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World Cities Day 2019

The theme of World Cities Day 2019 was Changing the world: Innovations and a better life for future generations with the Global Observance held in Ekaterinburg. It was held for the first time in Russia and attracted over 650 participants from a record number of countries.

At the opening in of the Global Observance in Ekaterinburg, UN-Habitat’s Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, said innovation was often born in cities. Russia’s Minister of Construction, Housing and Utilities, Vladimir Yakushev called for people to unite their efforts and creativity to transform cities while the Mayor of Ekaterinburg, Aleksandr Vysokinskiy, said technology was a tool not a target.

The 2019 edition of the Shanghai Manual was launched and there were live links to celebrations in Spain, Moscow region and UNESCO’s Paris Headquarters.

UN-Habitat’s City Resilience Profiling Programme led the annual Fiesta de la Ciencia (Science Festival) in Barcelona with activities organized by over 150 organizations on different scientific and technological areas for children.

The 2019 China Observance of World Cities Day was held in Tangshan City, the first Chinese city to win the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour. More than 400 participants from over 30 Chinese cities and provinces and around 20 countries took part and the meeting was addressed by the Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Mr. Victor Kisob.

In Islamabad, Pakistan, Federal Minister and Advisor to Prime Minister on Climate Change, Malik Amin Aslam, spoke at the event where Argentina Park was declared a Model Park.

Shortly after Cuba’s capital Havana turned 500 years old, the city marked World Cities Day in an event organized by the Institute of Physical Planning and the National Union of Architects and Construction Engineers of Cuba.

In Toronto, Canada, UN-Habitat, international city leaders and the Urban Economy Forum Association hosted the inaugural Urban Economy Forum, the first global platform on urban economy and finance, with participants from over 20 countries.

World Cities Day was celebrated with three events in Nairobi, Kenya, in Islamabad and in Kuwait UN-Habitat and the Municipal Council, launched the country’s first national campaign for greening open spaces. Tunisia celebrated World Cities Day and the Arab and World Habitat Day with a one-day seminar on Urban Planning and Housing opened by the Minister of Equipment, Housing and Territorial Planning.

The main celebration was held in Ekaterinburg, Russia.

For more information visit the World Cities Day 2019 website.

Event City and Country
Ekaterinburg, Russia
Event Date
Messages from the UN Secretary General and the Executive Director
The Secretary-General, António Guterres

More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, two thirds will do so. Much of what will be needed to house and serve this increasingly urban world has yet to be constructed, and even some new cities will need to be built. This brings enormous opportunities to develop and implement solutions that can address the climate crisis and pave the way toward a sustainable future.

The Executive Director, Maimunah Mohd Sharif

World Cities Day is a time to remember that while cities are where we face our greatest challenges –they will also be the places where we find the solutions. Cities are hubs of creativity and innovation. And in cities we can apply these solutions to scale to ensure that everyone benefits. World Cities Day focuses the international community’s attention on how urbanization can be used to achieve sustainable development. While the general theme is “Better City, Better Life”, the specific theme for 2019 is “Changing the World: Innovations and a Better Life for Future Generations”.

Key Messages
World Cities Day 2019 Key Messages
Documents and Decisions
Concept Note for UNESCO World Cities Day
World Cities Day - Bilbao
WCD Programme-13 September