This day is observed every year on the first Monday of October month throughout the world. In 1985, the United Nations General Assembly declared that the first Monday in October every year would be World Habitat Day. The purpose of this great day is to recognize the basic right of all humanity to adequate shelter, and to encourage grassroots action toward ending poverty housing.
This Day was first celebrated in 1986 with a theme “Shelter is My Right” and Nairobi was the host city. Earlier themes for World Habitat Day were: “Shelter for the Homeless” (1987); “Our Neighbourhood” (1995); “Future Cities” (1997); “Safer Cities” (1998); “Women in Urban Governance” (2000); “Cities without Slums” (2001) and “Water and Sanitation for Cities” (2003).
What activities are performed during the World Habitat Day?
World Habitat Day is celebrated in several countries such as India, China, Poland, Mexico, Uganda, Angola and the United States. A number of activities across the globe are organized organized to examine and investigate the problems of rapid urbanization and its impact on the environment and human poverty. These may include awards ceremonies, such as the “Habitat Scroll of Honour” award, which is considered the most prestigious one. A new theme is selected every year for this day celebration as decided by the United Nations. This selection is based on ongoing issues based on the topic of habitat.The aim of the selection of the themes is to focus on UN-Habitat’s mission to promote sustainable development policies that ensure adequate and appropriate shelter for all in the world. These themes stringently encouragethe UN-Habitat’s focal areas, which are as follows:
• Secure and healthy living environment for all, especially for children
• Adequate and sustainable transport and energy
• Establishment of greenery in urban areas, including replanting of trees
• Pure and safe drinking water as well as sanitation
• Fresh and unpolluted air for breathing
• Enough jobs for people
• Improvement in urban planning and slum promotion
• Better waste management including recycle of waste material
What is the Logo for the World Habitat Day?
The logo for World Habitat Day depicts a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of an olive tree encapsulating a circle. A figure of a person with her/her arms stretched out is placed within the circle. This figure looks like as if standing in front of a triangle. Below this image, the words “UN-HABITAT”, are mentioned. The slogan “Shelter for All” is written in capital alphabetical letters and sometimes reflects next to the logo.
Some Facts about World Habitat Day
1. World Habitat Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.
2. Every year UN-Habitat calls upon its partners in central government, local government, civil society, the private sector and the media to take part in organizing activities to raise awareness and stimulate debate on the selected theme of the year.
3. The “Habitat Scroll of Honour” award, which was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP) in 1989, is considered to be the world’s most prestigious human settlements award. The objective of this award is to acknowledge initiatives that make outstanding contributions in areas such as shelter provision, focusing the pain and suffering of the homeless people, leadership in post conflict reconstruction, and developing and improving the human settlements and the quality of urban life.