Session 3 Learning dialogues: Advancing the Right to the City in Africa, Commoning as a Tool for Transformative Collective Action

Session 3: Fostering commoning and Right to the City: Enabling environments and partnerships

How to build and enlarge a community of commoners? What roles can public-community partnerships play in addressing shared and diverse challenges? How do these dynamics feature and differ in the diverse social, political and economic contexts of Sub-Saharan Africa?

Participatory methodology including roundtable conversations with representatives of different sectors.

Date: Monday, May 13, 17h – 19h SAST (check your local time here).

Session structure:


Section Description Responsible Duration
Opening Welcome and general introduction

Main takeaways from the previous sessions + session structure

Diana Wachira, HIC 12 minutes
First Roundtable  What is the relevance of public-community partnerships for advancing housing and land rights? Possibilities and challenges of public-community collaboration with a particular focus on land, housing and basic services:

    • Manuel de Araújo, Mayor of Quelimane, Mozambique
  • How do you envision public-community partnerships in your city? What is their relevance for advancing housing and land rights?
    • Emilia Saiz, Secretary General, United Cities and Local Governments
  • What is UCLG’s vision for public-community partnerships? What is the relevance of this model for advancing housing and land rights at the local level?

Ambassador Dr. Mohamed Higazy, Director of North Africa Regional Office, UCLG-Africa

25 minutes
Second Roundtable  The role of different actors in promoting, protecting and fostering commoning initiatives: lessons learnt and key recommendations.

  • Charles Omollo, Deputy City Manager, Kisumu County
  • Gail Eddy, Human Settlements Policy and Research, City of Cape Town
  • Razafimandimby Pierre Eugéne Fideèle, Directeur Technique, Commune Urbaine d’Antsirabe, Madagascar
  • Bevil Lucas, Cissie Gool House
  • Suraya Scheba, Environmental & Geographical Sciences Department, University of Cape Town

How do you conceive public-community collaboration from a local perspective? What are pathways for advancing those in relation to housing and land?

Lorena Zárate, GPR2C 35 minutes
Plenary debate Collective discussion based on presentations and comments, complemented by some guiding questions:

  • Other examples of public-community collaboration: conditions, impacts and benefits;
  • What kind of regulatory, financial and policy mechanisms are needed to protect and foster commoning initiatives?
  • How to build trust and conditions for productive and sustained dialogue and action?
All participants

Moderator: Yolande Hendler, HIC 

25 minutes
Takeaways  and next-steps Sum-up some of the main points of the session + next steps 7 & potential for follow-up Desmond Chieshe, HIC 10 minutes

Why are commoning initiatives a solution to the challenges faced by cities in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Cities and human settlements in Sub-Saharan Africa face profound challenges stemming from rapid urbanization, socio-economic disparities, and spatial injustices. Increased privatization and commodification of housing and land, exponentiated by a background of colonial and/or apartheid spatial planning and regulations, lead to evictions and displacement, especially among communities living in situations of socio-economic and spatial marginalisation. However, amidst these challenges, commoning initiatives, with a right to the city approach, represent not only a direct response to this scenario, but also a radical alternative to the systems in place.

Commoning represents a form of organization for social wellbeing, differentiated both from private and public models, committed to the non-commodification (non-privatization) and collective management of vital resources such as housing, land and basic services. These initiatives, often driven by civil society groups and grassroots movements, seek to reclaim public spaces, challenge profit-driven development, and foster community-driven solutions, offering a pathway towards socio-spatial justice and democratic governance. Through collaborative efforts and dialogue between local actors and global networks, commoning initiatives hold the potential to empower communities, address inequalities, and build more inclusive and sustainable urban environments across  Sub-Saharan Africa.

To find out more info about the rest of the sessions of the series of dialogues, click here.

Please, ensure your participation by filling this registration form.

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