Dear HIC community, friends, and allies,
This year we have celebrated our return to face-to-face interactions since the beginning of the pandemic. It has been a pleasure and an honour to reconnect in-person with so many of you at the World Urban Forum in Poland, where we celebrated HIC’s 45th+1 anniversary; in Kenya, where we worked together in the development of HIC’s Africa Strategic Plan; in Korea, where we worked hand in hand with local and regional governments towards their Pact for the Future; and, most recently, in Chile and Argentina, where we had the opportunity to exchange experiences with social movements and supporting organisations on how to advance political and policy support in defence of social production of habitat processes.
In addition, we continued working together virtually in numerous occasions across all regions. This video captures some among many highlights and milestones achieved throughout 2022: our call for a feminist perspective across the realisation of habitat-related rights in March and beyond, our advocacy at the UN High Level Political Forum in April to take stock of progress so far in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda; our participation at the 3rd International Social Housing Festival in June to valorise and propagate community-led housing, our campaign calling to root political action for Climate Justice to recognise and fulfil the right to land for all, as well as our participation at the COP27 calling for a critical and grounded approach to the implementation of a loss-and-damage fund, among many others.
Much of our energy throughout 2022 was dedicated to build and strengthen critical alliances, these include our ongoing work with the UN Special Rapporteurs, and with United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG). The latter culminated this year in the public launch of the UCLG Gold VI Report on Pathways towards Urban and Territorial Equality, which explores six pathways – Commoning, Caring, Connecting, Renaturing, Prospering and Democratizing – to respond to structural unequal access to housing, land and public services; to pervasive exclusion and inequalities based on people’s intersectional identity, gender inequality and its utmost expression through the unequal distribution of care burdens; the need to rethink human settlements through enhanced mobility and connectivity; to dignified livelihood opportunities; to drive critical environmental transitions from a rights-based approach; and to tackle deep asymmetries in political parity of participation and representation.
While we embarked in many further undertakings across 2022, our principal focus this year has been on fostering cross-regional political reflexion, while pluralising our advocacy work through the launch of our first three co-learning spaces on Feminist Approaches to Habitat, Land Rights, and Multi-level Advocacy, and our Quarterly Advocacy Meetings. These streams have been accompanied by a process of collective reflection and documentation of the popular pedagogies practiced within HIC. We will continue working along these lines in 2023 to thrive in our collective diversity and to strengthen our muscle as a Coalition.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank each of you for your active engagement throughout our Institutional Review process, through which we aim to recognise and value our diversity, to grow together from our differences, to honour our legacy while making room for renewal, to strengthen our Coalition across all regions, and to sharpen the focus of our work and its impact across HIC’s four thematic pillars. Towards the end of January 2023, the Board will hold a strategic planning retreat, the outcomes of which we will be sharing with all HIC members, with more details about HIC’s plans for 2023, including: two new co-learning spaces on Climate Justice and Social Production of Habitat, the cross-regional working groups on feminist approaches to habitat and land rights, as well as our plans to support dialogue and exchange across social and feminist movements, and to reactivate our Coalition’s engagement with critical allies in Asia and North America.
I am constantly inspired by the work you do as part of HIC and in your own contexts and regions all around the world, as each of you brings endless energy, commitment, passion, and strategic thinking and doing to advance the defence of habitat-related human rights and the right to the city, and to build a more equitable, inclusive, sustainable, and loving world for all.
Thank you for being an active part of HIC and for pushing the boundaries of the world we live in!
On behalf of the HIC Board and the General Secretariat, I wish you all the very best for a 2023 full of light, wisdom, collaboration, and impactful work!