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World Cities Day 2021 – October 31

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The United Nations(UN)’s World Cities Day(WCD) is annually observed across the globe on October 31st to promote the importance of community’s interest in global urbanization and to advance the cooperation among the countries in meeting opportunities addressing challenges of urbanization and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

  • The global observance was co-hosted by UN-Habitat and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and it took place in Luxor, Egypt. 
  • The Global theme (Sub Theme) of World Cities Day 2021 is “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”. 
  • The General theme of World Cities Day 2021 is “Better City, Better Life” which remains same for every year.
  • Each year a different sub-theme(Global theme or theme of WCD) and a location for its global observance is selected to promote the successes of urbanization or to address specific challenges of urbanization.


i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted a resolution (A/RES/68/239) on 27th December 2013 and proclaimed the 31st October of every year as “World Cities Day”. 

ii.The first ever World Cities Day was observed on 31st October 2014. 

Sustainable development Goals(SDG):

i.The observance of World Cities Day ties in with Sustainable Development Goal(SDG) 11, to make cities “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

ii.The day aims to create awareness about sustainable urbanization.

Urban October:

Urban October 2021: 31 days of promoting a better urban future, is a month of various events such as meetings, discussions, events on the world’s attention on urban issues and sustainable development.

  • The month of urban October will end with the global observance of World Cities Day on 31st October. 
  • Urban October was launched by the UN-Habitat in 2014 to highlight the world’s urban challenges and engage the international community towards the new urban Agenda.

Events at Expo 2020 Dubai:

UN-Habitat and Expo 2020 Dubai celebrated World Cities Day with events highlighting the 2021 theme Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience. The expo events are also part of the global observance held on 31st October.

  • UN-Habitat and the World Green Building Council launched the Executive Summary of the flagship publication ‘Guidelines for Sustainable Reconstruction and Urban Regeneration in the MENA region’ which focus on strengthening climate resilience in Arab cities affected by crises and conflict with MENA (the Middle East and North Africa).

UNESCO Cities Platform (UCP):

i.The UNESCO Cities Platform (UCP) launched Urban Solutions highlighting UNESCO’s recognition of cities and climate action as the integral and important themes of advancing sustainable development across the globe.

ii.UCP was established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2019, to unite its 8 city-centred or related networks and programmes to promote and contribute to sustainable urban development.

Key Points:

i.At present, around 55% of the world population are living in towns and cities, with the level of urbanisation projected to become around 70% by 2050.

ii.Much of the growth in urban populations will take place in Asia and Africa, especially in China, India and Nigeria, where the fertility rates are high.

About UN-Habitat:

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN-HABITAT, is the United Nations agency for human settlements
Executive Director– Maimunah Mohd Sharif
Headquarters– Nairobi, Kenya