The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October each year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of human settlements, especially the living conditions of the urban poor and their basic right to adequate shelter. The theme of World Habitat Day on Monday 3 October 2005 is The Millennium Development Goals and the City .
The event, celebrated in cities around the world, will be spearheaded this year from the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, to remind the world that countless thousands of homes were destroyed last December by the tsunami killer wave that devastated Indonesia's Banda Aceh coastline and other Indian Ocean countries. UN-HABITAT's Executive Director, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, will be trave l ling to Indonesia, the country worst-hit in the disaster for the occasion. At the global celebrations, in Jakarta , the Chief Guest will be H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono , the President of the Republic of Indonesia .
There will also be many other events held around the world, these include:
In Benin The Union for the Dignity and the Development of the Underprivileged Family Communities of Porto-Novo (UDUCP) and the Benin Association for the Well-being of Orphans and Abandoned Children (A.BE.E.A) will celebrate World Habitat Day with a conference on poor health from water and degradation of the urban environment. The formal ceremony on 3 October will be personally launched by the Minister of the Environment, Habitat and Urbanism.
The Housing department of the government of Botswana will commemorate World Habitat Day while in Burundi the build-up to the day will be a nationwide television and radio debate on applying the Millennium Development Goals to cities in Burundi . The Head of State will preside at a special WHD ceremony in Gatumba, 15 km from Bujumbura .
Cameroon will mark World Habitat Day 2005 with a series of events including a World Habitat Day ceremony that will include a cultural programme centred on a poetry competition for young people on the theme of the capital city, Ndjamena in 2005.
Middle East :
World Habitat Day will be celebrated in the Palestinian Territories in a special media blitz in which the messages of the UN Secretary-General and UN-HABITAT's Executive Director will be widely publicized while the Ministry of Public works and Highways in Yemen is organizing a two day workshop on issues relating to the Millennium Development Goals and the Habitat Agenda.
MASES (Manab Sheba Shangstha - Save The Human Being), a regional based NGO in Banglades h will hold a seminar, a rally and symposium to mark World Habitat Day 2005. Besides this, a children's drawing exhibition on environment and healthy housing will be organized at Keshabpur municipality, Jessore prefecture.
In India , the Uttar Pradesh Housing & Development Board and U.P. Regional Chapter of Institute of Town Planners India is organising a World Habitat Day seminar on National Housing & Habitat Policy-2005. The Habitat Centre for Human Settlements International in Calcutta will invite local communities including slum dwellers, administrators and politicians to join hands to work towards the Millennium Development Goals.
UN-HABITAT's Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (ROAP) is coordinating the organization of an Expert Group Meeting in Fukuoka , Japan under the theme Towards Sustainable Cities - Indicator Assessment for Sustainable Cities. In Nepal The Nepal International Consumers Union will hold a seminar to mark World Habitat Day.
In Belgium The UN-HABITAT Brussels Liaison Office to the European Union and Belgium is organizing a European celebration of World Habitat Day 2005 in collaboration with the Regional United Nations Information Centre (RUNIC). In Italy World Habitat Day will be observed at the University of Rome "La Sapienza" ?s first faculty of architecture. The event is being organized by the Centre for Urban Research for Developing Countries of the Department for Territorial and Urban Planning. It will celebrate this year's theme with the presentation of the Millennium Task Force's report "A Home in the City" and the presentation of "Global Studio", a worldwide partnership engaged in the involvement of human settlements professionals in participatory planning and design with the urban poor.
Crown Prince Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands and the Minister for Housing Spatial Planning and Environment will open this year's World Habitat Day celebrations in the Netherlands .
For the fifth time, World Habitat Day 2005 in Norway will be celebrated with a conference organized by Habitat-Norway in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development. The conference will take place in Oslo .
In Switzerland a World Habitat Day workshop is being held by the non-governmental organisation, "Urbanistes sans Frontières". Later in the month, from 1 to 13 October, there will be a major international conference in Geneva on the theme, "Sustainable Urbanization: Promoting new alliances to manage the present and the future."
University College , London 's Development Planning Unit (DPU) is organising a lunchtime panel discussion, jointly with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and Homeless International (HI) in the United Kingdom . The event is titled "From Aspiration to Implementation: The Challenge of the Millennium Development Goals in Cities of the South". Speakers include Caren Levy (DPU), David Satterthwaite (IIED) and Ruth McLeod (Homeless International).
North & South America
In New York , Habitat for Humanity International, the Earth Institute at Columbia University and UN-HABITAT, with generous support from the Rockefeller foundation, will bring together UN diplomats and representatives from faith based and civil society organizations to take part in voluntary activities with families at a New York City worksite in Harlem .
Bolivia's La Paz municipality will mark World Habitat Day with an outdoor public meeting in one of the main city squares and hold seminar on the right to shelter for government and nongovernmental institutions while in Brazil , Caixa Economica Federal in cooperation with the Ministry of Cities and the Ministry of Social Development will link its 2005/2006 Caixa Best Practices in Local Management Award to this year's World Habitat Day celebration.
In Bogota , Columbia a seminar will be held on the occasion of WHD with the participation of local authorities including the Mayor, the academic community, the private sector and other experts in urban issues. The one day seminar is thematically linked to local urban initiatives and the MDGs.
A longer list of events can be found on the website: http://www.un-habitat.org/whd/2005/default.asp
In Indonesia, the global celebration highlights include the presentation of the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour awards by Mrs. Anna K. Tibaijuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN-HABITAT and the presentation of the National Innovative Community Settlement Improvement Award to the nominated regional/local authorities of Indonesia by H.E. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of the Republic of Indonesia. The Dubai Municipality together with UN-HABITAT will officially launch the 2006 Edition of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the living Environment, and the World Habitat Awards will be presented by Ms. Diane Diacon of the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BHSF) of the United Kingdom .
The 2005 UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award Winners represent a series of best practices and examples from around the world that shine out in their commitment to the cause of improving human settlements, their innovative ways of reducing urban poverty and bringing relief to the victims of disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami.
This year's winners are:
Ms. Rose Molokoane , a South African veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle, cited " for her tireless struggle to bring land and homes to the poor ."
The Municipal People's Government of Yantai in eastern China 's Shandong Province with a population of more than 1 million people is awarded "for transforming Yantai into a safer, greener and better serviced city".
The Municipal Basic Information Research (MUNIC) department in Brazil , set up in 1999, is awarded for "keeping Brazilians in tune with the Millennium Development Goals at city level."
The Municipality of Kazan City on the Volga River deep in the Russian heartland, is awarded " for providing new housing and infrastructure for its poorest residents " during a post-Soviet Slum Liquidation Programme started in 1996 and completed in 2004.
Sri Lanka 's largest Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Sarvodaya Shramandana Movement founded in 1958, is awarded " for the immediate rescue and rehabilitation of those worst affected by the tsunami."
Johan Silas of Indonesia is awarded "for years of research and work dedicated to providing affordable shelter for the poor".
Jakarta Metropolitan City is awarded "for successfully improving and greening the urban infrastructure to create an inclusive, cosmopolitan city".
The UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour award is conferred posthumously on North Sumatra Governor Tengku Rizal Nurdin "for showing unstinting, tireless leadership in bringing relief to tsunami and earthquake victims" in the aftermath of the twin tragedies of the tsunami and the earthquake in North Sumatra's district of Nias up until the day he died in an aircraft accident on 5 September 2005.
The World Habitat Awards
The Building and Social Housing Foundation is pleased to announce that the winners of this year's World Habitat Awards are the Straw-Bale Housing Technology Transfer Project in the People's Republic of China and the Solar Housing Renovation Project in Gårdsten , Sweden . An award of £10,000 is presented to each of the two winners at the annual United Nations global celebration of World Habitat Day.
The Straw-Bale Energy Efficient Housing Technology Transfer Project demonstrates how straw bales can successfully be used to build homes for low-income farmers in the extremely cold northern provinces of China . To date over 600 homes have been completed as well as schools and other public buildings using the abundant supplies of waste rice straw. Benefits include significantly reduced coal consumption and CO 2 emissions, affordable warmth and less respiratory disease for residents, much greater resistance to earthquakes and savings of precious top soils due to reduced brick production. Training in the simple construction methods has been provided to over 500 people, with local governments and communities involved throughout the project, ensuring its cultural acceptability. Income generating opportunities have been linked to the programme and the Chinese government is currently building a further 400 such homes as part of its national study into sustainable construction methods.
The Solar Housing Renovation Project shows how a range of innovative, environmentally and socially sustainable approaches were used in the renovation of this former ?sink' estate in Gårdsten near Goteborg, in Sweden. Constructed using concrete panel block system in the 1970s, it had become difficult to let with many empty apartments, crime and social problems. Residents of the 255 apartments were involved throughout the design process and continue to be involved in the ongoing management and maintenance. Half of the residents are from other countries and community involvement and provision on the estate has ensured a successful integration of Swedish and immigrant families. A particularly successful innovation is the provision of community greenhouses on the ground floors of the blocks which provide an opportunity for social interaction as well as production of a wide range of fruit, herbs and vegetables. Significant energy savings have been achieved and the estate now has a waiting list of residents wanting to live there.
All local and international journalists based in Jakarta are invited to
A Press Conference to be held on Monday, 3 October 2005 at the Jakarta Hilton Hotel
with Mrs. Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, and
the Habitat Scroll of Honour Award Winners.
Additional information for the Editor
World Habitat Day:
Every year, since 1985 when it was designated by the General Assembly of the United Nations, World Habitat Day has been celebrated on the first Monday of October. This day has been set aside by the United Nations for the world to reflect on the state of our human settlements and the basic right to adequate shelter. In particular, on this day, governments and local authorities are encouraged to hold observances to encourage greater awareness about the need to improve our living environment.
The UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Awards are presented annually on World Habitat Day, to individuals, organizations or projects that have made outstanding international contributions towards improved urban governance. At the same time, the Building and Social Housing Foundation, a United Kingdom based non-governmental organization which awards innovative, sustainable and replicable human settlements projects throughout the world, presents the World Habitat Awards . There will also be exhibitions including the award ceremony of a competition by University Students on drawings and write-ups on the theme as well as the Habitat Scroll of Award Winners.
The Dubai International Award for Best Practices
With the generous support of Dubai Municipality , U.A.E., UN-HABITAT is able to raise awareness of some of the most pressing social, economic and environmental challenges of an urbanizing world. In collaboration with a global network of partners, UN-HABITAT identifies analyses and disseminates lessons learned from actions that have made a lasting contribution to quality of life and the sustainability of our cities and communities. Every two years, 12 Best Practices are recognized and awarded with a US$ 30,000 prize, a trophy and a commemorative certificate. The next Dubai International Award will be presented in the year 2006.
Best Practices are outstanding contributions to improve the living environment. They are defined by the United Nations and the international community at large as successful initiatives that demonstrate a tangible impact on improving the quality of life. Often they are the result of effective partnerships between the public, private and civic sectors of society. They are usually socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable.
Sharing lessons learned from best practices
Over 2,150 Good and Best Practices from 140 countries have been compiled on the Habitat Best Practices database, http://www.bestpractices.org
Methods to facilitate learning and capacity building are in continuous development and are also available on the Internet at: http:// www.blpnet.org/learning/learning.htm
The process of identifying Good and Best Practices also serves as a barometer of emerging urban trends and conditions and a means of identifying who is doing what to implement commitments made under Agenda 21, the Habitat Agenda and the Millennium Declaration. Every two years, UN-Habitat compiles an analysis of current trends and conditions in the State of the World's Cities report series and distributes the results to key decision-makers and civic leaders at all levels.
On World Habitat Day in Jakarta , the Dubai Municipality together with UN-HABITAT will officially launch the 2006 Edition of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices.
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