Political Declaration - People’s Alternative Urban Social Forum. Let’s build cities for a life of dignity!
We, men and women who inhabit urban areas, are in Medellin, Colombia for the People’s Alternative Urban Social Forum taking place from 6 to 9 April 2014. More than 2,500 people are taking part in the Forum, representing social, community and political organizations as well as trade unions from every region of Colombia and from 30 countries around the world. The Forum’s objectives were met thanks to the direct and diverse participation of those involved. We discussed both the present state of cities and their future; we shared our experiences of resistance; and we agreed on joint actions of cooperation and struggle.
We denounce the current neoliberal model of urban development as proposed by the Manifesto for Cities – the basis for the UN Summit Habitat III in 2016 - as it is exclusive, anti-democratic, unsustainable and harmful for the planet and for humanity. The majority of our cities are designed and governed in the interests of big business. Currently, more than one billion, two hundred million people in the world have neither housing nor a decent living environment. In Colombia, more than 13 million people are deprived of their fundamental human right to drinking water and basic sanitation. The markets, mafia organizations, large national and multinational investors, housing and financial institutions, and networks of state corruption have brought about a deep-seated urban crisis. This has led to the marginalization of those who have less and who are more vulnerable, the destruction of ecosystems, and the negation of any possibility of democracy and living a good life.
The Forum is promoting national cooperation between urban organizations and unity with the worldwide alternative urban movement. This action follows other campaigning and unifying events: on an international level, the 2013 World Assembly of Inhabitants, as well as Colombian Social Movements, such as the Agrarian Summit. The rural and the urban are united in confronting the country’s problems, which are characterized by the concentration of land ownership, the domestic production and environmental crisis, violence, inequality, and damage to the public sector. We call on Colombians to rally together during the National Agrarian and Popular Strike to demand respect for fundamental rights such as decent housing and accommodation, the minimum standard in public services for water and energy, suspension of the mining industry and a 50% reduction in the price of fuel. We support the proposals and demands resulting from the Right to the City round tables.
From Medellin, a city heavily affected by violence and inequality, we call on everybody to fight for the urban area that we deserve, and to immediately start implementing a city project based on redistribution of wealth, human rights, the environment, common goods, and the responsibility of inhabitants to be recognized creators and leaders of territories, and not just consumers/users.
We are committed to the struggle for Peace; we welcome its pursuit; and we contribute to it by building new cities for a life of dignity. We demand that states and governments at all levels respect the mandates originating from the views and the experiences represented at this Forum. We also invite all civil society to take part in pursuing these goals.
The People’s Alternative Urban Social Forum expresses its full solidarity with the struggle for the right to housing, to the land and to the city around the world and against the criminalization of those who campaign.
We call on all inhabitants’ organizations and social networks around the world to rally together around this open agenda, in order to strengthen the voice of inhabitants, as an alternative to the neoliberal approach of the Habitat III Summit, Istanbul 2016.
To meet all these challenges, we have set up the Transitory Coordination of Urban Movements and we are adopting the following plan:
- National Agrarian and Popular Strike: starting with events and preparations taking place in cities from 1 May, International Workers’ Day.
- “World Zero Evictions Days – For the Right to Housing” in October 2014.
- World Assembly of Inhabitants – WSF Tunis 2015.
Let’s build cities for a life of dignity!
We are building a National Urban Movement!
Let’s continue and build the Urban and Community Way!
Medellin, Colombia, April 2014
PEOPLE’S ALTERNATIVE URBAN SOCIAL FORUM
The Volunteer translators for housing rights without frontiers of IAI who have collaborated on the translation of this text were: