The day is intended to remind the world that everyone has the power and the responsibility to shape the future of towns and cities. World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 in Nairobi, Kenya, and the theme chosen for that year was "Shelter is My Right".
Every year, World Habitat Day is celebrated in a host city, where members of the United Nations give speeches and presentations, reflecting on the issues faced by people across the world.
This year, World Habitat Day will be celebrated on 2 October in Baku, Azerbaijan, under the theme “Resilient urban economies. Cities as drivers of growth and recovery.” The events in Baku will include the Global Observance of World Habitat Day, the Second National Urban Planning Forum, and other events attended by officials and experts from many countries.
2023 has been a particularly challenging year for urban economies. The global economy growth itself is declining to about 2.5% and, apart from the initial COVID-19 crisis in 2020 and the global financial crisis in 2009, this is the weakest growth experienced since 2001.
For the economic growth and recovery to be sustainable, cities are needed to absorb, recover, and prepare for future economic challenges. It is crucial that this is also packaged under the green recovery framework that scales up private and public investments to finance the transition to a climate-neutral economy in a post-COVID world. Cities all over the world have already embarked on this journey through implementing various models and approaches requiring proactive engagement with different stakeholders at all levels.
Expected Outcomes of the World Habitat Day 2023:
World Habitat Day aims to convene various city stakeholders to discuss the ways in which cities can be primed for recovery following the global intersecting negative economic challenges of COVID-19 and conflicts by:
Broaching the different dimensions of economic slowdown that cities are currently experiencing and identifying actions that cities can take to boost economic recovery.
Sharing experiences among different cities on how they are positioning themselves to tackle inflationary pressures and other tight global financial conditions.
Optimising and rethinking the structure and usage of development finance including local government finance as way of closing the global infrastructure gap is one of the key focus areas of this year’s World Habitat Day. Saving the habitat today guarantees a better future tomorrow.