[Dateline: Nairobi | Author: UN-HABITAT]
As UN-HABITAT prepares for the biggest annual event on its calendar, the Nairobi-based agency is urging all staff to take part in the nomination of a candidate for the Habitat Scroll of Honour, the most prestigious human settlements award, presented on World Habitat Day, which is celebrated on the first Monday of October.
The Habitat Scroll of Honour, launched by the UN-HABITAT in 1989, acknowledges outstanding contributions of individuals, organizations and projects in shelter provision, and sustainable urban development.
The award, a plaque engraved with the name of the winner and their achievement will be presented to the winners during the global observance of World Habitat Day on 5 October 2009, to be held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
The theme for this year’s observation is Planning our Urban Future.
UN-Habitat is also urging all UN agencies and their partners to use the commemoration of World Habitat Day to help raise awareness of the major new challenges affecting cities such as climate change, resource depletion, food insecurity, population growth and economic instability.
As part of the intensive preparations preceding the celebrations, the United States Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka, recently convened a dinner of the US Honorary Committee at the Arts Club of Washington.
The economic crisis in the United States has forced deeper thinking among Americans about the global housing crisis and the need for greater collaboration, said Mrs. Tibaijuka in her opening remarks.
Secretary Donovan underscored the need for greater dialogue among Member States about sustainable urban growth and welcomed World Habitat Day as an opportunity to foster exchange of ideas and best practice.
The 30 policy makers present discussed ways to promote the global celebrations for World Habitat Day, stressing the need to create clear messages about housing and sustainable urbanization and to promote these through the networks of the 15 organizations participating in the global commemoration.
All the participants at the meeting agreed that the global observance in Washington will provide a platform for dialogue on urban issues at a time when over 1.1 billion people live in informal settlements and slums.