Mexico City, 7 October 2019 – As 40 children filed onto the stage at Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum clutching instruments made from buckets, bits of piping and plastic bottles, it was clear that this year’s Global Observance of World Habitat Day would be a dynamic event.
The children of the Rey Poeta orchestra, were one innovative way to illustrate the 2019 World Habitat Day theme of Frontier technologies as an innovative tool to transform waste to wealth.
The Museum’s auditorium was packed with over 300 dignitaries, politicians, experts, academics, NGOs, and young people and from round the world eager to share innovative ideas.
The Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, told a packed audience: “We are facing a global waste management challenge on a global scale that requires urgent action. Our cities produce 7 to 10 billion tonnes of waste a year and current rubbish collection services don’t even reach half of the urban population in low-income countries.”
She called for cities to take advantage of technology to create a circular economy where resources undergo transformation and retain or even increase their value.
The Under-Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights in Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was elected as President of the first UN-Habitat Assembly earlier this year, Ms. Martha Delgado, said that the Mexican Government was strongly committed to making urbanization a powerful tool and ally of Sustainable Development.
Mexico’s Minister of Urban and Rural Development, Mr. Roman Meyer Falcon, described innovation as a way to transform the way the environment is managed which could improve the quality of life for millions of people.
Outside the auditorium, participants signed a large board pledging to rethink, refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle their waste. This pledge echoes the UN-Habitat Waste Wise Cities campaign which encourages cities to sign up to promote sustainable waste management and has so far attracted over 80 cities.
In the afternoon there were panel discussions on the Circular Economy and the Informal Economy and Migration.
This year World Habitat Day celebrations were held across the world including Cameroon, Kenya, Canada, Japan, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India. Last year over 80 cities, towns and communities celebrated the day.