Do your bit: Focus on days highlighting international issues International Days and Observances
World Habitat Day
3 October
The United Nations has designated the first Monday in October every year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of human settlements and the basic right to adequate shelter for all. It is also intended to remind the world of its collective responsibility for the future of the human habitat.

This year, the World Habitat Day focuses on
"Mind the Gap"

The campaign on "Mind the Gap. Leave No One and Place Behind",
will look at the problem of growing inequality and challenges
in cities and human settlements.

Recent research shows that by the year 2050, 6 billion people, or two-thirds of humanity, will be living in towns and cities. If present trends continue, more than half of these people could be living in slums. On the other hand, the slums and pockets of poverty that exist even in rich countries are located in well-defined spaces where all development goals can be tackled together, where economies of scale can be realized, and where one intervention can have a multiplier effect.

By the year 2050, some 6 billion people representing two-thirds of humanity will be living in towns and cities. Never before in history has the world witnessed such rapid urbanization. Neither has it witnessed such a swift rise in the absolute numbers of people migrating.

- Kofi Anan, Former UN Secretary General

  • 75% of the world's countries have constitutions or national laws that promote the full and progressive realisation of the right to adequate housing.
  • 61% of countries in the world have constitutions or national laws that protect against forced evictions.
  • Households in cities of developing countries need an average of 8 times their annual income to buying a house; in Africa, they need an average of 12.5 times their annual income, while in Latin America, they only need 5.4 times their annual income. The highest rents are in the Arab States, where a household spends an average of 45% of its monthly income on rent.
  • One out of every four countries in the developing world have constitutions or national laws which prevent women from owning land and/or taking mortgages in their own names. Customary or legal constraints to women owning land or property are highest in Africa, the Arab States, Asia and Latin America.
  • Real estate costs are highest in Asia and the Pacific where one square metre of land for a serviced plot costs an average of US$ 3.1. Africa is at the lowest end of the real estate market with an average price of US$ 0.15 per square metre.
  • Less than 20% of households in Africa are connected to piped water and only 40% have access to water within 200 meters of their house.

Additional Resources:

GDRC has been working on themes related to this international day/observance, in the Slums and Squatters theme of its programme on Urban Environmental Management

GDRC therefore reaffirms its committment to uphold the objectives of the World Habitat Day, and work towards better understanding of, and action on, promoting the betterment of slums and squatter settlements under the overall umbrella of poverty alleviation.

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