WORLD HABITAT DAY: Know History, Significance, Theme, Facts & More

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The first Monday of October every year is celebrated as World Habitat Day. Habitat day is observed to focus attention on the state of human settlements.

History of World Habitat Day

In 1985, the United Nations designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. The first World Habitat Day was observed in 1986 with the theme: Shelter is My Right. The host for the first time habitat day celebration was Nairobi.

Why do we celebrate Habitat Day?

  • The idea to celebrate World Habitat Day is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter.
  • It is also observed to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of human habitat.
  • To reflect on the state of our habitats. The Day is also intended to remind the human species that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.

Theme of World Habitat Day 2022

The Day revolves around the global observance, which is held in a different country each year with keynote speakers and roundtable discussions focused on a specific theme. The theme for this year’s Habitat Day is: Mind the Gap. Leave No One and No Place Behind.
This theme will look at the problem of increasing inequality and challenges in cities and human settlements.

Covid-19 & Climate Change Impacting Habitat

These are the major problems that have been aggravated due to what the UN calls triple Cs: Coronavirus (COVID-19), Climate, and Crisis.

  • These triple Cs have hampered the growth made against poverty. The UN calls tackling urban poverty and inequality an “urgent global priority”. They have called for local actions toward Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Urban poverty and inequality are highly complex and multidimensional challenges whose manifestation goes beyond lack of income.
  • Without concerted action at all levels, poverty and inequality could become the face of the future of cities.
  • Poverty is on the rise in close to one-third of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and most countries in the region are off-track to end poverty by 2030.

Urgent Global Priority

As per the United Nations, the pandemic and recent conflicts have reversed years of progress made in the fight against poverty. This resulted in the emergence of :

  • Newly poor people who would have exited poverty in the absence of the pandemic but remain poor.
  • Those who have fallen into poverty on account of the pandemic.

According to the UN, UN-Habitat’s World Cities Report, the number of people affected was between 119 and 124 million in 2020, and between 143 and 163 million in 2021. Tackling urban poverty and inequality have become an urgent global priority.

World Habitat Day 2022: Scroll of Honour award

As part of the World Habitat Day celebrations, UN-Habitat presents its Scroll of Honour award. The nominations are open for 2022. In 1989, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme launched the Habitat Scroll of Honour award. It is currently the most prestigious human settlements award in the world.

It aims to acknowledge the initiatives which have made outstanding contributions in various fields, such as highlighting the plight of the homeless, leadership in post-conflict reconstruction, shelter provision and developing and improving the human settlements and the quality of urban life.

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