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- UN-Habitat Executive Director: World Cities Day Message
Changing Cities, Building Opportunities
World Habitat Day 2012 was held on 1 October 2012, under the theme Changing Cities, Building Opportunities. The main celebration was hosted by Embu Town in Kenya.
The United Nations chose the theme Changing Cities, Building Opportunities because cities are the engines of growth. It is in the cities that many realise their dreams of a better life. Even if this is not achieved, still many more leave the rural areas and flock to the cities for no other reason than the promise of a better future and prosperity. This they achieve by either getting jobs or by starting businesses which at one point not only provide for the owners but even other employees thus creating jobs.
Under this theme, UN-Habitat aimed to underscore the need to plan our cities better because as has also been stated, unplanned growth of cities lead to chaotic development and urban sprawl. When well planned, cities can continue to afford opportunities to both the current and future residents. The theme dovetails with the new UN-Habitat campaign, I am a city changer which seeks to involve all in making their cities a better place to live.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2012 website.
Cities and Climate Change
World Habitat Day 2011 was held on 3 October 2011, under the theme Cities and Climate Change.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.
The main celebration was held in Aguascalientes, Mexico.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2011 website.
Better City, Better Life
World Habitat Day 2010 was held on 4 October 2010, under the theme Better City, Better Life.
The United Nations chose the theme Better City, Better Life to highlight our collective vision of a sustainable urban world that harnesses the potential and possibilities, mitigates inequalities and disparities, and provides a home for people of all cultures and ages, both rich and poor.
The Global Observance was held during the Shanghai World Expo 2010, in an event hosted by China’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Rural Development and the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Urban and Rural Construction and Transport. The celebration of World Habitat Day was a major concluding highlight of the Shanghai World Expo.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2010 website.
Planning our urban future
World Habitat Day 2009 was held on 5 October 2009, under the theme Planning our urban future.The United Nations chose this themeto raise awareness of the need to improve urban planning to deal with new major challenges of the 21st century.
The main celebration hosted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington D.C., U.S.A.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2009 website.
World Habitat Day 2008 was held on 6 October 2008, under the theme Harmonious Cities. The United Nations chose the theme of Harmonious Cities for 2008 to raise awareness about the problems of rapid urbanization, its impact on the environment, the growth of slums, and the urbanisation of poverty as more and more people teem into towns and cities looking for a better life.
The main celebration was held in Luanda, Angola.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2008 website.
A safe city is a just city.
World Habitat Day 2007 was held on 1 October 2007, under the theme A safe city is a just city. The theme was selected to raise awareness and encourage reflection on the mounting threats to urban safety and social justice, particularly urban crime and violence, forced eviction and insecurity of tenure, as well as natural and human-made disasters.
The main celebrations of the Day took place in The Hague in the Netherlands, and in Monterrey in Mexico.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2007 website.
Cities, Magnets of Hope
World Habitat Day 2006 was held on 2 October 2006 under the theme Cities, Magnets of Hope. This theme was chosen to remind all of us that the world is witnessing the greatest migration in its history of people into towns and cities.
The main celebrations were held in Naples, Italy and Kazan, Russian Federation.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2006 website.
The Millennium Development Goals and the City
World Habitat Day 2005 was held on 3 October 2005, under the theme The Millennium Development Goals and the City. This theme was selected to remind all of us that in the year 2000, world leaders meeting at the dawn of the new Millennium, committed themselves to launch a concerted attack on poverty, illiteracy, hunger, unsafe water, disease and urban and environmental degradation by adopting a set of eight goals.
The main celebration was held in Jakarta, Indonesia.
For more information visit the World Habitat Day 2005 website.