UN chief highlights cities’ role in promoting global sustainable development

Accounting for a majority of global carbon emissions, cities play critical roles in building a sustainable world for all, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

Guterres underscored the point in a message on World Cities Day, which was observed on October 31. This year’s theme for the international day is “Act Local to Go Global”.

Today, more than half of all people live in urban areas and over two-thirds will do so by 2050, he added.

Cities, generating more than 80 per cent of global GDP, “account for over 70 per cent of carbon emissions,” which means that implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals happens largely in cities, the UN chief noted.

Many cities are already leading the transition to renewable energy, setting credible net-zero targets and building climate-resilient infrastructure, Xinhua news agency reported.

“I encourage them to work with their governments and sister cities across the world to share experiences and help raise ambition,” Guterres said.

The actions cities take locally to create a sustainable world will reverberate globally. And the transformative policies cities pioneer today can catalyse change that will save lives and livelihoods everywhere tomorrow, he added.

“On World Cities Day, let us resolve to work with cities to build a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient world for all,” said Guterres.

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