The United Nations’ (UN) World Habitat Day is annually celebrated on the first Monday of October to reflect on the state of human settlements and people’s right to sufficient shelter. It also aims to remind people that they are responsible for the habitat of future next generations.
World Habitat Day reflects on the state of human settlements and promotes the right to sufficient shelter.
What do people do?
World Habitat Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, including in places such as Angola, China, India, Mexico, Poland, Uganda and the United States. Various activities around the world are organized to examine the problems of rapid urbanization and its impact on the environment and human poverty. Activities may include awards ceremonies, including the “Habitat Scroll of Honour” award.
World Habitat Day is a global observance and not a public holiday.
The UN’s World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. Nairobi was allocated as the host city for the observance that year. This annual event is held on the first Monday of October with a new theme each year. Previous themes included: “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).
An important highlight of the day is the “Habitat Scroll of Honour” award, which was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHSP) in 1989. It is believed to be the world’s most prestigious human settlements award and aims to acknowledge initiatives that make outstanding contributions in areas such as shelter provision, highlighting the plight of the homeless, leadership in post conflict reconstruction, and developing and improving the human settlements and the quality of urban life.
The UNHSP logo and slogan are often associated with World Habitat Day. The logo features The logo features a wreath consisting of crossed conventionalized branches of an olive tree encapsulating a circle. Within the circle is a figure of a person with his/her arms stretched out. The figure appears to be standing in front of a triangle. Underneath the image are the words “UN-HABITAT”. The slogan: “Shelter For All” is written in capital letters and sometimes appears next to the logo.