October 5: World Habitat Day

Published: October 5, 2020

Every year, the World Habitat Day is celebrated on October 5. The day is celebrated to remind the people that they have all power and responsibility to shape the future of towns and cities. The first Monday of every year is being celebrated as World Habitat Day. This was designated by the United Nations. The first World Habitat Day was celebrated in 1986.

This year the day is celebrated under following theme

Theme: Housing for All-A better Urban Future

Highlights

Around 1.8 billion people are still living in the slums. Around 3 billion lack basic hand washing facilities. Also, people still have homelessness in cities, inadequate housing.

Award

The United Nations provides “Scroll of Honour” award every year under its United Nations Human Settlements Programme. It was launched in 1989. The award is currently the most prestigious award of human settlement in the world.

United Nations Human Settlement Programme

The programme aims to make cities socially and environmentally sustainable. It envisions efficient cities, well-planned and governed human settlements. It intends to provide universal access to basic services such as energy, water and sanitation.

Significance

Currently, around 55% of the world population is living in cities and the number if growing every day.

Sustainable Development Goals

The Sustainable Development Goal 11 aims to “Make cities inclusive, resilient, safe and sustainable”. This puts sustainable urbanization at the centre of global agenda. This goal includes making cities safe and build resilient societies and economies. This involves creating green public spaces, investment in public transport, management in participatory and inclusive ways and improving urban planning.

Background

The day was first celebrated in Kenya in 1986 under the theme, “Shelter is My Right”.

UN Habitat COVID-19 Response Plan

It aims to achieve the following

  • To support community-driven solutions and support local governments
  • To provide evidence-based mapping and provide urban data and knowledge for informed decision
  • To mitigate economic impact.

This is because, the people living in war zones, refugee camps, slums are the most affected due to the pandemic. The UN Economic Commission for Africa has proposed support to urban governments to respond to the economic effects of COVID-19. This is because, the cities of Africa contribute to more than 50% of GDP of the region.

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