World Cities Day 2021

Message from the UN-Habitat Executive Director on World Cities Day

The month of Urban October will end, as always, this year with worldwide celebrations of World Cities Day on 31 October. The main Global Observance will be co-hosted by UN-Habitat and the Government of the Arab Republic of Egypt and  will take place in Luxor. 

The Global Observance held in a hybrid format will bring together high-level representatives from national and local governments, UN agencies, development partners, the private sector, civil society organisations and academic institutions to exchange innovative ideas, best practices and solutions to build urban climate resilience. It will include a live link to the World Cities Day celebrations at the Dubai Expo, speeches from the event in Shanghai and a pre event day of discussions and field visits. The Global Observance celebration registration is open here. It can also be followed on YouTube here.

The theme for World Cities Day 2021 is Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience reflecting the fact that climate change will have a huge impact on city residents with hundreds of millions of them experiencing floods, rising sea levels, storms and increasing periods of extreme temperatures.

Cities and towns around the world are encouraged to hold events to mark World Cities Day to raise awareness about sustainable urbanization. Many urban centres have failed to invest in city resilience due to lack of funding or capacity, awareness or action plans threatening efforts to reduce poverty and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

World Cities Day was established in 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/68/239. The first World Cities Day was held in October 2014.
A legacy of Expo 2010 Shanghai China, World Cities Day aims to promote the international community's interest in global urbanization, push forward cooperation among countries in meeting opportunities and addressing challenges of urbanization, and contributing to sustainable urban development around the world. The observance day ties in with Sustainable Development Goal 11, to make cities "inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable".

The general theme of World Cities Day is Better City, Better Life, while each year a different sub-theme and a location for its global observance is selected, to either promote successes of urbanization, or address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.

Event City and Country
Luxor, Egypt
Event Date
Messages from the UN Secretary General and the Executive Director
Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif

The World Cities Day this year, falls on the first day of the UN Climate Meeting in Glasgow, and we are all realising that the climate crisis is a threat to all. We can trust that countries around the world are going to honour the pledges, to slash greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global warming. We already know that even with huge cuts in our emissions, global warming will continue for many years to come.

Media Resources
Press Release: The New Urban Communities Authority (NUCA) of Egypt’s Ministry of Housing, Utilities, and Urban Communities wins the Scroll of Honour 2021
Press release: UN-Habitat and Egypt to host Global Observance of World Cities Day 2021 in historic city of Luxor

Zoom link to join the celebrations

High Level Opening Ceremony


Roundtable 1: Climate Adaptation for the Most Vulnerable People

Roundtable 2: Innovate4Cities Conference Outcome

Roundtable 3: Towards a Resilient and Green Future: Covid-19 Recovery in Partnership

Roundtable 4: Climate Change in the Arab Region – Challenges and Opportunities


Closing Ceremony

WCD logistic and information note for participants

WCD programme

World Cities Day Concept Notes

Key Messages

Event Toolkit

Social Media

Information on the previous World Cities Day celebrations is available here.

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