In 2023, the global community gathers to celebrate two pivotal events that underscore the importance of sustainable urbanization: World Habitat Day and World Cities Day.
These events are part of the broader “Urban October” initiative, which encourages stakeholders from all sectors to engage in discussions about the challenges and opportunities of rapid urbanization.
World Habitat Day 2023: A Focus on Resilient Urban Economies
On the first Monday of October, the world observes World Habitat Day. This year, the day falls on 2nd October and is hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the theme “Building resilient urban economies.” The program took place in the cities of Zangilan, southwest of Azerbaijan, and Baku, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1.
Türkiye’s first lady, Emine Erdogan, emphasized the importance of the event, stating, “We have pledged to make the world a healthy, more livable, and sustainable place for everyone with the global #ZeroWaste movement.” She further stressed the significance of safe and clean cities as the foundation for transformation and change.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted the potential of cities as drivers of inclusive, green, and sustainable growth. “To fulfill this promise, cities must confront a range of challenges – from economic shocks and escalating climate emergencies to widening inequalities,” he said. Guterres emphasized the role of the Local 2030 Coalition in mobilizing the entire United Nations system to tackle these crises and advance sustainable urbanization.
Alain St.Ange, the former Minister of Seychelles responsible for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports & Marine and the VP of WTN (World Tourism Network), highlighted the urgency of recognizing World Habitat Day. “The World as a whole is feeling the impact of non-planning in the past. It is not time for name calling or blame pointing… it is more time for opening concrete positive dialogue for action related results in Unity for purpose. Marking Habitat as it is called will and should serve to open a more comprehensive conversation for greater success. Habitat is an important part of that needed conversation,” he said.
World Cities Day 2023: Celebrating Urban Diversity in Istanbul
World Cities Day, celebrated on 31st October, takes place in the Municipality of Üsküdar in Istanbul, Türkiye. The day emphasizes the role of urbanization as a source of global development and social inclusion.
The Global Zero Waste Movement: A Vision for a Sustainable Future
The Zero Waste project, initiated in Türkiye by Emine Erdogan in 2017, was jointly developed on an international level by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. President Erdogan became the first zero waste volunteer by signing the Global Zero Waste Goodwill Declaration, supporting the Global Zero Waste Movement led by Emine Erdogan.
“Local action is vital, and global cooperation indispensable,” Guterres concluded. “On this World Habitat Day, let us pledge to build inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable human settlements for all people, everywhere.”
For more information and to get involved in Urban October events, visit urbanoctober.unhabitat.org.