HIC 2012 General Assembly Meeting Minutes

Naples, Italy, September 2, 2012

second part of the 2012 HIC General Assembly meeting took place in Naples,
Italy on September 2, 2012 (the first part took place in Rio de Janeiro in June
2012), before the Urban Social Forum 2 and World Urban Forum 6.


Welcome by HIC President, Lorena Zarate
are gathered people from around the world who are all fighting the same
struggles and who are all affected by the same problems. We were brought to
Naples for the Urban Social Forum which is particularly important because of
the current crisis in Europe. We are also here to participate in the World
Urban Forum (WUF) as we do every two years, and we should discuss what our
presence should be in this forum. It’s clear for us that UN-Habitat and its WUF
have become more neoliberal in their focus in recent years, and the WUF is now
a fair for businesses that are looking to invest in urban projects. This focus
is very far-removed from HIC’s objectives and we must discuss HIC’s strategy
and its relation to these forums.

2. Presentation of members
were 28 participants in the General Assembly, and 6 interpreters.

participants at the Assembly were (in alphabetical order): Yasser Abdel Qader (YA),
Marie Bailloux (MB), Jordi Borja (JB), Shelley Buckingham (SB),
Miquel Carrillo (MC), Shivani Chaudhry (SC), Ada Colau (AC),
Jennifer Duyne (JD), Silvia Emanuelli (SE), Rigoberto Fabelo (RF),
Claudia Gatti (CGa), Ramiro García (RG), Carmen Gonzalez (CGo),
Mickael Kane (MK), Rajaa Kassab (RK), Miloon Kothary (MK),
Davinder Lamba (DL), Paul Maquet (PM), Charlotte Mathivet (CM),
Alfredo Rodriguez (AR), Joseph Schechla (JS), Rita Silva (RS),
Peter Slits (PS), Ana Sugranyes (AS), Klaus Teschner (KT),
Marina Thia (MT), Pascale Thys (PT), Knut Unger (KU),
Vanesa Valiño (VV), Pedro Vazquez (PV), Rabie Wahba (RW),
Lorena Zarate (LZ).

members with the right to vote:

Organization and

with right to vote



Ramiro García

FUPROVI, Costa Rica

Carmen Gonzalez


NAHT, United States

Michael Kane

RWFAR, Morocco

Rajaa Kassab

Mazingira Institute,

Davinder Lamba


Paul Maquet

Corporación SUR, Chile

Alfredo Rodriguez


ASOCND, Argentina

Marina Thia

Habitat et Participation,

Pascale Thys

Habitat Netz, Germany

Knut Unger

Observatori DESC, Spain

Vanesa Valiño


Rigoberto Fabelo

FOSOVI, Mexico

Lorena Zárate

3. Quorum: There
are 15 members with the right to vote present at this meeting.

4. Approval
of minutes from the General Assembly meeting in Dakar, February 2011

Vote15 in favour. Minutes are

5. Approval
of the agenda for this General Assembly meeting
issues that will be reviewed in this meeting are: 1. the reports from the 6
groups that worked on various issues during the past few days before this
meeting, and: 2. the current HIC global evaluation process.

Vote: 15 in favour. Agenda is

6. Report
from working groups

6.1 Global
working group identified four ideas for global projects that could be
elaborated into funding proposals:

  • Women
    and Housing
    This project would be linked with the work of the former and current UN Special
    Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing and their recommendations from the
    regional consultations from 2002-2006 (Miloon Kothari) and 2011 (Raquel
    Rolnik). A proposal was already submitted to the European Commission in
    February 2012 however it was rejected. Nevertheless, a decision was made by the
    board in Rio de Janeiro to rework the proposal and continue the search for
    possible funding sources. The UN-Habitat Regional Office for Latin America and
    the Caribbean (ROLAC) is interested in discussion the future possibilities of a
    joint project with HIC around these themes, however HIC must decide if this
    would be a valuable partnership; there are other possible sponsors.

  • The
    impact of neoliberalism on the right to housing
    : This project would mainly tackle austerity
    measures (in Europe), and the global focus would be taken from examining the
    impacts of neoliberal policies on the right to housing and the right to the

  • Struggles
    against evictions
    Although many HIC members struggle against evictions, we need to make an
    inventory of who is working on these issues and what they are doing. Now that
    COHRE has ceased to exist, it is important for HIC to continue the work that
    they did on evictions, in alliance with other partners like Amnesty
    International who is now working heavily on this theme. Shivani and Miloon told
    us about a tool that they are developing which calculates the cost of an

  • The
    right to the city
    This theme is a central part of many HIC members’ work, but we need to
    articulate our experiences and knowledge in a global project. The collective
    dimension is what strengthens our struggles towards the implementation of the
    right to the city.

KT: It will be necessary to
clarify whether these projects are a sum of different projects, or if they are
global projects. This is especially important for the financing of projects.

SC: HIC-South Asia and
HIC-HLRN worked together on a project to calculate the losses that result from
evictions in Cameroun, Kenya and India. This same methodology could be
developed into a global project, with adaptations according to each country.

VV: It is important,
especially now during times of crisis, to stress the need for institutional
financial support to be able to carry out these different projects and to
develop the tools that we need in the Coalition.

PT: HIC member Habitat et
Participation, in collaboration with HIC and IAI, are developing a map of urban
habitat actors around the world. The Mapamundi
shares data and a short synthesis of the habitat situation in each country with
a list of the involved actors and definitions of working themes. It was
developed as a tool by and for actors like HIC, so the participation of all HIC
members is indispensable for the development of this tool. More info at http://www.wm-urban-habitat.org/

6.2 Campaigns
proposal was made to run a global HIC campaign on energy and common goods,
which are issues that are increasingly being included in civil society groups’
work and are likely to become more serious problems around the world. The
campaign would raise awareness on the concerns related to the privatization of
energy and common goods and services such as water, which is a human right closely
linked with the right to housing, stemming from the transfer of control over
these public services from the state to financial institutions like the IMF and
the World Bank. In addition to denouncing the impacts of neoliberal policies on
the daily lives of people around the world, the campaign would highlight civil
society’s collective initiatives and alternatives.

MK: While energy is a very
important issue, our agenda has more pressing issues, for instance tackling how
we can influence political and financial institutions like the Troika (EU, ECB
and IMF) to be more democratic, and what we can do to stop neoliberal policies
from violating the human rights of millions of people around the world.

JS: I don’t think it is
possible to run a campaign on a new issue like energy, as we don’t have enough
data to inform a campaign. We should concentrate in what we already know, for
instance, the information we collect from the HLRN Violations Database and the
report we produce every year on World Habitat Day. This year, we should focus
on impunity and evictions, and perhaps in the future we could focus on energy
but we don’t have enough information on this issue right now.

KU: It is already too late to
prepare a new campaign for World Habitat Day this year. A campaign takes a
year, not a month, to prepare before it is launched. Campaigns should be
developed into long-term actions in order for them to have more impact, to
design better communications instruments, and to involve more people. We should
have a campaign on the impacts of the “crisis” on the right to housing.

AS: As a reminder, the
General Assembly in Dakar 2011 decided to focus the campaigns for World Habitat
Day in 2011 and 2012 on evictions and land grabbing.

RS: Issues related to the
crisis should be tackled by a global network, because the crisis has not only
affected Europe. It is a structural crisis that is affecting people all over
the world. There should be more connection between HIC members, contacts and
allies in Europe and North America.

RW: The proposal to run a
campaign on energy issues is not necessarily for World Habitat Day. It was
thought of as a long-term campaign because it is linked with violations of
other rights related to habitat.

LZ: It is normal that there
are many different positions and working themes that are emerging in this
discussion. That is what makes HIC so rich, but we have to consider our real
capacities and priorities to choose themes for a campaign. Joe’s suggestion
about centering the issues on impunity could be linked with a lot of struggles,
for instance the indignados, the
crisis, and the need for changes in international institutions. The social
function of property and land– whether in urban or rural areas – is another
area that could link HIC at a global scale because it includes many issues like
evictions and land grabbing, and is a key component for the real implementation
of the right to the city. We’ve being talking about this for quite a time now
and perhaps it’s the moment to think in having and international project on it.

CM: AITEC and Habitat et
Participation have proposed to put together a publication similar to the one I
coordinated on the crisis and the right to housing in Europe. The new
publication would be focused on the social function of land, and would link
urban and rural issues. We would find out if other HIC members are interested
in collaborating in this publication.

6.3 HIC and
the United Nations
should consider having a permanent representation based in Geneva, in order to
be closer to the UN headquarters there. This would be important in order to
improve the use of various tools, like the Violations Database and the UN Basic
Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Evictions and Displacement. In
addition, it would allow HIC to become more closely linked with other themes
like food sovereignty and the organizations that work on them.

JS: We should consider the
opportunities this would give us to use UN instruments at the local level
(including the use of the Universal Periodical Review). We need to learn more
about the institutional work of the UNDP and the Council of the European Union,
and in order to do this, the Coalition needs to have a clear strategy.

LZ: In 2010 in Rio de
Janeiro, HIC made a decision to not become involved in the UN’s World Urban
Campaign, however, we should take another vote now to decide with the members
who are here in Naples whether HIC should become involved in this campaign or

Motion: HIC maintains its
decision to not become involved in the UN World Urban Campaign.

Vote: 13 in favour. 2 abstentions.

6.4 Online
decision was made in 2010 that the four different HIC websites should be
coordinated in a way to make it possible to share information between the
various sites while avoiding the duplicated efforts of posting information on
every site. Some steps have been made toward this end, and most recently, a
working group was formed in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 to work on building a portal
that would provide a gateway to the various websites, as well as to define the
common criteria that should be shared among the sites. There are some technical
issues that need to be worked out, seeing as not all of the sites are organized
in the same logic. Other online HIC tools including the Violations Database and
the HIC Member Space need to be promoted more to increase their use among

6.5 The
General Secretariat and HIC Structures
coordination between the various HIC structures must be strengthened,
especially in order to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure that every
HIC office can secure institutional and financial stability.

pressing issue is the closing of the General Secretariat in Chile at the end of
2013. The board must assume the responsibility of identifying and selecting a
new General Secretary. Proposals will be brought to the next General Assembly
in Tunis in March 2013 which will be debated on by the membership.

6.6 HIC
HIC inner and outer world has changed since the HIC Constitution was written in
1997, and a proposal was made to revise the constitution. This revision has two
objectives: 1. Modify the concept of membership fees to a more general
understanding that includes members’ qualitative contributions; and 2.
Strengthen the Board by modifying its operational and conceptual methods.

work on this process, a committee will be formed to conduct a consultative
process from now until March 2013. The proposed committee members are Lorena
Zárate, Joseph Schechla, Carmen Gonzalez, Vanesa Valiño, Michael Kane, Miloon
Kothari, Shivani Chaudhry, Davinder Lamba, Ana Falu, Ramiro García, and Peter

committee will be coordinated by Ana Sugranyes with communications in 5
languages (Spanish, English, French, Arabic, and Dutch) and with virtual
meetings to conduct the following tasks: 1. Call for members’ proposals
(October-November 2012); 2. First draft of a joint proposal (end of December
2012); 3. Consultation with a lawyer to review necessary legal aspects (January
2013); 4. Dissemination of the proposed changes (February 2013); 5.
Presentation and vote on the proposed changes during the General Assembly
meeting in Tunis (March 2013).

MK: The committee agrees on
the amendment process, but not on the specific example of abolishing membership

LZ: We need to make a
decision on this motion.

Motion: Initiate an amendment
process of the HIC Constitution, beginning now (September 2012) and leading up
to the next General Assembly meeting in Tunis (March 2013).

Vote: 13 in favour. 0 against. 0 abstentions

Two members with the right to vote were not in the room at the time of this
vote. Vote is unanimous.

7. Evaluation
As we are undergoing a new stage in the Coalition, it is very important that
the evaluation is participatory so that we can learn from the results and use
that knowledge to strengthen the Coalition.

JD: As we are currently in
the middle of the evaluation, it is too early to present concrete results. It
is still possible to fill out the online survey for those members who have not
done so already. The results from the workshops we’ve had the past few days
here in Naples, as well as the interviews we’ve had with members and HIC
structures will be used to inform the final evaluation.

8. Financial
Coalition receives financial support from multiple sources which are detailed
in the HIC Annual Report.

Motion: Approve the financial

Vote: 14 votes in favour. 0 against. 0 abstentions

One member with the right to vote was not in the room at the time of this vote. Vote
is unanimous

9. Next
General Assembly Meeting
next General Assembly meeting will take place in Tunis at the end of March
around the time of the World Social Forum.

10. Additional
motions presented to the GA
JS: I propose that Eike
Schuetz (formerly from Misereor) be named as a Wisdom Keeper.

AS: I propose that Diana
Lee-Smith be named as a Wisdom Keeper.

AR: I propose that Davinder
Lamba be named as a Wisdom Keeper.

Vote: 14 votes in favour. 0 against. 0 abstentions

* One member with the right to vote was not in the room
at the time of this vote. Vote is unanimous.

11. Closing
The General Assembly meeting ended according to
schedule, five hours after it began