The Community Way: worldwide movements towards Quito for the alternative Forum to Habitat III and beyond


The participants at the International IAI Strategic Meeting
(La Bergerie, 11-15 01 2016)

As part of a veritable platform of exchanges and shared
initiatives, from the 11th
2015 in La Bergerie, France, the IAI brought together representatives from
social movements, grassroots organisations and inhabitants’ networks from 21
countries from every continent, in order to define the Strategic Lines and an
action plan for the coming 5 years. In accordance with the People’s Committee
for Land – Resistance Platform to Habitat III established in Quito, a call for
the creation of national and local People’s Committees was launched. These
would be united participants in the mobilisation towards the People’s Social
Territorial Forum Alternative to Habitat III. in October 2016.

The focal point of this Forum will be
the International Tribunal of Evictions, a formidable indictment against the
neoliberal policies promoted by the new Urban Agenda being developed.

The first two days were an
opportunity to evaluate the period 2011-2016, and to take stock of successes,
advances and failures. It was also a chance to reflect upon the place given to
each individual in the process and to allow multiple discussions, instead of
setting different methods of representation against one another (the word of
the “true” inhabitant or the “collective” word of the association). At the
centre is the collective and independent vision for the need to protect the
right to land, housing and the city, as well as urban, peri-urban and rural
inhabitants. This takes into account the important contribution of the analysis
and definition of matters raised by allied driving forces, such as
professionals, experts, associative and institutional players, along with local
authorities and progressive governments.

To continue along these line, the
activities of the 14thand
concentrated on the Strategic Lines and a shared action plan. This focused not
only on organising the People’s Social Territorial and Alternative Forum within
an approach based on the mobilisation of inhabitants’ voices over the following
nine months, but also in the years to come. We intend to create a new
kind of Forum, a place to exchange and share experiences and strategies, but
one where decisions can also be taken, or rather, a Forum in which solidarity
can be mobilised in order to implement what has been decided upon. The
constituting process of the Community Way, a convergence of endeavours and
suggestions emphasised by the title of the Meeting, must therefore favour the
construction of intelligence and strength, necessary in order to have an impact
upon Habitat III and its follow-up.

From the right to the city to
low-income housing policies, from the participative budget to the fight for the
defence of the land and the countryside-city balance, all these are threatened
by the neoliberal policies upon which the new Urban Agenda of Habitat III is
based. This Urban Agenda is the anthem for an entirely urban future, which
promotes the financialization of housing markets and a public-private
partnership subjected to neoliberalism.

The ambition of the Forum is to
contribute to the defence of housing, territory and the habitat by means of a
mobilisation that seeks to transform the victims of the markets into agents of
change, defending human rights, the environment and the redistribution of

Within this dynamic, a Charter of
inhabitants’ responsibilities, as actors of the present and future as opposed
to simple user-clients, will contribute, together with the World Charter for
the right to the City, to the ideal foundation of this joint action.

The fifth session of the
International Tribunal of Evictions is intended to reveal the drama hidden by
Habitat III, of the millions of people around the world who are under attack
from bulldozers, either real or representing the financiarization of the
economy. It will be the trophy of the alternative Forum to Habitat III in
Quito; a tool that will register cases in order to judge them and give verdicts
and recommendations to be implemented, especially through united mobilisation.

With this aim in mind, an
organisation and mobilisation committee made up of national and regional
representatives has launched an appeal to gather cases of evictions and
expropriation. The 30/06/16 is the deadline to submit cases online via the
Tribunal website.