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UN chief urges efforts to promote sustainable development of cities

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-11-01 14:10

UNITED NATIONS - In celebrating World Cities Day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that cities are pivotal in promoting sustainable development, economic growth and innovation.

"World Cities Day is a time to consider the pivotal role cities play in sustainable development," he said, adding that cities are not just economic powerhouses, but also on the cutting edge of addressing global urgencies.

The top UN official said cities are confronted with an array of intricate challenges ranging from climate change to increasing social disparities and political divisions.

Today, urban living has already been embraced by more than half of the world's population, and the United Nations Human Settlements Program projections indicate that nearly 70 percent of people will live in cities by 2050.

The secretary-general expressed his concerns about the challenges faced by local authorities, which "are struggling with limited support and resources", he said.

"The demand for critical infrastructure, affordable housing, efficient transport, and essential social services continues to grow exponentially," he said.

"I am a strong advocate for equitable financing solutions at the global level," said Guterres, adding that such solutions, together with innovative and diverse funding sources, are essential to strengthening local financing strategies that are climate-friendly, inclusive, and equitable.

World Cities Day, designated by the United Nations to underscore the significance of cities and promote sustainable urban development, is observed annually on Oct 31 with an aim to raise awareness of the imperative to make cities more sustainable, accessible, and livable.

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