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World Habitat Day observed on 5th October, 2020

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World Habitat Day - October 5 2020The United Nations World Habitat Day was observed on 5th October. It is celebrated annually on First Monday of October. The World Habitat Day is observed to reflect on the state of human settlements and to emphasize the basic right of adequate shelter to all. 

i.The Theme of World Habitat Day 2020 is “Housing for All – A Better Urban Future”. 

ii.The Global Observation of the Day will be hosted by the city of Surabaya, Indonesia

Background:

The World Habitat Day was established in 1985 through a resolution passed by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly.  It was first observed in 1986. 

Key Points:

i.An estimated 1.8 billion people are living in slums and informal settlements, inadequate housing in cities all over the world. 

ii.The Pandemic has highlighted the structural inequalities, as minorities, indigenous people and migrants were affected by housing precarities, overcrowding and environmental hazards. 

iii.According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), 55 percent of World’s population do not benefit from any form of social protection. 

iv.The Day emphasizes that Housing is a human right, and housing serves as a catalyst for other fundamental rights.  Housing ensures “Right to the City for All”. 

v.Due to the pandemic, Housing has become a matter of life and death as people are advised by the government to stay at home due to the spread of COVID-19. 

Scroll of Honour:

i.The Habitat Scroll of Honour award was launched by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme in 1989. 

ii.It aims to recognize contributions made in shelter provision, highlighting the plight of homeless, leadership in post conflict reconstruction and improvements of human settlements and quality of urban life. 

iii.It is presented to winners during Global Observance of World Habitat Day. 

Winners of 2020 UN-Habitat Scroll of honour:

  • Upcycle Africa (Uganda)
  • Subang Jaya Municipal Council (Malaysia)
  • Community Impact Nepal (Kathmandu, Nepal)
  • Ministry of Housing and Cities (Colombia)
  • ECOCASA SHF (Mexico)

Initiative by Government of India:

i.Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Hardeep Singh Puri highlighted various schemes taken by Government of India (GoI) to provide housing for all in India. 

  • Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban, 
  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban,
  • Smart Cities Mission, 
  • AMRUT (Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation) Mission.  

ii.GoI introduced Pradhan Mantri Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi Scheme (PM SVANidhi) to target people who were affected by Lockdown. Under the Scheme a Collateral free working capital of INR 10, 000 by Banks. 

iii.The Union Minister released several e-publications of organisations under MoHUA such as Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO), National Cooperative Housing Federation of India (NCHF) during a webinar on occasion of World Habitat Day 2020. 

iv.He highlighted the use of technology like Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) to monitor municipal functions on a real time basis and CCTV across the cities for security of women.  

v.India has surpassed the targets for individual and community toilets under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban Scheme. India had surpassed the targets by 2 October, 2019. 

About United Nations General Assembly (UNGA):
President of 75th Session of UNGA – Volkan Bozkir
Headquarters – New York, United States of America (USA)