Every year, on the first Monday in October, we celebrate World Habitat Day, or World Habitat Day. Find out what draws our attention to this unusual holiday and what its purpose is.

World Habitat Day – what is a habitat?

In order to understand the message from the establishment of this day, it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the definition of habitat or habitat. It is an environment that offers favorable conditions for a particular population of organisms, in particular, the habitat of a particular species or species. Applying this definition to people, habitat is understood as the places where we live and our surroundings. This mainly applies to urban environments, which are becoming increasingly crowded due to increasing populations – the Tokyo metropolitan area, for example, is home to more than 37 million people, and the number is growing. The situation is similar in many other places around the world. With such a trend, there are also new problems.

World Habitat Day – beginnings

The idea of a World Habitat Day was put forward by the UN back in 1985. Its celebration is also encouraged by other organizations, such as. UNESCO. It was first celebrated in 1969. Kenya. Official celebrations resulting from World Habitat Day are held in a different country each year and include a conference and discussions related to the theme chosen for the year. These keynotes are usually associated with urban environments. Previous years included. inequality between people in cities, the global housing economy, access to water and safety in urban areas, cities of the future, climate change or the role of women in city management. World Habitat Day also kicks off a month of attention directed at cities and urbanizationUrban October.

What is the main purpose of celebrating World Habitat Day?

The main purpose of this holiday is to strive for the development of urban areas to not only meet the basic living needs of residents, provide shelter and equal access to necessary resources, but also to ensure a comfortable life. Actions related to this goal cover various areas of activity. Much attention is being paid to the problem of growing population and the impact of urbanization on the occurrence of climate change. It is estimated that by 2050. The population will increase by 50 percent compared to 1999. According to experts, our goal should be to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by then. It also draws attention to the collective responsibility for the future of our cities and that everyone should reflect on the current situation and influence, at least in a small way, the positive development of their habitat.

What problems are being highlighted?

World Habitat Day creates an opportunity to discuss such problems of urban environments as:

  • Challenges in the education sector related to increasing urban populations;
  • The problem of poverty – homelessness, housing disadvantage, the formation of slums and wild settlements on the outskirts of cities;
  • The impact of urbanization on the occurrence of negative climate change;
  • The problem of excess garbage, gas emissions and pollution;
  • Supporting the development of renewable energy and the “green economy” in cities;
  • specific protective measures and conditions for their use in epidemiological situations using COVID-19 as an example;
  • social inequality, the problem of access to basic goods of people belonging to minorities and immigrants.

World Habitat Day 2023

This year, World Habitat Day falls on October 2. The theme for this year’s celebration is “Resilient Urban Economies. Cities as engines of growth and economic renewal.” Recent years have seen a series of negative global economic shocks due to the COVID-19 epidemic and conflicts. Rebuilding and reviving the economy of urban areas will translate into the productivity of entire countries, as well as their preparedness for possible future economic shocks. The agenda for the World Habitat Day celebration will include, among other things. Discussing the various dimensions of the economic downturn that cities are currently experiencing and identifying measures to help counter this phenomenon. An exchange of experiences on dealing with inflation and tight financial schedules in different cities and the aspect of transitioning to a climate-neutral economy as part of the green recovery program are also envisioned.

Photo source: UN-Habitat, the United Nations agency

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