Welcome speech of HIC President, Wisdom Keepers and Secretary:
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.
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
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,
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.
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.
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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