Guangzhou, 31 October 2017 - UN-Habitat joined partners around the world in celebrating World Cities Day under the theme Innovative Governance, Open Cities.

The global celebration was marked in Guangzhou, China, where Dr Joan Clos, UN-Habitat's Executive Director, delivered his official statement and in Shanghai, where he unveiled an urban statue dedicated to the day, which promotes the challenges and opportunities posed by sustainable urbanization.

“The use of technology presents enormous opportunities for more inclusive governance mechanisms, increasing and improving citizen involvement for more inclusive, efficient and accountable cities,” said Dr Clos. “The scope and speed at which people access information and interact among themselves is unprecedented in history, and institutions need to react to these new ways to exercise citizenship.

“With more than half of the world’s population living in urban areas, we need to rethink the way we want to govern our cities and towns in more innovative ways. We have committed to work together for a better world in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the adoption of the New Urban Agenda is giving us a vision on how to build, plan and manage our cities in a more inclusive, safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable way.”

The day marks the end of Urban October, a month dedicated to promoting urban issues which featured events in countries as wide ranging as Ethiopia, Ghana, Cambodia, Spain, Sweden and Colombia, to name just a few.