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The First-Ever “World Cities Day” Focusing on “City Transformation and Social Inclusion”

-- Celebration Event of “2014 World Cities Day” held in UN

  (IESCO news by Duan Ying) In the morning of 31st, October, the celebration event of “World Cities Day” themed with “People-Centered Urbanization: Managing Social Inclusion in Today's Cities” was held in the UN Headquarters, which aims to call on all levels of society to respond to the common challenges brought by urbanization through increasing inclusion, promoting sustainable urbanization, exploiting the role of domestic society and other measures.

This event was organized by the Permanent Mission of China to UN, the Permanent Mission of Italy to UN, UN-Habitat, and the UNAoC. President of the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly Sam K. Kutesa, Vice President of UN ECOSOC and Permanent Representative of Colombia to UN Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez, Permanent Representative of China to the UN Ambassador Liu Jieyi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, and President of the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser attended the event and delivered the speeches at the opening ceremony. Executive Director of UN Habitat Joan Clos sent a video speech. The celebration event gained special attention from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who sent a congratulatory letter to the event saying the future of the human beings depend on the future of cities, and sustainable urbanization will provide the solutions to some key issues of global urbanization.

In response to the future trend and challenges of the development of urbanization, Ambassador Kutesa pointed out that all parties should actively respond to the relevant challenges and promote the urban inclusion and coordinated development of economy, society, and environment. Ambassador María Emma Mejía Vélez stressed that the international community should strengthen cooperation for urban sustainable development and include it in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Clos also noted in his video speech that he hoped all parties should design an overall new urban agenda combining the UN-Habitat III that will be held in 2016 and endeavor to make contributions to promoting urban sustainable development.

As a Permanent Representative of one of the initiator countries of “World Cities Day”, Ambassador Liu Jieyi introduced in his speech the new concept of urbanization construction in China and achievements. He said that the “World Cities Day” was in compliance with the targets of China pushing forward the new urbanization construction and ecological civilization construction, and China would like to share experience with all countries over the world and join hands to promote urban sustainable development in the world.

Around 200 representatives from national governments, private sectors, domestic society, academic fields, and media attended the event, actively discussing the development trends and challenges of global urbanization and exchanging advanced concepts and experience. Deputy Secretary-General of IESCO, Director of IESCO’s Office in New York Mr. Jin Xiaoyi attended the event and joined the discussion.

In order to commemorate with this celebration event, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN, the Permanent Mission of Kazakhstan to UN and IESCO held a special roundtable meeting themed with “Promoting a New Urban Agenda of the United Nations toward the building of Human Sustainable Cities” in the afternoon of the same day.

The roundtable meeting gathered people from different walks of life, governments, NGOs, private sectors, and educators. The event was moderated by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to UN Ambassador Palitha Kohona. Vice President of UN ECOSOC, Permanent Representative of El Salvador to UN Ambassador Carlos Garcia, Director of UN-Habitat’s New York Office Yamina Djacta, Director of Social Policy and Development, DESA Daniela Bas, and President of International Organization for South-South Cooperation Francis Lorenzo attended the event and made speeches, delivering their opinions in how to restrain the challenges brought by rapid urbanization and how to create a harmonious city.

Related links: the data shows that at present over 50% of the population in the world have already lived in cities, and by 2030, nearly 60% of the population in the world, namely about 5 billion, will inhabit in cities. Sustainable urbanization is therefore becoming the more urgent challenge faced by the global society in 21st century. As the first international day in relation to cities, and also the first international day initiated by Chinese government, the designation of “World Cities Day” will focus on the development issues of city and pay attention to the efficiency improvement and technology innovation in the process of global urbanization, aiming to carry out effective management in cities with population agglomeration, reduce resources and energy consumption, and achieve an orderly and healthy growth of cities. 








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