Changing the World: Innovations and Better Life for Future Generations, is the theme of this year’s celebration of World Cities Day and the subject of a daylong conference that UNESCO will host at its Headquarters in Paris on 31 October.
The conference will bring together representatives of some 24 municipalities from all parts of the globe for four panel discussions covering issues including: sustainability and climate action, urban regeneration and social inclusion, as well as technological innovation.
Experts and policy-makers will have an opportunity to share information about the innovative approaches forward-looking municipalities have adopted to tackle the challenges facing cities.
Thematic discussions and audio-visual presentations during the conference will highlight innovative practices pioneered by UNESCO and its urban partners in the fields of cultural heritage preservation and urban regeneration, education and lifelong learning, resilience to disasters and natural resources management, culture and creativity, and advances in information and communication technologies, as well as the fight against discrimination.
UNESCO advocates for more people-centred development models, including in the area of urbanisation where it aims to “re-humanise” cities. For many years, UNESCO has been pivoting many of its activities and research towards challenges in urban communities, in step with changing demographics. UNESCO’s multidisciplinary approach offers a unique added value to international debates on development, and creates real, positive change at the heart of communities.
As part of UNESCO’s response to the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (link is external), UNESCO recently strengthened its comprehensive approach to working with cities through the establishment of a dedicated UNESCO Cities Platform, which gathers eight UNESCO networks and programmes. The UNESCO Cities Platform, which reflects the transversal approach the Organization’s work with cities towards implementing the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, includes the following programmes:
- UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
- Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate
- Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience
- International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities
- UNESCO Creative Cities Programme
- World Heritage Cities Programme
- Media and Information Literacy Cities
- UNESCO-Netexplo Observatory Cooperation on Smart Cities
For World Cities Day 2019, UNESCO is partnering with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) (link is external), UN-Habitat (link is external) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (link is external) to amplify the UN’s concerted action for cities alongside city planners and other urban players. The partnership also aims to support a comprehensive UN approach to working towards sustainable cities.