Johannesburg and the success of Inhabitants’ Associations organized for Quito
The International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI) organized the session “Inhabitants Associations and Local Authorities towards Quito ” (Johannesburg 30/11/15) in order to establish Africities VII as a springboard towards the UN conference Habitat III and, to the World Urban Social Forum, both of which will take place in Ecuador in October 2016. It was a true success both in terms of participation (150 participants from 25 African countries, Europe and Latin America) and in terms of content. The political impact was emphasised by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-A) ’s adoption of the recommendation of establishing follow-up committees. The African Network of Inhabitants is prepared to do its utmost in order to guarantee the implementation of alternative urban and housing policies.
This success is not only due to the work of Mike Davies, IAI Coordinator for Anglophone Africa and his team, but also to the IAI delegation and other inhabitants’ networks and organisations that have participated and collaborated in this, such as: Mauritania, represented by the Mayor of Tevragh Zena; Fatimatou Abdelmalek, who chaired the first part of the session, and Brazil, represented by the Polis Institute in form of the moderator Nelson Saule. We must not forget the contribution of, among others, Abahlali and SERI of South Africa, Spaces for Change from Nigeria, UACDDD-Novox of Mali, the Moroccan Network for Adequate Housing from Morocco, the Amandla Centre and the Homeless People’s Federation of Zimbabwe, Slum/Shack Dwellers International, Muthurwa Residents, Bunge La Mwananchi, Kiambiu Kenyan Youth, the RNHC of Cameroun, the Tunisian, Senegalese and Burundi IAI Coordination, as well as other representatives from Europe and from the Global Platform for the Right to the City.
The IAI has a “bottom-up” approach, since it is a global network of grassroots organisations that support citizens’ participation in political processes. It does this by educating them and giving them the means to engage themselves, all the while being informed and responsible so as to avoid the consequences of the reactive politics that are in the process of destroying the stability and harmony of society. The session was therefore a platform to support independent voices and construct an alliance with progressive authorities and institutions, not only for local claims, but also for the implementation of appropriate policies for the right to the city and urbanised villages, alternative to those based on neoliberalism.
The people are the constructors of their cities and towns. Consequently, they have the right to improve working-class areas, including shanty towns, using these policies that will allow them to develop their environment in keeping with their rights and needs, guaranteeing “zero evictions” and the housing of millions of inhabitants in dignity and in harmony between the city and the countryside. This will have direct consequences, essential in order to promote participation and popular governance in the day-to-day running of their city.
The second part of the session focused on the proofreading and evaluation of the recommendations of Africities VI, which took place in Dakar in 2012, and also on the identification of ways to promote policies alternative to neoliberalism in our cities.
This was followed by the invitation of Yves Cabannes, Coordinator of the International Tribunal on Evictions (ITE), to all committed organisations, associations, representatives of civil society and activists, to meet and prepare together the 5th International Tribunal on Evictions. The ITE is one of the main components of the World Urban Social Form, which will take place in parallel to the United Nations conference “Habitat III.” Yves Cabannes particularly urged the above mentioned bodies to fill in the webform online to submit cases of eviction to the ITE.
In conclusion, the success of the session is particularly confirmed by the adoption, on the part of the Political Committee of the UCGLA (United Cities and Local Governments of Africa), of the recommendation calling for the creation of follow-up committees in each country, in order to effectively put into practice the resolutions contained within the proposals of Africities. The mobilization and struggles of organised inhabitants will allow this important tool to be implemented at both a local and regional level, particularly as a result of the African Network of Inhabitants, which emerged strengthened from Johannesburg. This mobilization should be the guarantee that Africities VIII Brazzaville RDC 2018 will show real progress in solving problems of housing and urbanisation.
This is an important tool that the mobilisation and struggles of organised inhabitants will be able to implement at both a local and regional level, particularly as a result of the African Network of Inhabitants, that emerged strengthened from Johannesburg.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE INHABITANTS SESSION AT AFRICITIES VII
Session “Habitants Associations and Local Communities towards Quito” Africities VII
We, the undersigned organisers respectfully agree to the following resolution developed by the participants of the session “Habitants Associations and Local Communities towards Quito” for consideration at the political Summit session and adoption within the operational program of the CGLU-A
- The resolutions presented in 2012 during Africities VI were not widely adopted by governments
- Local inhabitants’ organisations were committed to the development of an inclusive network of organisations, to protect the interests of the poor and the marginalised in both urban and non-urban populations in Africa through an petition for appropriate local administration policies, particularly as regards housing and shelter
We submit the following recommendations to:
The Mayors and Local Communities of Africa
- To accelerate the acceptance and implementation of the resolutions contained within the proposals of Africities VI by creating follow-up committees to monitor these recommendations in each country.
- To promote constructive engagement with communities through inhabitants’ associations that integrate them in the decision making process
- To recognise that urban and community housing must be inclusive in order to develop our towns, both urban and rural
National Governments of Africa
- To develop pro-poor strategies to eliminate homelessness and substandard housing
- To promote and implement community projects in urban and rural zones
- To ensure that local authorities and governments have the capacity and necessary resources to fulfil their obligations of guaranteeing the right to adequate housing for all
International Development Partners
- To provide resources, including political support, in order to promote dialogue between inhabitants’ associations and local authorities
- To develop methodologies to promote an approach that integrates rural issues/an integrated approach to rural issues
- To guarantee the participation of local communities during the implementation of projects
The Volunteer translator for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who has collaborated on the translation of this text was: