Sign the Statement by social organizations on the preparation of the third United Nations Conference on Sustainable Housing and Urban Development (Habitat III) under the 2014 World Habitat Day


All HIC Members, Partners, Friends and Social Base are
invited to sign the Joint Statement for the World Habitat Day (October 6).

This document has been circulated so that the organizations and friends that
share its content and vision could subscribe and sign it.

The purpose of the massive subscription is, for example, to deliver the
Statement to the UN representations in different countries as well as at
national levels.

The Declaration can be shared on the web pages of the members, so that in each
country, a wider subscription is achieved.

Join the World Habitat Day coordinated mobilization and confirm your adherence
to the Joint Declaration by sending your name, the name of your organization
and your logo (when applicable) to with a copy to

In advance, we thank the wide distribution of the joint Statement.

The text has already been signed by 146 networks, civil
society movements, universities and individuals from 35 countries worldwide

Declaration – Updated version on November 24, 2014





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The General
Assembly of the United Nations announced 2016 as the year to host the Third
United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, also
known as Habitat III. Habitat III’s first preparatory meeting was held in New
York in September 2014.

civil society organizations internationally, this conference means the
possibility of a New Habitat Agenda, not only a New Urban Agenda. It should
consider both rural and urban areas as one continuous territory, while focusing
on the realization of the right to adequate and decent housing and habitat.

It will
also identify international standards to promote: first, the right to the city,
land, and territory; second, quality transportation for safe and inclusive
urban mobility; third, environmentally-friendly usage and production of energy,
and lastly, a sense of community.

In 1976, the
Habitat I Conference in Vancouver adopted the Declaration on Human Settlements.
Although the Conference occurred during a period of rapid urbanization, the
participants never lost sight of the rural-urban relationship. The Habitat II
Conference in Istanbul in 1996 also achieved significant advances regarding the
right to housing in the Habitat Agenda, due largely to civil society

Despite these
achievements, we cannot ignore the current processes of speculative urban
developments, financialisation of housing, property and mortgages, as well as
land grabbing witnessed around the world. These processes often violate basic
human rights and lead to sprawl of cities and social segregation with serious
impact on human lives, nature and territories. Moreover, it violates the right
of all people to live in peace, dignity and safety without discrimination.

For our
organizations, the symbiotic relationship between rural and urban areas cannot
be ignored. The policies of recent decades have sought to weaken rural areas
and empty their populations in favor of big agribusiness, often promoted by
multinational corporations. This has allowed cities to grow at the expense of
rural land. We disagree with the hegemonic model of development from which
these policies are derived; they are the cause of the seizure of territories of
communities, indigenous, autochthones peoples, original inhabitants and
peasants, as well as the destruction of their habitat and sources of income.
These policies have also increased criminal violence that provokes mass
migrations, increased poverty, and a loss of cultural and community practices.
All this makes life difficult for those not concentrated in the cities.

These dire
consequences require that the discussions, proposals and resolutions of Habitat
III focus primarily on human rights and the state obligations which result from
them. Alternative proposals from grassroots and civil society organizations
should be considered in Habitat III, such as:

-The evaluation of
the implementation of the Habitat II Agenda and its corresponding Global Plan
of Action;

-The promotion of
measures to overcome inequalities, discrimination, segregation and lack of
opportunity to habitat and adequate and decent living conditions in both the
city and country;

-The development of
proposals to create tools for: participatory planning and budgeting,
institutional support for the social production of habitat, democratization of
territorial management areas, citizen control, coordination with planning
actors of the public sector, habitat production and management, as well as the
recognition of the social function of property.

All this, among
other things, is made explicit and developed in the framework of the Right to
the City that endorses struggles, experiences and expectations of urban
residents as subjects of law.

At the same time,
HABITAT III should encourage measures that promote responsible production and
consumption, avoiding distortions of the “green economy”. In the new
agenda, there must be tools to prevent and compensate for human rights
violations related to habitat, particularly the dispossession of territories,
evictions and forced displacement of populations caused by megaprojects and
infrastructure works. It should also emphasize the enforcement of existing
rules which guarantee these rights that states ignore or distort systematically
(disregard toward the right to consultation and free consent, absence of public
demonstrations, evaluation of social impacts, and abuse of the concept of
public utility among others). Finally, in HABITAT III, beyond the plan to
construct resilient cities, measures must be designed to address the root
causes of environmental degradation and climate change. These measures question
the economic development models that are based on unlimited growth, which
rarely take into account social and cultural factors.

None of this will
be possible if, in HABITAT III, civil society does not participate equally with
respect to the other actors. This is especially important for issues such as
representation in national committees, access to information, and the inclusion
of their concerns and proposals on national and international debates
throughout the process. In order to guarantee social participation in Habitat
III, methods must be produced to facilitate appropriate conditions in the
planning, during, and after the conference. All must have access to information
and logistical support for all social proposals during each phase of the
process. It is important to note that social participation must reflect gender
equity, facilitation of various age groups, inclusion of people with
disabilities, and representatives of indigenous peoples, with respect for their

is essential that the new Habitat Agenda include the participation of social
movements and civil society organizations. It should address the diversity of
interests and practices. Therefore, we demand that this international effort
recognizes innovations by the popular sector, which frequently faces opposition
and even criminalization, in order to achieve more just, democratic and
sustainable cities in which human rights are fulfilled. We wish to build
another possible city and another possible world.

The City is a Right, not a commodity!

Housing is a Right, not a commodity!

The territory is a Right, not a commodity!

October 6, 2014

* To download the Declaration, click here.

* To check the subscribers to the Declaration, click here