World Habitat Day Deserves More Recognition – Alain St. Ange

World Habitat Day 2023
October 2, 2023

The Vice President of World Tourism Network (WTN), Alain St. Ange has stated that the World Habitat Day needs more recognition. St. Ange made the call as he departed Bali, Indonesia after the 2023 TIME Tourism Summit, an event during which his biography, “A Life in Tourism” was launched.

The Bali Tourism Summit brought to the table points that needed consideration for a sustainable tourism development order. Speaking about World Tourism Day, St. Ange said, “The scary thoughts that in the next decades, tourism numbers would double as the community of nations stills cannot be united in the way forward for concrete acceptable approaches.

“The world as a whole is feeling the impact of non-planning in the past. It is not time for name calling or blame pointing… it is more time for opening concrete positive dialogue for action related results in unity for purpose. Marking Habitat as it is called will and should serve to open the more comprehensive conversation for greater successes. Habitat is an important part of that needed conversation.”

World Habitat Day

Established by the UN General Assembly in 1985, World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 in Nairobi, Kenya, with the theme ‘Shelter is my right.’ World Habitat Day is held annually on the first Monday of October and it launches Urban October. The day centers around the global observance, which is held in a different country each year with keynote speakers and roundtable discussions focused on a specific theme.

The 2023 World Habitat Day, which was held on 2 October, was designated by the United Nations to reflect on the state of cities and human settlements and promote the right to adequate shelter.

“Local action is vital, and global cooperation indispensable,” said earlier in his message the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres. “On this World Habitat Day, let us pledge to build inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable human settlements for all people, everywhere.”

This year, the global ceremony took place in the city of Baku, Azerbaijan. It was co-organized with the State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture of the Republic of Azerbaijan under the theme ‘Resilient urban economies. Cities as drivers of growth and recovery’. This is the first celebration of the day in the Caucasus and Central Asian region.

The programme of World Habitat Day features a high-level ceremony followed by two roundtables to dive deeper into the economic slowdown cities face today and identify actionable steps and tools for post-crisis reconstruction and recovery and how to change financing for cities. Almost 1,000 participants representing 108 countries registered for the event in-person and online. Recommendations and messages from the debates will be shared on World Cities Day on 31 October and at the ministerial session on urban action and climate change at COP28 in December 2023.

“Let us recognize that resilient urban economies are not only about financing growth and competing to be at the top. It is also about nurturing the human spirit, embracing innovation, putting technology to serve human needs, and creating inclusive societies,” said Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat at the opening ceremony of World Habitat Day.

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