World Habitat Day 2020: Theme, significance and history

New Delhi (NVI): The United Nations (UN) observe the first Monday of October as World Habitat Day. The day is commemorated every year worldwide to throw light on the condition of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter.

This day is a reminder to the world that we all have the capability and the duty towards shaping the future of our cities and towns.

The theme for World Habitat Day 2020 is ‘Housing for all: A better urban future’ as a proper place to live has become important more than ever.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a shelter has become a matter of life and death. As by staying inside homes, people can stop the virus from spreading as well as getting contaminated.

World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with its theme as ‘Shelter is my right’. It was hosted by Nairobi city during that year. The habitat ‘Scroll of Honour’ award was launched by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme in 1989. It is currently the most prestigious human settlements award in the world.

According to the United Nations, around 1.8 billion people were already living in slums and informal settlements, inadequate housing or in homelessness in cities across the world before the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

Amid the pandemic, the need of having a home has grown remarkably in order to make a safe environment for living, working and learning. A home should also be assured with basic necessities, infrastructure, hygiene measures and room for social distancing.

The location of a home should allow its residents access to green places and open spaces, employment opportunities, health-care facilities, schools, childcare centres and other social facilities.