Shanghai, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), headed by former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos, Friday launched its first World Cities Day in China, to be held every Oct 31 to promote sustainable development.
It is the first UN Day approved at the proposal of China, after an initiative of the Shanghai government to continue the legacy of the 2010 World Fair held in the eastern Chinese city in 2010 under the slogan “a better city, a better life”.
The theme of the first World Cities Day is “Leading Urban Transformations”, highlighting the UN’s concern about the challenges of rapid urbanisation and how to deal with them in the most coordinated and sustainable way possible.
“The most important thing is that all communities work together so that we pay more attention to urbanisation, so we know how to plan it better and guarantee a sustainable development,” Rwandan Deputy Director of UN-Habitat Aisa Kirabo Kacyira told Efe news agency Friday.
Clos could not attend the ceremony Friday in Shanghai as he had planned, because he is accompanying UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on an official trip to Nairobi, Kenya.
Kirabo, who is also the former mayor of Kigali, one of the fastest-growing cities in the world, read out his message.
The celebration of World Cities Day, said Clos in his message, is “in recognition of the increasingly important role cities play as we move into a predominantly urban future”.