UN marks World Habitat Day focuses on cities thrives for growth


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 3rd Oct. International Community on Monday marked the World Habitat Day stated that priming cities to become drivers of economic growth and recovery in the aftermath of crises such as conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic is the focus of World Habitat Day.

UN said global economic growth is declining to about 2.5 per cent this year, apart from the initial COVID-19 crisis three years ago, and the global financial crisis in 2009, this represents the weakest level since 2001.

Given the size of the contribution of cities to national economies, the future of many countries will be determined by their productivity.

Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message that urban areas can promote inclusive, green, and sustainable growth.

“Building greater resilience and better protecting vulnerable populations requires far greater investments in sustainable infrastructure, early warning systems, and affordable, adequate housing for all,” he said.

“At the same time, we must work to improve access to electricity, water, sanitation, transport, and other basic services – while investing in education, skills development, digital innovation, and entrepreneurship.”

He added “local action is vital, and global cooperation indispensable”.

The push for more resilient, safe and inclusive cities is SDGs which point the way to fair and green future for all people and the planet by 2030.

Over half the world lives in cities,  is projected to rise to 70 per cent by 2050. Over one billion are living in slums, and their numbers will also increase.

Head of the UN Habitat agency said countries are “far behind” in achieving SDG 11.  The biggest challenge is data reporting and monitoring at the national and local levels.

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, recalled that at the recent SDG Summit in New York, the Secretary-General urged world leaders to strengthen both multi-level governance and cooperation.

She drew attention to “the elephant in the room” financing – noting that the issue was raised by most delegates at the UN General Assembly last month.

“As the Secretary General said, we need to reform the current unsustainable and unfair financial system,” she told participants.

“We cannot expect least developed and small island developing states to implement the SDGs as well as climate adaptation measures if 70 per cent of their total revenues are used to service debt.”

Ms. Sharif said UN-Habitat is working with over 600 cities in all regions of the world and will finalize a position paper on financing sustainable urbanization.

World Habitat Day has been commemorated annually since 1986.

It marks the start of Urban October, which provides an opportunity for people everywhere to join the global conversation around the potentials and perils of a planet that is becoming ever more urban.

The month concludes with World Cities Day on 31 October.

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