Baku hosts World Habitat Day 2023: creating prosperous cities and resilient economies
Baku, 30 September, AZERTAC
Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, hosts the global observance of World Habitat Day on 2 October 2023. This is the first celebration of the day in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Today, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities, according to the UN data. By 2050, this number is projected to reach almost 70 percent. It is estimated that 93 percent of the future urban population growth will be happening in the developing world, in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Our present and future are undoubtedly urban. Cities and human settlements play a vital role in economic development. And urbanization is among the most important forces driving the global and national economy. The higher the level of urbanization in a country, the higher its GDP per capita.
World Habitat Day commences the Urban October month and is observed each year on the first Monday of October. This day was introduced by the UN General Assembly resolution back in 1985 to reflect on the state of human habitat and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is intended to remind us that we have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.
This year, the global celebration of the day is taking place on 2 October 2023 in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. This is the first observance of the day in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The theme of the day is ‘Resilient urban economies. Cities as drivers of growth and recovery.’ The State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture of the Republic of Azerbaijan supported this event and championed its organization.
The program of World Habitat Day in Baku features a global ceremony followed by a series of roundtables to dive deep into the economic slowdown cities face today and identify actionable steps and existing tools for post-crisis reconstruction. Almost 1,000 participants from 108 countries will attend the ceremony, in-person or online.
Cities are at the forefront of both opportunities and challenges in pursuing sustainable development, as they are hubs of economic growth, innovation, and cultural exchange. However, they also grapple with complex issues ranging from demographic shifts and environmental degradation to economic disparities, conflicts and social inequalities.
The rapidly growing urban population has tremendous economic, social, and environmental impacts. The UN recognizes this role, and one of the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 11, focuses on ‘making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.’ “We work with cities and communities to unlock their potential and empower them to create a better urban future – with job opportunities, green spaces, and respect for diversity,” says Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif.
Conversations about cities and human settlements at World Habitat Day are intended to change our perception of cities and present them as the drivers of economic growth and change. Cities need resources and funds to accelerate their sustainable development to create better places for all.