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World Habitat Day - 3 October 2011

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day. This year, World Habitat Day will be celebrated on 3 October 2011 and the Global Celebration will be hosted by the Government of Mexico. The idea is to reflect on the state of our towns and cities and the basic right of all, to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat. The United Nations chose the 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. According to the United Nations, more than 100 million people in the world today are homeless. Millions more face a severe housing problem living without adequate sanitation, with irregular or no electricity supply and without adequate security. Worldwide, more than 2 million housing units per year are needed for the next 50 years to solve the present worldwide housing crisis. With our global population expanding, however, at the end of those 50 years, there would still be a need for another 1 billion houses. By the year 2030, an additional 3 billion people, about 40 percent of the world’s population, will need access to housing. This translates into a demand for 96,150 new affordable units every day and 4,000 every hour! Let us all stand up on World Habitat Day and let it be known that affordable, adequate housing should be a priority everywhere, in our communities, in our towns, in our country, in our world. 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. For more information, visit www.go-green.ae


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