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Statement by social organizations on the third United Nations Conference on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development (Habitat III) under the 2014 World Habitat Day

Plenaria FSUAP (Medellin 06 – 09 04 2014)

Plenaria FSUAP (Medellin 06 – 09 04 2014)

Text signed by 137 networks, civil society movements, universities and individuals from 31 countries.

Declaration - Updated version on October 21, 2014

Marcha -Carnaval FSUAP (Medellin, 08 04 2014)

Marcha -Carnaval FSUAP (Medellin, 08 04 2014)

The General Assembly of the United Nations announced 2016 as the year to host the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, also known as Habitat III. Habitat III's first preparatory meeting was held in New York in September 2014.

For civil society organizations internationally, this conference means the possibility of a New Habitat Agenda, not only a New Urban Agenda. It should consider both rural and urban areas as one continuous territory, while focusing on the realization of the right to adequate housing and habitat.

It will also identify international standards to promote: first, the right to the city, land, and territory; second, quality transportation for safe and inclusive urban mobility; third, environmentally-friendly usage and production of energy, and lastly, a sense of community.

In 1976, the Habitat I Conference in Vancouver adopted the Declaration on Human Settlements. Although the Conference occurred during a period of rapid urbanization, the participants never lost sight of the rural-urban relationship. The Habitat II Conference in Istanbul in 1996 also achieved significant advances regarding the right to housing in the Habitat Agenda, due largely to civil society participation.

Despite these achievements, we cannot ignore the current processes of speculative urban developments, financialisation of housing, property and mortgages, as well as land grabbing witnessed around the world. These processes often violate basic human rights and lead to sprawl of cities and social segregation with serious impact on human lives, nature and territories. Moreover, it violates the right of all people to live in peace, dignity and safety without discrimination.

For our organizations, the symbiotic relationship between rural and urban areas cannot be ignored. The policies of recent decades have sought to weaken rural areas and empty their populations in favor of big agribusiness, often promoted by multinational corporations. This has allowed cities to grow at the expense of rural land. We disagree with the hegemonic model of development from which these policies are derived; they are the cause of the seizure of territories of indigenous peoples and peasants, as well as the destruction of their habitat and sources of income. These policies have also increased criminal violence that provokes mass migrations, increased poverty, and a loss of cultural and community practices. All this makes life difficult for those not concentrated in the cities.

These dire consequences require that the discussions, proposals and resolutions of Habitat III focus primarily on human rights and the state obligations which result from them. Alternative proposals from grassroots and civil society organizations should be considered in Habitat III, such as:

  • The evaluation of the implementation of the Habitat II Agenda and its corresponding Global Plan of Action;
  • The promotion of measures to overcome inequalities, discrimination, segregation and lack of opportunity to habitat and adequate living conditions in both the city and country;
  • The development of proposals to create tools for: participatory planning and budgeting, institutional support for the social production of habitat, democratization of territorial management areas, citizen control, coordination with planning actors of the public sector, habitat production and management, as well as the recognition of the social function of property.

All this, among other things, is made explicit and developed in the framework of the Right to the City that endorses struggles, experiences and expectations of urban residents as subjects of law.

At the same time, HABITAT III should encourage measures that promote responsible production and consumption, avoiding distortions of the "green economy". In the new agenda, there must be tools to prevent and compensate for human rights violations related to habitat, particularly the dispossession of territories, evictions and forced displacement of populations caused by megaprojects and infrastructure works. It should also emphasize the enforcement of existing rules which guarantee these rights that states ignore or distort systematically (disregard toward the right to consultation and free consent, absence of public demonstrations, evaluation of social impacts, and abuse of the concept of public utility among others). Finally, in HABITAT III, beyond the plan to construct resilient cities, measures must be designed to address the root causes of environmental degradation and climate change. These measures question the economic development models that are based on unlimited growth, which rarely take into account social and cultural factors.

None of this will be possible if, in HABITAT III, civil society does not participate equally with respect to the other actors. This is especially important for issues such as representation in national committees, access to information, and the inclusion of their concerns and proposals on national and international debates throughout the process. In order to guarantee social participation in Habitat III, methods must be produced to facilitate appropriate conditions in the planning, during, and after the conference. All must have access to information and logistical support for all social proposals during each phase of the process. It is important to note that social participation must reflect gender equity, facilitation of various age groups, inclusion of people with disabilities, and representatives of indigenous peoples, with respect for their customs.

It is essential that the new Habitat Agenda include the participation of social movements and civil society organizations. It should address the diversity of interests and practices. Therefore, we demand that this international effort recognizes innovations by the popular sector, which frequently faces opposition and even criminalization, in order to achieve more just, democratic and sustainable cities in which human rights are fulfilled. We wish to build another possible city and another possible world.

The City is a Right, not a commodity!

Housing is a Right, not a commodity!

The territory is a Right, not a commodity!

October 6, 2014

On October 21 2014, the statement has already been signed by 137 networks, civil society movements, universities and individuals from 31 countries 

National, regional organizations and individuals



Murielle Mignot, consultant in development and ESCR 



Asociación Civil Madre Tierra

Asociación Civil UN TECHO para mi Hermano

Centro de Estudios Urbanos y Regionales (CEUR-CONICET)

Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo Institucional (CIDI)

Centro de Intercambio y Servicios para el Cono Sur (CISCSA)

Federación de Tierra y Vivienda (FTV)

Fundación Equipo de Arquitectura de Servicio y Acción Social –Organización Técnica de Apoyo (EDAS-OTA)

Habitar Argentina "Iniciativa Multisectorial por el Derecho a la Tierra, a la Vivienda y al Hábitat

Instituto Internacional de Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo (IIED América Latina) Individuals

Fabiana Villafañe

Virginia Miranda Gassull, CONICET scholarship holder 


ONG Bethesda



Comité Articulador de Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ayuda Mutua de Bolivia (CACVAM)

Construyendo Comunidades

Foro Permanente de la Vivienda (FOPEVI)

Fundación Prohábitat

Red Hábitat

Red de Mujeres Líderes Barriales (RMLB)

Red Nacional de Asentamiento Humanos (RENASEH)


Jancarla Loayza M.


Centro de Estudos, Articulação e Referência sobre Assentamentos Humanos (CEARAH) Instituto Pólis

Plataforma de Derechos Humanos - Dhesca 

Terra de Direitos

União dos Movimentos de Moradia de São Paulo

União Nacional por Moradia Popular


Développement et des Droits de l'Homme au Cameroun (GICAR-CAM)



Asociación Chilena de Barrios y Zonas Patrimoniales

Biorecontruyendo Valparaiso

Centro Bicicultura

Corporación de Estudios Sociales SUR

TECHO Latinoamérica 

Fundación Vivienda

Hábitat para la Humanidad- Chile

Movimiento Nacional por la Reconstrucción Justa

Vecinos por la Defensa del Barrio Yungai

Vicaria de Pastoral Social y de los trabajadores, Arzobispado de Santiago Individuals

Ana Sugranyes, architect

Richards Yeremayar González Andana, student in astronomy



Congreso de los Pueblos

Corporación Región

Grupo de Investigación "Procesos Urbanos en hábitat, vivienda e informalidad",

Universidad Nacional de Colombia, sede Bogotá 

Poder y Unidad Popular


Paula Ramírez, specialist in local environment management

Costa Rica

Fundación Promotora de Vivienda (FUPROVI)

Dominican Republic

Cooperativa de Producción Social de la Vivienda y el Hábitat


Somos Ecuador

El Salvador

Fundación Salvadoreña de Desarrollo y Vivienda Mínima (FUNDASAL)


The Egyptian Center for Right to City


Apoyo Urbano/Appui urbain


Habitat en Mouvement 


Tenant Resources and Advisory Centre - TRAC


Asociación Servicios a Programas de Desarrollo e Investigación (ASOSEPRODI)

Federación de Organizaciones para el Desarrollo del Hábitat Popular (FODHAP)

Instituto para el Desarrollo Económico  Social de América Central (IDESAC) Servicios Jurídicos y Sociales (SERJUS) 


Arab Association for Human Rights - HRA


Asian Bridge


Association Malienne pour la Sauvegarde du Bien-être Familial (AMASBIF) Coopérative Féminine pour la Protection de l'Environnement (CO.FE.P.E)



Asamblea de Barrios Santa María de la Rivera Barzón de la Ciudad de México

Casa y Ciudad A.C.

Centro Operacional de Vivienda y Poblamiento, A.C. (COPEVI)

Centro de Estudios Sociales y Culturales Antonio de Montesinos (CAM)

Central Unitaria de los Trabajadores (CUT)

Coalición de Colonias Unidas de Oaxaca

Coalición Internacional para el Hábitat, Oficina para América Latina (HIC-AL) Colectivo de Ciudadanos de Iztapalapa en Defensa de la Energía Eléctrica Comisión Mexicana de Defensa y Promoción de los Derechos Humanos, A.C.

Comité Lucha Popular (CLP)

Consejo de Asentamientos Sustentables de las Américas

Consejo de defensa de la vivienda

Consultoría Especializada en Justiciabilidad de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y

Culturales (CEJUDESC)

Consultoría Urbana y Arquitectónica 

Cooperación Comunitaria CCONG México, A.C. Coordinadora Popular de Madres Educadoras (COPOME) DECA Equipo Pueblo, A.C.

Desarrollo Integral comunitario de Iztacalco AC 

Espacio de organizaciones civiles sobre derechos económicos, sociales y culturales (Espacio DESC)

FIAN México

Fomento Solidario de la Vivienda A.C. (FOSOVI)

Frente Popular Francisco Villa México Siglo XXI

Frente del Pueblo (Resistencia Organizada)

Hábitat para la Humanidad-México

Hábitat, Participación y Género (Lahas) de la Facultad de Arquitectura de la UNAM

Instituto Mexicano para el Desarrollo Comunitario AC (IMDEC)

La Asamblea Veracruzana de Iniciativas en Defensa del  Agua y del Ambiente (LA VIDA)

Las Camelias de Ermita A.C.

Movimiento Urbano Popular de la Convención Nacional Democrática (MUP-CND)  Ocupa Tu Ciudad A.C.


Organización Independiente de la zona de Tlahúac-Movimiento Proletario

Independiente (OIZT-MPI)

Organización Nacional del Poder Popular Chiapas ONPP-Chiapas

Patria Nueva

Programa Mesoamérica del Instituto de Derechos Humanos Ignacio Ellacuría S.J. de la Universidad Iberoamericana de Puebla.

Regional sureste de la red de producción social de vivienda 

Sociedad Organizada en Lucha (SOL)

Unión de Colonias Populares (UCP)

Unión de Colonias Populares del Tepeyac A.C.

Unión de Colonos de San Miguel Teotongo A.C.

Unión de Colonos, Inquilinos y Solicitantes de Vivienda del Estado de Veracruz


Unión Popular Francisco Villa A.C.

Unión Popular Valle Gómez

Unión Popular Revolucionaria Emiliano Zapata (UPREZ)

Vecinos en Defensa del Parque Reforma Social

Vecinos Justo Sierra 27


Adelina González Marín, master in rural development

Alejandro López Ángeles

Federico Bolaños

Sergio Gallegos Nieto


Arab Center for Agricultural Development (ACAD)

Land Research Center 

Popular Development Center (PDC)


Sewa Development Trust Sindh



Centro de Estudios y Promoción del Desarrollo (DESCO)

Centro de Investigación, Documentación y Asesoría Poblacional (CIDAP)

Instituto de Desarrollo Urbano (CENCA)


Angélica Nagy Román, architect


Kalipunan Ng Damayang Mahihirap, National Alliance of Urban Poor Organizations



Associació Catalana d'Enginyeria Sense Fronteres (ESF)


Federación Iberoamericana de Urbanistas


José Antonio Llurba 


Center for Environment and Social Development

South Africa

School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand





Batur Talu, media consultant, "Touch the Life Association" 

United States of America

International Accountability Project

Metro Atlanta Task Force for the Homeless

National Alliance of HUD Tenants

National Coalition for the Homeless


Federación Uruguaya de Cooperativas de Vivienda por Ayuda Mutua (FUCVAM)

International Organizations

Habitat International Coalition (HIC)

International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI)


Click here  to download the Declaration
Click here   to know the subscribers to the Declaration


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