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30 October 2020

Joining the UN-Habitat’s Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif and Eduardo López Moreno, Director of Research and Capacity Building, the Geneva Cities Hub’s Director Daria Cibrario and UNECE’s Director of Forest, Land and Housing Division Paola Deda welcomed UN Habitat’s launch of the World Cities Report 2020 in a press conference at the UN in Geneva. The Report will be released on 31 October 2020, UN World Cities Day.

As the International Geneva platform for cooperation focused on urban and city issues, the Geneva Cities Hub praises the launch of the World Cities Report 2020 and its contents as particularly timely at this time of dramatic, profound transformation of the world as we’ve known it for a century. If further needed, Covid has showcased that cities, local governments and communities are more than ever key to inclusive, sustainable development. They play a transformative role from the bottom up, developing local solutions to tackle global problems.

Last July’s UN policy brief “COVID-19 in an urban world” already recognized that – with over 90% of contamination cases found in urban settings - cities, local authorities and communities are bearing the brunt of the pandemic and are finding emergency solutions daily to support their local communities despite major financial and human resources and power constraints.

The forthcoming UN Habitat World Cities Report 2020 reinforces the message that cities and their communities are at the heart of global development policies. It deepens the analysis looking at social, urban planning, environmental and local government angles of today’s global challenges through an urban lens and provides key policy options for governments to support cities, local authorities and their communities as they face unprecedented challenges in their territories.

The last World Cities Report was published in 2016: however, not much has radically changed since then. Today’s urbanization is not an inclusive one. Cities are torn apart by gentrification, spatial and social segregation, the global housing crisis, social inequalities, and unequal access to vital public services. Within the context of the current pandemic, these have become more than ever life or death factors for urban dwellers.

“The policy choices that will be made now and in the next few months and years will determine whether cities and urbanization will unleash their full potential to fast forward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the Decade of Action or if, instead, they  will become even more vectors of inequalities, poverty, environmental degradation, insecurity and social upheaval”, said the Geneva Cities Hub Director.

“This report is required reading for any policy-maker. Governments, multilateral institutions, civil society organizations and academia should consider encompassing its recommendations and policy options in the recovery packages and build-back better strategies” she added. Recovery policies should be developed in close dialogue and cooperation with local authorities and their representative networks, in particular the Global Taskforce for Local and Regional Governments and the UCLG UN Habitat, UNECE and the Geneva Cities Hub have also partnered to organize a Geneva launch of the Report reflecting on its the main findings from the perspective of areas of expertise resonating with International Geneva, including health migration, housing, social cohesion, public space and the environment.

This will take place on the 3rd of November at 3.30-5pm CET via Zoom – registration is possible here.

This activity is a continuation of a joint effort and approach among the three organizations to facilitate and promote the participation and inclusion of local government representatives and city networks in multi-lateral and global policy making processes to contribute to modern, inclusive multilateralism, as in the case of the In-focus SDG 11 Day of 5 October  and the UNECE Forum of Mayors of 6 October.


© Geneva Cities Hub 2020