About 1.4 million people move to cities around the world every week; nearly 55% of the world’s population now lives in urban areas.
Ahead of October 31, World Cities Day, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that about 1.4 million people move to cities around the world every week, and warned that “such rapid urbanisation can strain local capacities, contributing to increased risk from natural and human made disasters”.
Because “hazards do not need to become disasters”, Guterres said, “the answer is to build resilience — to storms, floods, earthquakes, fires, pandemics and economic crises”.
Thus, Bangkok has built underground water storage facilities to save for drier periods; Quito, Ecuador, has reclaimed or protected more than 200,000 hectares of land to boost flood protection; Johannesburg “is involving residents in efforts to improve public spaces so they can be safely used for recreation, sports, community events and services such as free medical care”
The world was starting to witness the greatest and fastest ever migration of people into cities and towns, as well as rising urban population through natural growth resulting from advances in medicine. Governments had begun to recognise the consequences of rapid urbanisation, especially in the developing world, and the need for sustainable human settlements.