Sri Lanka World Habitat Day 2020

World Habitat Day 2020 Housing for All: A Better Urban Future

5th October 2019, Colombo, Sri Lanka. The United Nations designated the first Monday of October of each year as World Habitat Day to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of adequate shelter to all. The Day is also intended to remind the world that we all have the responsibility and the power to shape the future of our towns and cities. Each year, the World Habitat Day takes on a new theme to bring attention to the mandate, the vision and the mission of United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat). The World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right” and Nairobi was the host city for the observance that year. This year’s theme is “Housing for All: A Better Urban Future”.

The main National event to celebrate Word Habitat Day 2020 scheduled to be held at the Temple Trees (official residence of the Prime Minister) at 2.00 pm under the patronage of Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister and Minister of Urban Development and Housing with the participation of State Minister of Rural Housing and Construction and Building Material Industry Promotion, Indika Anuruddha. Regrettably the event was cancelled in the last moment due to the alarming escalation of COVID-19 situation in the country.

The World Habitat Day celebrations in Sri Lanka were due to feature the awarding of prizes to the winners of children’s art and craft competitions held in conjunction with the World Habitat Day and most importantly, awarding of deeds to homeowners and issuing of professional identity cards to architects. Dr Chanaka Talpahewa, Country Programme Manager of UN-Habitat Sri Lanka and the Maldives was to read the World Habitat Day message of UN-Habitat Executive Director, Ms Maimunah Mohd Sharif. During the Global Observance of World Habitat Day 2020, the Executive Director launched the five-week Housing for All Campaign. The campaign is aimed at raising awareness on the crucial role of adequate housing for development, gather solutions to address current gaps and call on all actors to commit to ensure housing for all.

The video statement of the Executive Director is available at

National and local governments, civil society organisations, private sector, financial institutions and research centres can amplify the Housing for All Campaign on social media using #Housing4All, #NotJustARoof and #TakeAction4Cities and by sharing their solutions to housing to inspire others,

You can find more information, and sign up to the Campaign at

In observance of the World Habitat Day 2020: “Housing for All: A Better Urban Future”, an article on the Peoples’ Process adopted by UN-Habitat written by Dr Chanaka Talpahewa, the Country Programme Manager for Sri Lanka and the Maldives appeared in the Sunday Times newspaper of 4th October 2020. The article provides an account of the pioneering work on the Peoples’ Process in Sri Lanka that dates back to the 1950s.

The scanned Sunday Times article is available at WHD paper article by Chanaka Talpahewa

Sunday Times online edition article is available

The web article of the piece that appeared in the Sunday Times is available at Towards ‘housing for all’ through peoples’ participatory process