Habitat International Coalition
Global network for the right to habitat and social justice
Invitation to Participate in the Habitat III Processes on the Occasion of World's Habitat Day 2015
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Source: Habitat International Coalition

HIC continues to fight for the basic principles that must be taken into account in the preparations for the Third United Nation's Housing and Sustainable Urban Development Conference (Habitat III) to take place in Quito in October 2016. These basic and inter-related principles include:

1. A comprehensive evaluation of the commitments made at Habitat II (1996);

2. Human rights and democratic governance approaches must continue to anchor and guide global human settlement policy and corresponding commitments;

3. A Habitat Agenda that ensures balanced rural and urban development for all, as agreed at Habitat I (1976), and not only UN-Habitat’s own "urban” agenda in Habitat III (2016).

4. An open process that encourages and ensures the participation of everyone, ensuring a proper representation of all constituencies.

One year before the Conference, HIC observes with serious concerns how the process toward Habitat III is speeding up without taking the necessary corrective measures regarding participation and content. The official process continues to advance without the needed participation of all Habitat Agenda Partners. HIC's Members, Friends and Allies have denounced globally the opacity of the national processes, the low representation of National Habitat Committees and the weakened participation of civil society actors in the drafting of National Reports that will serve—if they exist—as the basis for the Regional Reports and as a reference for the new Agenda. With a few exceptions, these processes have been closed and their content does not reflect the views and proposals of the vast majority of civil society, while organizers have developed no methodology for the engagement of civil society.

At the same time, and unless proper measures are taken, the Agenda resulting from Habitat III runs the risk of the Habitat II Agenda’s fate: being lauded one day and round filed the day after. Not much, if anything, has been done to evaluate the implementation of the Habitat II Agenda, and it remains to be seen what will be the mechanisms and indicators for monitoring and evaluating the new Agenda’s implementation, in close relation to the recently approved Sustainable Development Goals (Development Agenda 2030).

Consistent with SDGs 1, 2, 5, 11 and 16, we call for a new Habitat Agenda to emphasize the equitable use of the land, which binds all stakeholders, in particular ensuring its social function in favor of needy, dispossessed and marginalized groups, not least of whom include women, indigenous peoples, small-scale farmers and tenure-insecure communities. The Habitat II Agenda also ensured the optimal use of productive rural and urban land, while preserving our common environment. Despite the Habitat II Agenda enshrining repeated commitments to these principles, no party has assumed responsibility for their coordinated implementation over the past 20 years. That omission has accompanied the continuous violation of the human rights resulting from land deprivation, as verified by data captured in the HIC Housing and Land Rights Network’s Violation Database.

In light of this situation and considering the absence of any corrective measures in the Habitat III process to date, HIC's Members, Friends and Allies are organizing a series of processes alternative to the official one, including (1) the creation of popular committees and the organization of national and regional parallel events in different countries and opened to the participation of everyone; (2) the drafting of National and Regional Parallel Reports, summarizing the analysis, demands, expectations and proposals from divers civil society Actors, as well as evaluating Habitat II Agenda performance; and (3) the celebration of a Urban Social Forum parallel to Habitat III; i.e., an open and inclusive forum for discussion and coordination of struggles and experiences growing in all corners of the planet. These efforts coincide with HIC’s 40th anniversary of its founding in the Habitat I process of 1976.

We invite everyone to join these actions. Together we will have a stronger voice. Habitat international Coalition demands that people be at the core of the new Agenda, an Agenda for all that guarantees democratic, fair and sustainable cities and territories.

For more information:

Link to HLRN’s Habitat III Archive

Link to HIC General Secretariat page

Link to HIC’s Habitat III blog.

Link to actions from Members and Friends in the frame of the WHD.

Get involved: gs@hic-net.org

* Click here to download the invitation.

• Habitat Day   

Habitat International Coalition
General Secretariat