Minutes of the 2016 General Assembly

Welcome speech of HIC President, Wisdom Keepers and Secretary:

Lorena Zárate, HIC President declares it is a great pleasure to be here today and thanks participants for their efforts. She states that this Assembly is unprecedented for several reasons, and that we will look both towards the future and back to the past. We will look back to remember and learn about our history, and to feel proud of it. Throughout the Habitat III preparatory process, there has been a significant lack of institutional memory at all levels. As HIC members, a network founded 40 years ago, we have the huge responsibility of reminding governments about the more progressive commitments they made back then, 40 years ago. We will also look towards the future because HIC exists not only because of those UN conferences. Our mobilization and policy impact processes are still running and we must continue training the new generations. This space in the Assembly is a meeting point and also a space for intergenerational learning.

Enrique Ortiz, Wisdom Keeper agrees with the President that it is a great pleasure to be here, surrounded by so many familiar faces and companions in the struggle. This assembly is an opportunity to remember and to continue transforming. This is only a stopover in the process. We started out in the 60s and had already been working many
years prior to Vancouver. We went there full of energy and met many people who were working on the same causes. We built a solid group and it was very interesting.

HIC has historical memory and it is surprising to see that what governments are suggesting now represents a significant step back. More forward-thinking agreements were
reached at Habitat I, including the social function of land and property, land value capture, cooperatives, etc. (See From Vancouver 1976 to Vancouver 2006 at: http://www.hic-gs.org/content/24%205%20English%20final_Vancouver_1976-2006.pdf)

Einstein said “Don’t ask those who have created the problems to solve them”. The ball is in our court, comrades.

Ana Sugranyes, Wisdom Keeper says that seeing so many familiar faces is a step forward. HIC continues to work over the years. Forty years are nothing. What about the next 40 years? We must continue working, because processes are slow. Every 20 years there is a new agenda, but we must return to our old goals to achieve the right to housing and
the right to the city.

Barry Pinsky, Wisdom Keeper explains that he was in Vancouver, in Habitat I, as a housing activist in Canada and that he currently represents Rooftops Canada, a HIC member.

He first came into contact with HIC in 1986. At the beginning, HIC was a Habitat International Council, mainly European, of the global North. In 1997 it became a global
coalition, with its Secretariat in the South.

Habitat II was inclusive, so alternative forums were unnecessary. Setting up the International Facilitating Group for social organizations was a long process. HIC worked very
hard for the right to housing, which appeared 61 times in the agenda. We contributed to gender equality in housing, and gender issues were included across the agenda. He affirms that he will keep working to include Canadian movements within HIC.

Álvaro Puertas, HIC Secretary-General welcomes everyone. The most important part of HIC rest upon its members. There is no coalition without you. Your voices will be heard in this Assembly. Work starts at a local level and then goes to the global and Habitat III is a good opportunity for that. Today’s event is divided into two blocks: the General
Assembly and the celebration of HIC’s 40th anniversary. Many thanks to Marie and Isabel, from the secretariat team, for their work.


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