However, many challenges exist to maintaining cities in a way that continues to create jobs and prosperity while not straining land and resources. Common urban challenges include congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing and declining infrastructure.
The challenges cities face can be overcome in ways that allow them to continue to thrive and grow, while improving resource use and reducing pollution and poverty. The future we want includes cities of opportunities for all, with access to basic services, energy, housing, transportation and more.
- Half of humanity – 3.5 billion people – lives in cities today
- By 2030, almost 60 per cent of the world’s population will live in urban areas
- 95 per cent of urban expansion in the next decades will take place in developing world
- 828 million people live in slums today and the number keeps rising
- The world’s cities occupy just 3 per cent of the Earth’s land, but account for 60-80 per cent of energy consumption and 75 per cent of carbon emissions
- Rapid urbanization is exerting pressure on fresh water supplies, sewage, the living environment, and public health
- But the high density of cities can bring efficiency gains and technological innovation while reducing resource and energy consumption
- By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services and upgrade slums
- By 2030, provide access to safe, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems for all, improving road safety, notably by expanding public transport, with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations, women, children, persons with disabilities and older persons
- By 2030, enhance inclusive and sustainable urbanization and capacity for participatory, integrated and sustainable human settlement planning and management in all countries
- Strengthen efforts to protect and safeguard the world’s cultural and natural heritage
- By 2030, significantly reduce the number of deaths and the number of people affected and substantially decrease the direct economic losses relative to global gross domestic product caused by disasters, including water-related disasters, with a focus on protecting the poor and people in vulnerable situations
- By 2030, reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management
- By 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities
- Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas by strengthening national and regional development planning
- By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation and adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels
- Support least developed countries, including through financial and technical assistance, in building sustainable and resilient buildings utilizing local materials
The environmental change sweeping the world is occurring at a faster pace than previously thought, making it imperative that governments act now to reverse the damage being done to the planet, says the most authoritative study that UNEP has ever published on the state of the global environment.
More than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO), with populations in low-income cities the most at risk for respiratory diseases and other long-term health problems.
For the first time, representatives from more than 80 of the world’s largest cities have revealed the barriers that are limiting their ambitions to tackle climate change, in a new analysis released today by C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group (C40). Unlocking Climate Action in Megacities also presents a corresponding set of innovative and replicable solutions to overcome these challenges.
The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport, meeting on the margins of the Paris Climate Conference, pledged to highlight the critical role that sustainable transport will play in addressing climate change.