World Cities Day – October 31

by | Oct 31, 2019 | News, Vincentian Family, Vincentian Family at the U.N.

International days are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity.

The general theme of World Cities Day is always “Better City, Better Life,” while each year a different sub-theme is selected, to either promote successes of urbanization, or address specific challenges resulting from urbanization.

This year, the United Nations has selected the theme “Changing the world: innovations and better life for future generations” to offer the opportunity for civil society, the public sector and governments to discuss how urbanization can be used to achieve sustainable development. The main goals of World Cities Day 2019 are to: Increase awareness of how digital innovations can be used for urban service delivery to enhance the quality of life and improve the urban environment, showcase new frontier technologies that can create more inclusive cities, present opportunities for renewable energy generation in cities, and explore how frontier technologies can promote social inclusion in cities.

The Vincentian Family at the UN is strongly supporting work in the cities.  Advocating for financial support of infrastructure, environmentally sound planning, and promoting the right to housing are a few of the areas in which we continue to work. Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities is the most relevant to the urban setting and to the Vincentian Family’s focus on ending homelessness. The Vincentian Family at the UN is and has been working to move forward the action to recognize the state of homelessness as a Human Rights violation. Through the Working Group to End Homelessness and its partners  requests have been made for a clear definition of homelessness to be recognized internationally and then for comprehensive, standardized counting/measuring /data gathering methodology be developed  and shared so that outcomes will be easier to monitor and meaningful planning can be developed.  A great step forward was made when the UN Commission for Social Development announced as the priority theme “Affordable housing and social protection systems for all to address homelessness” for the 58th Commission to be held February 10-19, 2020.

In the future, cities worldwide will have to encourage innovation to achieve a lasting positive impact in communities and to ensure that “no one and no place” is left behind as innovation can also contribute to inequality and needs to be accompanied by appropriate economic and social regulatory policies. The Family will continue to collaborate with others to this end.

Natalie Boone is the AIC NGO Representative to UN-NY