The meeting, “Cities for the Right to Housing”, was
hosted by UCLG Co-President and Mayor of Barcelona, Ada
Colau and the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion,
Participatory Democracy and Human Rights (CISDP). It was held in the framework
of UCLG’s “wave of action” on housing for 2017-2018.
On 2 November,
housing policy experts met to assess current housing trends in each continent
and share policy recommendations in the areas of multi-level governance,
territorial inclusion and financing. Some of the key policy proposals discussed
at the meeting included new thinking to close gap between housing costs and
capacity to pay of people and engaging people through compelling local examples
and city networking.
The results of the
expert meeting will serve as inputs to UCLG’s Fifth Global
Report on Local Democracy and Decentralization (GOLD V)
which will contribute to UCLG’s reporting on SDG 11 to the High Level
Political Forum in July 2018.
On 3 November, UCLG
Tau, Mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, UN Special
Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, Leilani Farha, and Lorena
Zárate of Habitat International Coalition participated in
the public event “Cities for the Right to Housing” at
Barcelona City Hall.
Ada Colau highlighted Barcelona’s commitment to the right to housing as part
of the right to the city, saying that housing was one of the main challenges
faced by the city. Mayor Colau put particular emphasis on the international
nature of the issue, pointing out that “investment funds are buying buildings
and housing to speculate with in all global cities”.
Parks Tau underlined that UCLG’s Bogotá Commitment
includes the right to housing, and explained that the issue will be a priority
for the organization for the 2017-2018 period. He argued that “to defend
the right to housing we must also defend increased decentralization and local
financing” because “too often, local goverments with the political will to
achieve the #Right2Housing lack the tools to do so“.
For her part, Leilani
Farha, explained the Make The Shift campaign, and the
importance of challenging the commodification of housing, saying “housing
has become a tool for profit, it’s lost its meaning as home, a place to raise a
family. “The Rapporteur said that “local governments,
thanks to their proximity to citizens, have a crucial role to play in realising
the right to housing”.
Lorena Zárate contributed the perspective of civil society, putting
particular emphasis on the need to denounce the criminalization of homelessness.
She called for “multi-stakeholder
action” to guarantee decent housing for all.
Director of Urban Planning of Montevideo, Silvana Pissano, and
the Vice President of Housing and Habitat of Plaine Commune, David
Proult, expressed the enthusiasm of their cities to take the
lead in driving forward the right to housing agenda within UCLG alongside
The public event
was followed by a policy roundtable at which David
Satterthwaite of the IIED and the former UN Rapporteur on
Adequate Housing, Miloon Kothari presented the results
of the previous day’s expert meeting, and locally elected leaders discussed the
roadmap for Make the Shift going forward.
Finally, David Bravo from Barcelona City Hall presented
the Barcelona Manifesto as a contribution to the debates
within UCLG. The text, which is open to inputs from UCLG members, lays out ten
proposed commitments for local governments in the area of housing, along with a
number of concrete tools and policy instruments that can serve to combat evictions,
gentrification and homelessness in cities.
The manifesto also calls for decentralization of powers and competencies to
local governments, increased inter-municipal, metropolitan and regional
coordination, and collaboration through international networks of local
governments to exchange practices and advocate for the right to housing at
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