Do your bit: Focus on days highlighting international issues International Days and Observances
World Cities Day
31 October

The United Nations has designated every 31st of October as World Cities Day. The Day is expected to greatly promote the international community's interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world.

The Day was first proposed in a declaration issued on the closing day of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China in a bid to recall, renew and advance ideas and practices of the Shanghai Expo for future development. It is expected to greatly promote the international community’s interest in global urbanisation, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and challenges in urbanisation and contribute to urban sustainable development around the world

Planned urbanization maximizes the capacity of cities to generate employment and wealth, and to foster diversity and social cohesion between different classes, cultures, ethnicities and religions.

Well-designded cities that enable us to live together create opportunities, make connections and interactions, and facilitate sustainable use of shared resources.

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  • In 2000, world population reached 6.1 billion, and is now growing at an annual rate of 1.2 per cent, or 77 million people per year.
  • In 1800, only 2 per cent of the world’s population was urban. Today half of the world’s people are living in towns and cities, with 180,000 people added to the urban population each day.
  • The overall population growth rate for the world is 1 per cent, while the growth rate for urban areas is nearly double, or 1.8 percent. At that rate, the world’s urban population will double in 38 years.
  • Of the 23 cities expected to reach 10 million-plus by 2015, 19 will be in developing countries.
  • 95%of the urban expansion in the next decades will take place in the developing world. In Africa and Asia, the urban population is expected to double between 2000 and 2030.



The key role of urban design in building sustainable, socially integrated and prosperous urban environments.[..] can help tackle climate change. It reduces the impacts of disaster. It can help make our cities safer, cleaner, and more equal and integrative.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


GDRC has been working on themes related to this international day/observance, in its programme on Urban Environmental Management

GDRC therefore reaffirms its committment to uphold the objectives of the International Cities Day, and work towards better understanding of, and action on, promoting the role of cities in sustainable development development.


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