27 May 2019

Well-Planned, Managed Cities Can Steer World towards Sustainable, Low-Emission Development, Secretary-General Tells Human Settlements Programme Assembly

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the first United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Assembly, in Nairobi today:

I am pleased to greet this first universal Assembly of UN-Habitat as you discuss ways to improve the quality of life in cities and communities.

Your gathering comes at an important juncture.  About 60 per cent of the urban infrastructure needed by 2030 is yet to be built.  That creates great opportunities.

Well-planned and managed cities can steer us towards inclusive growth and sustainable, low-emission development.  At the same time, rapid and unplanned urbanization can generate severe problems, such as pollution, crime, inequality, disease, vulnerability to disasters and a lack of affordable housing.  Cities also account for about 70 per cent of harmful emissions worldwide.

These challenges can be overcome.  I urge you to discuss ambitious and concrete solutions.

Together, we can develop the path to a sustainable urban future.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.