The African representative of HIC’s Board Dr. Mrs Ifeyinwa Ofong and Habitat International Coalition General Secretariat organized a side event entitled “Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion: Housing and evictions, Extractive Industries and land grabbing” in the framework of the United Nations 57th Session of the Commission for Social Development.
The event analyzed human rights violations related to housing and land, in particular forced evictions. Through the participants remarks, the session explored the community ownership of land and housing cooperatives as an alternative to the private ownership of land and
housing. HIC shared the Declaration on Human Rights Day, as well as the Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement: Stop the Evictions in Zimbabwe.
Please click in the following links to read the interventions of the speakers:
- Jane Godia Remarks
- Sanjee Singh Presentation
- Emmanuelle Opeyemi Adebayo Intervention
- Closing Remarks Ifeyinwa Ofong
HIC side event generated a strong interest among the member states, the CSOs and even the UN. The presentations showed that addressing inequalities and the challenges to social inclusion can actually reduce the problems of housing and shelter, as well as the human rights violations related to forced evictions, which have led to poverty and homelessness in most cases.
The negative impacts of extractive and mining industries were also discussed, including but not limited to how operators have taken over community land and resources; the eviction of settlers; and the diversion of profits which should improve the well-being of the people.
The session also addressed the Right to the City and how this can be achieved in and around the cities in developing countries, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America regions, despite high levels of inequality and social exclusion . The concern about Women’s Rights to the City was also highlighted and how cities can be gender friendly and safe for women. Women need to be part of the decision
making and governance structures in cities. Social facilities and amenities should be gender friendly, accessible and affordable to all women.
The 57th Commission for Social Development in New York
The HIC team attended the 57th Session from the 11 th to 21 st of February 2019, a great opportunity to engage with other civil society organizations, member states and the UN member states and the UN on the priorities of the commission.
On the last day of the Commission, being 21 st February, the Commission ended the session by adopting three draft resolutions which will be sent to the Economic and Social Council for adoption — including one focused on harnessing the potential of tax policies, wage floors and safety nets to combat inequality. The Council would stress that the benefits of social growth should be inclusive and distributed more equitably to close gaps and avoid deepening inequality.
In addition, it these resolutions will encourage Member states to combat discrimination and social exclusion; to promote affordable and equitable access to basic services; to use good public spending policies to ensure universal health care; and as well as ensure active labor policies to provide decent work for all and a fair share of productivity for workers. They are also expected to expand social protection to
all people, despite limited fiscal resources.
The commission also approved:
- The Draft Resolution on Youths, saying that youths remain an important global instrument. Member States were urged to ensure that youth issues are adequately addressed in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda, linking inequality to youth unemployment.
- A draft resolution on the social dimensions of the New Partnership for Africa Development, which emphasizes the importance of promoting the integrated and coordinated implementation, monitoring and reporting of the 2030 Agenda as well as the African Union’s agenda 2064 through joint activities and program.
The 58th session of the Commission was declared opened as soon the 57th session was closed. The priority theme for the 58th Session of the Commission will be “Affordable housing and social protection system for all to address homelessness”. The dates will be announced within the year.