UNESCO for Sustainable Cities
Today, more than half of humanity – 3.9 billion people – lives in cities. By 2050, cities will host 2.5 billion more urban dwellers, making the world almost 70% urban.
UNESCO is committed to enhancing the sustainability of cities through policy advice, technical assistance and capacity building, drawing on its longstanding normative and operational experience in the fields of education, sciences, culture, communication and development. Thanks to multi-disciplinary cooperation among all its sectors, as well as its broad network of experts across the globe, UNESCO has become a leading agency in the effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The UNESCO Cities Platform gathers eight UNESCO networks and programmes, and reflects the transversal approach the Organization’s work with cities towards implementing the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals. It includes the following programmes:
- UNESCO Creative Cities Network
- UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities
- Megacities Alliance for Water and Climate
- Disaster Risk Reduction and Resilience
- International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities
- World Heritage Cities Programme
- Media and Information Literacy Cities
- UNESCO-Netexplo Observatory Cooperation on Smart Cities
World Cities Day 2021 revolves around the global theme of “Adapting cities for climate resilience”, which aims to address a wide range of linked issues from management of ecosystems to poverty eradication. Climate resilience and action has become an increasingly important and integral part in UNESCO’s programmes and activities, recognized by all stakeholders including countries, cities and the general public as an essential crosscutting theme for advancing sustainable development worldwide.
Every year from 2019, UNESCO celebrates World Cities Day, based on the coordination ensured by the UNESCO Cities Platform (UCP). For this year’s celebration, in addition to the UCP Urban Solutions, member networks and programmes of the Platform will organize a variety of cities-themed flagship events during the World Cities Day period to further highlight cities’ essential role in advancing sustainable development, especially towards climate resilience and action.
MESSAGE FROM THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
"In today’s world, cities, as major economic and political players, have an essential role to play: that of both standard-setter and driving force. This is why we decided to bring together on a single platform all of UNESCO’s city networks – including the Global Network of Learning Cities, the Creative Cities Network and the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – so that the cities which are part of them can benefit from the experience acquired throughout the four corners of the world in the various domains within our mandate."
— Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO
Video message on WCD 2021 by Mr Ernesto Ottone R.,
Assistant Director-General for Culture, UNESCO
Creative Cities mobilized against Covid-19
Cities around the world, including the UNESCO Creative Cities, have been affected by the Covid-19 global outbreak. More than ever the power of culture and creativity should be leveraged as a force for resilience, creativity and social cohesion. From Chengdu to Roma, from Mexico to Wuhan, read about the countless initiatives taken by mayors and citizen accross the globe to reinforce ties between communities, support artists and creators.