The World Habitat Day aims to draw the people’s attention towards the anxious need of poor people for adequate housing
By Akampurira Davis
“Solutions begin with small steps individuals can take to alter the way our cities function. We must reduce the amount of waste we produce, and, at the same time, start seeing it as a valuable resource that can be re-used and recycled, including for energy.” — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
World Habitat Day was first declared by the United Nations General Assembly in the month of December in the year 1985. United Nations General Assembly has declared the first Monday of the month of October as the World Habitat Day. It was first started celebrating in the year 1986 on the first Monday of October. The day reflects on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
Building on last year’s theme “Municipal Solid Waste Management” which focused mainly on managing garbage, the focus of this year’s World Habitat Day is promoting the contribution of innovative frontier technologies to sustainable waste management to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 11: inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities. Going beyond solid waste this includes all waste produced by human activity (solid, liquid, domestic, industrial and commercial), which continues to have a devastating impact on climate change, public health and the environment.
This year’s theme is “Frontier Technologies as an Innovative Tool to Transform Waste”. Technology has great potential to improve how people work and live, to significantly accelerate efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change. Frontier technologies, such as automation, robotics, electric vehicles, renewable energy technologies, biotechnologies, and artificial intelligence can transform social, economic and environmental spheres. They can offer better, cheaper, faster, scalable and easy to use solutions for every-day problems, including waste management.
The celebration of the day involves the plan to alter the systems which emphasize poverty housing as well as planning affordable housing for all. It was planned to make available sufficient shelter, water, sanitation, health, other basic services, good education within easy reach, job prospects and etc. There is a global housing crisis, approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide are living in substandard housing and almost 100 million people are homeless. It indicates that it is very to take some serious actions otherwise the number of slum inhabitants will continuously increase all over the world. The World Habitat Day aims to draw the people’s attention towards the anxious need of poor people for adequate housing.
Therefore, we believe that the purpose of celebrating World Habitat Day is to pay serious attention towards the need for better shelter all over the world, to share the priority of affordable and adequate housing, to bring the positive changes in the systems including policies and attitudes, to reflect on the states and towns and pay attention on the basic human rights for adequate shelter and to increase the awareness worldwide of joint responsibility for the future generation’s shelter.
Providing and improving housing is a gigantic task and cannot be dealt with only by the governmental authorities. It requires the involvement of all stakeholders including communities, NGOs and experienced developers to optimize urban densities and provide land zoning with efficient services and utilities that are environmentally friendly and have a minimum carbon footprint.
Let us whole-heartedly support and celebrate the WHD and organize any activity or event in our own community including an awareness campaign, a fun activity, area cleanliness and get together in parks and public spaces.
The writer is the projects manager, Uganda Industrial Research Institute