Every October, UN-Habitat and partners organize a month of activities, events and discussions on urban sustainability known as Urban October. The month of activities ends this year as always on World Cities Day on 31 October 2021.
World Cities Day was established in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/68/239. The first World Cities Day was held in October 2014.
A legacy of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, World Cities Day aims to promote the international community's interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. The observance day ties in with Sustainable Development Goal 11, to make cities "inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable".
The general theme of World Cities Day is Better City, Better Life, while each year a different sub-theme and a location for its global observance is selected, to either promote successes of urbanization, or address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.
The theme for World Cities Day this year is Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience. Cities worldwide are increasingly suffering the effects of climate-related disasters, such as floods, droughts, sea level rise, heatwaves, landslides and storms. At least 130 port cities with over one million inhabitants are expected to be affected by coastal flooding and the one billion people in urban informal settlements are particularly at risk.
Creating more sustainable, climate-resilient societies involves addressing a range of issues including poverty reduction, ensuring basic services livelihoods, the provision of accessible, affordable and adequate housing, investing in infrastructure, upgrading informal settlements and managing ecosystems. Successful, well-governed cities greatly reduce climate-related risks for their populations.
In 2020 World Cities Day on 31 October was held under the theme Valuing our communities and cities. There were 78 events in 39 countries and 70 cities with the first Global Observance of World Cities Day in Africa hosted by Nakuru, Kenya with live links to China and Malaysia.