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UN-HABITAT: World Habitat Day 2023 to focus on resilience and recovery

Today, more than half of the global population lives in cities. By 2050, this number is projected to rise to 70 percent, according to UN data. Our present and future are undoubtedly urban.

To reflect on the state of our habitats and on the basic right to adequate housing for all, World Habitat Day held on the first Monday of October every year invites us to explore our collective and individual power and responsibility in shaping the future of our cities and towns.

World Habitat Day was established by the UN General Assembly in 1985 and first celebrated in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1986. This year, the Global Observance of 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.” This is the first time global celebrations will take place in the Central Asian region.

The year 2023 has been particularly challenging for urban economies. Global growth is forecasted to decline to about 2.5 per cent – the lowest since 2001 aside from the COVID-19 crisis in 2020 and the financial crisis of 2009. Given the major contribution of cities to national economies, the future of many countries will be determined by the economic strength of their urban areas. To sustain growth and recovery, the world will need cities that can absorb, recover, and prepare for future economic shocks.

World Habitat Day 2023 will focus on the role that cities play in the recovery after crises be it COVID-19, economic downturns, conflicts, or climate emergencies. Representatives of national governments and local and regional authorities as well as various stakeholder groups and civil society representatives will convene and explore how cities can better position their economies to benefit their residents and create resilience.

World Habitat Day launches Urban October – a month of activities, events, and discussions on urban sustainability that ends with World Cities Day on 31 October. As part of the World Habitat Day celebrations, UN-Habitat will present its Scroll of Honour award acknowledging initiatives that have made outstanding contributions to urban development-related activities.

For more information on World Habitat Day, click here.

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