Celebrated on the first Monday of October, on World Habitat Day we reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. The Day also intends to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.
This year’s theme Cities and Climate Change was chosen because climate change is fast becoming the preeminent development challenge of the 21st century. Indeed, no-one today can really foresee the predicament in which a town or city will find itself in 10, 20 or 30 years time. In this new urban era with most of humanity now living in towns and cities, we must bear in mind that the greatest impacts of disasters resulting from climate change begin and end in cities. Cities too have a great influence on climate change.
The effects of urbanization and climate change are converging in dangerous ways. The results of this convergence threaten to have unprecedented negative impacts on quality of life, and economic and social stability. However, alongside these threats is an equally compelling set of opportunities. Although urban areas, with their high concentration of population, industries and infrastructure, are likely to face the most severe impacts of climate change, urbanization will also offer many opportunities to develop cohesive mitigation and adaptation strategies to deal with climate change. The populations, enterprises and authorities of urban centres will be fundamental players in developing these strategies.
The Global Celebration will be hosted by the Government of Mexico
World Habitat Day provides an excellent opportunity to highlight key human settlements issues. In 2010, over 240 activities in 79 countries were organized to advocate for better lives in towns and cities.
This year, UN-Habitat is again calling on 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 sustainable urbanization, and the important theme, Cities and Climate Change.
Edited: G. Cornwell
The Brussels based United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe - UNRIC provides information on UN activities to the countries of the region. It also provides liaison with institutions of the European Union in the field of information. Its outreach activities extend to all segments of society and joint campaigns, projects and events are organized with partners including the EU, governments, the media, NGOs, schools and local authorities.
United Nations Regional Information Centre for Western Europe (UNRIC Brussels)
Residence Palace, Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat 155, Block C2,7th and 8th floor, Brussels 1040, Belgium
Tel.: +32 2 788 8484 / Fax: 32 2 788 8485