This year the World Habitat Day falls on 4 October. In 1985 the United Nations designated the first Monday of October to commemorate the World Habitat Day. The idea is to reflect on the state of the towns and cities and the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
An estimated 1.8 billion people were already living in slums and informal settlements, inadequate housing or in homelessness in our cities worldwide before the pandemic began. Some 3 billion people lack basic hand-washing facilities. This means millions of people worldwide are more likely to experience poor health due to the absence of basic services and exposure to multiple socio-economic and environmental hazards.
Hence, the World Habitat Day 2021 theme is “Accelerating urban action for a carbon-free world” and it recognises that cities are responsible for some 70 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions with transport, buildings, energy, and waste management accounting for the bulk of urban greenhouse gas emissions. This Day will amplify the global Race to Zero Campaign and encourage local governments to develop actionable zero-carbon plans in the run up to the international climate change summit COP26 in November 2021.
The World Assembly of Youth (WAY) stands with young people, as they like others do have the right to adequate shelter and affordable housing. On this day, let us remind the world that young people have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns. We need to reflect on how we can shape the future of human settlements to be more resilient. We shall continue to advocate on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda at all levels, as well as the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Happy World Habitat Day!