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Decent housing and sustainable cities at the heart of UN celebrations of World Habitat Day in Geneva

World Habitat Day 2017 is the occasion to raise awareness of the theme of “housing policies: affordable homes”, underscoring the importance of ensuring adequate, affordable and decent housing for all as a key feature of sustainable cities. This year’s celebration also coincides with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of UNECE’s Committee on Housing and Land Management.

The provision of adequate, affordable and decent housing is of crosscutting relevance to sustainable development, linking to a wide range of areas including health, energy efficiency and inclusion.

World Habitat Day celebrations in Geneva, held on 2 October, featured a photo exhibition on “Geneva: the Habitats Within”, alongside an “Urban Breakfast” event, co-organised by UNECE and UN-Habitat with participation of key UN agencies working in Geneva on issues of housing and urban development.

Speaking at the Urban Breakfast event, Ms. Olga Algayerova, Executive Secretary of UNECE, stated, “UNECE endorsed the Geneva UN Charter on Sustainable Housing in 2015. It is an important international instrument to support member States as they seek to ensure access to decent, adequate, affordable and healthy housing for all, with due attention to reducing the impact of the housing sector on the environment. The Committee on Housing and Land Management is further committed to ensuring adequate, decent and affordable housing for all through the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs), with a particular emphasis on SDG 11 on making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Mr. Michael Møller, Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, stressed the importance of World Habitat Day as a reminder that adequate shelter for all is a basic human right. He underlined that “The photo exhibition “Geneva: The Habitats Within”, demonstrated that the city of Geneva is unique in its ability to accommodate immense diversity in terms of ideas, action and people”.

The Urban Breakfast focused on “implementing the New Urban Agenda and the urban dimension of the SDGs in the UNECE region”. Key issues included sustainable city planning, the use of national urban policy instruments, stakeholder participation in urban policy development, and enhancing measurement of progress towards SDGs in cities.

Financial support for the preparation of the exhibition was provided by the Government of Slovenia. 

For more information on Geneva World Habitat Day celebrations, please visit: http://www.unece.org/housing/worldhabitatday2017.html