HIC Presidential Report


Enrique Ortiz, HIC President 2003-2007

I hereby conclude my responsibility as HIC President, sharing with our members and friends a final report of my activities and some reflections on the primary challenges which must be confronted by our Coalition in the immediate future.


In my previous report (July-December 2006) I observed that the grave social and environmental impacts resulting from the accelerated processes of speculation-privatization characterizing current habitat production and management, have ended up subordinating peoples’ rights to housing and other habitat components to the commercial rights and interests of large corporations.

I also revisited our commitment to work intensely in construction of alternative proposals developed from the people based on their own organizational and productive processes, and on the role HIC international and inter-regional projects can fulfill in that regard and to effectively influence public policies; stimulate, reinforce, and articulate our Coalition (thematic networks, working groups, regional support offices), and actively integrate and mobilize our members and contacts.

Today I wish to insist that the protest and defense of affected populations is not enough, not even with the active and often heroic resistance of the social organizations and movements in the face of imposition of policies and models that lead only to greater exclusion, subordination, dependence, and social immobilization.

Among the paths we are obligated to travel are that of construction of new paradigms centered around the human being and respect for nature, and formulation and implementation of options which advance the concrete construction of that other possible world.

The domineering, irresponsible, and arrogant application of the devastating model of infinite growth and accumulation has generated profound contradictions in the system itself behind it. These contradictions today open important opportunities to collectively and vigorously influence the generation of broad spaces for the development of practices which drive and achieve true transformation and change.


Thanks to its conformation which brings together social organizations and movements, nongovernmental organizations, professionals, human rights activists, and academics all committed to support social processes toward change, HIC constitutes a vanguard instrument to firmly advance in this direction.

HIC is not only the sum of the capacities, experiences and potentials of its members. It is much more. HIC constitutes a collective asset shared by its members and others who participate in its activities and struggles. It is a boiling pot for synergies and a powerful accumulator of experience at the global scale.

According to our recent evaluation process, at this moment HIC is more potential than reality; more the sum of regional and thematic initiatives than an organic body of material impact.

HIC is not an abstract, nor is it reduced to those who make its decisions and steer its processes, and much less is HIC merely its Secretariat or its regional or thematic support offices. HIC is all of us its members, its organizational bodies and those who facilitate its work. It is also and in multiple ways those people linked to our activities who organize themselves and work from their communities. Much remains to be done to integrate and reinforce the great potential for transformation accumulated within this whole.

What remains is for all of us to be fully conscious and to act in consequence to not only recognize the role we can fulfill today toward achieving a different world, but also to invest greater time, creativity, energy and resources from our institutions to strengthen that collective asset represented by HIC and the activities we jointly pursue in adherence with our strategic objectives.

In my personal judgment, this is the main challenge to face in the new period set to begin.


The current period of global transition is characterized by immense contradictions and cracks in the economic globalization model, growing processes of inconformity and organization of affected peoples, and multiple proposals and experiences pointing toward change.

Given its particular characteristics and potentials, HIC must locate itself with strategic clarity in this context.

Managing the contradictions to sustain a new paradigm and strengthen the social processes to which we are committed implies an integrated approach to a complex set of tasks:

  • Research oriented to generate knowledge about the reality;
  • Documentation, critical analysis, and systematization of our social practices and of the instruments and policies applied by governments to foment them or to discourage or even repress them;
  • Collection of written and visual testimonies of the social processes to disseminate their achievements, demands, and proposals; i.e., give a voice to those who are unheard;
  • Opening of institutional and non-institutional spaces of negotiation, design, and co-responsible management of public policies;
  • Linkages with social mobilization and pressure processes;
  • Implementation of joint campaigns carried out at all levels to promote the human rights linked to land and housing and social production of habitat;
  • Construction of joint alliances and actions with other networks and processes to strengthen and broaden the scale of our work;
  • Implementation of integral and complex projects to demonstrate the viability and contributions of our proposals;
  • Broad dissemination of results and reflections around these activities to achieve favorable public opinion.

A first regional experience in which this strategy is being applied is the project: Social production of habitat and the rights to housing and the city in Latin America: strategic axes of HIC regional action to influence public policies, which has been under development since the World Social Forum of January 2003 and has already produced certain relevant results.

An important challenge for HIC is to broaden this experience at the world scale, providing continuity to the first step already taken with the InWent Project on Social Production of Habitat and consolidating a new Committee on this theme in the organizational structure of our Coalition.


During the six months passed since my previous report, I have delimited my international, regional (Latin America) and national (Mexico) activities to promote this strategy at different levels:

  • International: I participated in the HIC meetings in Nairobi (Kenya) and in Aachen (Germany) on HIC’s institutional evaluation and I carried out several presentations and negotiations within the framework of the World Social Forum.

  • Inter-regional: At the invitation of the Housing Ministry of Spain and the UN-Habitat Program’s Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (ROLAC), I participated in the I Ibero-American Encounter on Urban Best Practices held in Madrid in late June. At that event I presented a speech on the strategic value of Social Production of Habitat and a closing Conference on the myths which impede its development.

  • Regional: I participated in the XI Encounter of the Latin American Secretariat for Popular Housing (SELVIP), in the follow-up meetings on the regional SPH project, and in the meeting of HIC members present in Buenos Aires. I intervened in the name of our Coalition at the inaugural session of the Encounter and in the opening of the Urban Land Seminar organized as part of activities held in conjunction with the event. Taking advantage of my visit to Buenos Aires, I was invited by the Faculty of Architecture to impart a conference on SPH, and together with Lorena Zárate I carried out a visit to the area of solidary finances of the Universidad de General Sarmiento to establish contacts.

I also participated in the International Seminar-Workshop on Social Production of Habitat organized in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Fundación Pro Vivienda (FUPROVI), outstanding HIC member in Costa Rica, with the introductory conference to the event and contributions to the debates organized on the theme.

  • National: Since 2005, I have been working in the negotiation of a SPH support instruments system with the National Housing Commission. This year we have achieved the opening of spaces of negotiation with the participation of representatives from the government, social organizations, NGOs, advisors, and financial institutions, with the idea to design the operational mechanisms and some instruments based on concrete cases.

Taking advantage from my trips I visited some foundations and solidarity institutions in the perspective of opening some possibilities of future support to the international and interregional activities of HIC in SPH.

Upon concluding my responsibility as HIC President, I will continue to work full time in the Coalition in support of regional and national activities developed by HIC-AL.

I extend a warm thank you to the active HIC members for all the support and incentive I have received during my tenure as President.

Enrique Ortiz

HIC President

Mexico City