Give more importance to communities; UN Secretary-General

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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António Guterres Image
António Guterres, Secretary-General of United Nations

In his message to the public on the occasion of World Cities Day, which falls on October 31 each year, Mr. Antonio Guterres, United Nations’ Secretary-General prompted countries across the globe to offer more importance to the roles and functions of communities which suggesting that they should be put at the heart of the cities of the future.

“When urban communities are engaged in policy and decision making and empowered with financial resources, the results are more inclusive and durable. Let’s put our communities at the heart of the cities of the future,” Mr. Guterres remarked.

Observing that cities have the most affected by the pandemic, the Secretary-General pointed out that “The value of communities has been brought into sharp focus during the response to COVID-19.”

While observing that 55 percent of the world’s population is already home in urban areas with the figure expected to grow to 68 percent by 2050, Mr. Guterres stated that “our rapidly urbanizing world must respond effectively to this pandemic and prepare for future infectious disease outbreaks.”

“With the pandemic often overwhelming public health and support services, communities have organized to keep their neighborhoods safe and functioning, engaging with local and national governments to support the official response,” the UN chief remarked.

“We have seen neighbors shopping and cooking for the sick and elderly, residents cheering health workers, and local volunteer and faith-based groups supporting the vulnerable,” the Secretary-General stated.

“As we rebuild from the pandemic and engage in the decade of action for Sustainable Development, we have an opportunity to reset how we live and interact,” Mr. Guterres said adding that “Local action is the key.”

World Cities Day

Proposed by the Chinese government in the Shanghai Declaration of the World Expo 2010, World Cities Day was later recognized by the United Nations General Assembly which designated October 31 as World Cities Day by a resolution.

The day is expected to promote the international community’s interest in global urbanization, facilitate cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contribute to sustainable urban development around the world.

The theme of this year’s World Cities Day is “Valuing Our Communities and Cities.”