In 2013, United Nation General assembly voted for resolution 68/239 to adopt World Cities Day on 31st October every year to promote the international interest in global urbanization and its challenges.
  • The first world cities day celebration was on 2014, the world cities day 2018 will be on 31st October 2018, Wednesday.
  • The purpose of celebrating this day is to encourage coordination among countries in facing urbanization challenges and to create a sustainable urban development
  • To emphasize, this ‘Urban October’ was established by UN-Habitat in 2014 to foster an international community towards the new urban agenda.

Urbanization Definition

The Urbanization definition is population shift from rural areas to urban cities. Actually, urbanization creates a potential for the social enclosure, access to service, new opportunities including greater equality and diversity of cities across the globe.

But this is not the reality, Urban development faces challenges like Inequality, the rapid increase in population, lack of residences, development activities out of official frame, and more which makes achieving sustainable development difficult.

Facts of United nation’s World Cities day

  • Cities occupy only 2% of the land on earth but accommodate half humanity that is 3.5 billion people and has 60- 80% energy consumption.
  • In recent years people living in slums have reduced around 20%, in turn, the migrating populations have increased from 807 to 883 million people.
  • From UN Statistics it is expected that over 70% of the global population will settle in cities by the year 2050.
  • This creates an opportunity for building 60% of new urban settlements which are resilient.
  • This also means the by 2030 the water demand will grow by 50% and energy by 40%.
  • In developing countries around 97% and 49% developed countries, cities have low quality if air and do not meet the standards.
  • In 2016 more than 108 countries and territories were hit by natural disasters.
  • Natural disasters have affected more than 220 million people and the economic damage can be estimated over $100 million USD over the last decade.
  • The statistic further mentions that economic loss due to floods and earthquake were 40% and 25% respectively.
  • Major big cities that are 18 out 20 cities reside in the northern hemisphere, the global population more than 88% live there where the temperature is rising
  • Around 200 million people reside along coastlines less than 5 meters above sea level which are prone to natural disasters.
  • With ever-increasing climate changes and global warming, there is a need for making cities resilient for natural disasters so we can save lives and lessen the economic losses.
  • If no action is taken by 2030 natural disaster may cause an economic damage of $314 billion and 77 million people living in urban may be pushed into poverty.

Why World cities day is celebrated

  • It is evident from the UN statistics world has to create a better plan and preparation for urban development. If significant investments are not made to make cities more disaster resilient by 2030, natural disasters may cause economic damage three times more.
  • Climate changes and greenhouse effect will put everyone at risk. Hundreds of cities are fighting theses crises along with conflicts, failure in governance and economic stress.
  • There is a need for reformation and build cities with innovating tools, governance that empowers its citizen, while building disaster resilient cities to protect human lives, economic growth and assets.
  • UN World cities day create this awareness and provide a global platform for countries to coordinate their efforts

Major UN step towards sustainable urbanization

  • UN sustainable development goals are 17 goals created in 2015 by UN and accepted by 193-member states to achieve global sustainability by 2030.
  • UN sustainable development goal 11 address the challenges of Urban development and also formulates the ambition to create a safe, resilient and sustainable cities for human habitation.
  • To give more focus to urban development in October 2016, the HABITAT III Conference adopted a new framework to rethink the strategies of urban development and how cities are planned and managed.
  • This New Urban agenda can be seen as an extension for sustainable development goals which gives the method of dealing the challenges of urban development in the next two decades.

 World Cities day Activities

  • Every year to focus the efforts of world cities day celebration, UN sets a world cities day theme. UN has organized the world cities day Liverpool official event.
  • ‘Better City, better life’ is an overall or general world city day theme but a new subtheme is set every year.
  • World cities day 2018 theme is “Building Sustainable and Resilient” is dedicated for New Urban agenda to develop cities which are stable for internal conflict and external like natural disasters.

World Cities Day Theme

Year Theme
2018 Building Sustainable and Resilient
2017 Innovative Governance, Open Cities
2016 Inclusive Cities, Shared Development
2015 Designed to Live Together
2014 Leading Urban Transformations

World cities day India

  •  In India, around 68% of the population lives in rural areas with no proper of basic felicities like water, energy, healthcare and
  • But more than 17% of urban population in major cities of India live in slums.
  • India is expected to host 6 megacities of the world with a population above 10 million.
  • Many world cities day activities are held in India like seminars, discussion, cleaning the cities, creating awareness of developing a resilient city, upliftment of citizens and more.

“Building a better city will benefit everyone” Himalai IAS coaching wants to create this awareness on this world cities day as a part of our India with world event.