'Rethink ways to govern cities,' UN-Habitat chief urges on World Day

View of City of old Cairo, Egypt, during mid-morning rush hour. Photo: World Bank/Dominic Chavez

31 October 2017 – Marking World Cities Day, a senior United Nations official on Tuesday spotlighted the need to find innovate ways to govern cities, as more than half of the world's population live in urban areas.

“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,” said Joan Clos, the head of the UN Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), in his message for the Day, whose theme this year is 'Innovative Governance, Open Cities.'

“We should not fear innovation,” he stressed.

The adoption of the New Urban Agenda in 2016 at the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, widely referred to as Habitat III, has given a vision on how to build, plan and manage cities in a more inclusive, safe, resilient, inclusive and sustainable way.

Mr. Clos said that the use of technology, like crowd-sourcing, can help generate ideas and create fresh approaches to governance and policy-making.

“If we open our minds to the possibilities and opportunities open government present, it will contribute significantly to generating a better world for people, planet and prosperity,” he said.


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Dr. Joan Clos, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, on World Cities Day