Updated BasHICs document: Restoring Human Rights and Habitat to the Habitat III Process and New Habitat Agenda

Habitat International Coalition (HIC) has consistently called for the integrity of the Habitat II (Istanbul, 1996) commitments and modalities, especially as the world advances toward Habitat III (the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development).

This requires:

• Upholding the Habitat II-established principle to be as inclusive as possible;

• Maintaining the Habitat Agenda, not pursuing a narrower « urban agenda”;

• Ensuring that human rights and good governance approaches continue to anchor and guide global human settlement policy and corresponding commitments.

The various Habitat III preparations, reporting and deliberation processes and contents officially have avoided (1) a faithful evaluation of commitments made at Habitat II; (2) a review of housing rights and good-governance practices consistent with those essential aspects of the Habitat II promise, while taking into consideration the lessons learned and conceptual clarity gained since Habitat II; and (3) realistic preparation for the emerging human settlement-development challenges that light the way toward improving « balanced rural and urban development,” as pledged since Habitat I (Vancouver, 1976).

No programme, campaign, or periodic report of UN-Habitat or the United Nations (UN) Secretary General so far has reviewed or evaluated the commitments of Habitat II, and the UN-Habitat-proffered national Habitat III reporting guidelines deliberately omitted these essentials. By design, the Habitat III process has missed the opportunity to assess the Habitat Agenda’s strengths and weaknesses, or consider the relevant norms that have developed over the past 20 years. Instead, a willful amnesia about the holistic Habitat Agenda and an exclusively « urban” focus have prevailed, dividing and alienating constituencies, while culling them in favor of a narrower set of interests. The spirit of Vancouver and the achievements of Istanbul are now at stake.

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