40 years ago, on June 11 1976, the United Nations ended its first
Conference on Human Settlements in Vancouver(Habitat I).It was the first time
the world community ever met to discuss the growing challenges of urbanization,
the accelerating human migration from rural to urban areas, urban problems
including clean water, sanitation, poverty and homelessness, as well as the
nascent field of sustainable urban design.
At the same time, non-governmental groups gathered at their own event, a
parallel people’s conference called Habitat Forum. A Committee was then formed
to help organize and coordinate the exceptional NGO input into this first
conference. After the conference, this committee recognized the need for
continued encouragement and support for NGOs to pressure governments and
international agencies to follow up the recommendations they had officially
endorsed at the 1976 conference. It also sought to represent NGO interests at
the new UN agency set up after this first conference (today’s UN Habitat).
HIC emerged from this initiative, first named Habitat International
Council and later Habitat International Coalition (Nairobi, 1987).During UN’s
Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, HIC took part in the NGO Global Forum,
with a focus on the Urbanization Forum, whose most important outcome was the
Treaty “Towards Just, Democratic and Sustainable Cities, Towns and
Villages”, negotiated among HIC, FCOC, and the Brazilian Urban Reform Forum and
signed by more than 140 organizations from throughout the word. In 1993, HIC
begun the preparatory process for the NGO forum at the second UN Conference on
Human Settlements in Istanbul in 1996 (the “UN City Summit”, Habitat II). A
fruitful debate among CSOs, community based organizations, social movements and
state delegations resulted in the defence of the Right to Housing in the
Habitat Agenda and the adoption of General Comment No. 4, on the Right to
Adequate Housing, among many other achievements.
40 years after Habitat I, HIC has spread worldwide, in 123 countries,
and with almost 400 members and is currently preparing its participation in the
United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat
III) that will take place in Quito, Ecuador.
Taking advantage of the presence of many Members, Friends and Allies at
Quito, HIC will hold its annual General Assembly there, on October 16th.
This represents the perfect occasion to celebrate HIC’s 40thanniversary
and review together our common memories and achievements from the last 40 years,
fighting for the rights related to Habitat and social justice.
We invite our Members, Friends and Allies to join HIC’s General Assembly (Sunday October 16, from 9:00 to 14:30 in the Hostal Solera, street Venezuela S1-23 and Rocafuerte, Quito),
the subsequent celebration of HIC’s 40th anniversary (Sunday October 16, from 15:00 to 18:00 in the Hostal Solera, street Venezuela S1-23 and Rocafuerte, Quito) and to share their
memories with the whole Coalition. Photos, testimonies, documents, publications
and more materials will be shared online and displayed during the General
Assembly, to be later compiled in a publication celebrating HIC’s 40 years of struggles
Happy 40th anniversary!
Coalition General Secretariat
memories to firstname.lastname@example.org
can also share your activities for HIII with the broader Coalition