Comité Popular por Nuestros Territorios – FRENTE A HABITAT III

English

Call for participation in the Social Forum, a platform for popular resistance to Habitat III

The People’s Committee for Our Territories calls society for the construction of a Social Forum in resistance to Habitat III, continuing the legacy of other Social Forums held before UN Habitat mega-events, such as the People’s Alternative Urban Social Forum in Medellin (April 2014), the Urban Social Forum in Naples (September 2012) and the World Assemblies of Inhabitants in Tunisia (2013 and 2015). All interested organizations are invited to take part in this process.

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Quito, the capital of the Republic of Ecuador, located in the north of the central Andes region at 2,850 metres above sea level (9,350 feet), will be hosting the UN Habitat III conference, taking place from 17 to 20 October 2016.

It was in Ecuador – a country located in the north west of South America – that the People’s Committee for Our Territories was created in opposition to Habitat III. In November 2015, the Committee began by questioning the urban model increasingly imposed by connivance government-capital on cities around the world. The model originated in the preceding Habitat I and II summits, events which failed to take account of citizens’ voices and demands, particularly those of the poor and marginalized.

As in many other countries around the world, the 15 million Ecuadorian citizens and, in particular, the almost 2.4 million inhabitants of Quito are subject to government policies that privatize vital public spaces and limit access to health, education, housing, clean water, food, work, social welfare, culture, communication, freedom of speech, available and impartial justice, and basic services for social coexistence – all of which represent rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. By denying people the possibility of a dignified life in the countryside, these government policies promote rural to urban migration. This distances the population from the land, creating and maintaining a culture of indiscriminate pollution, emitted by expanding modern metropolises that have been constructed following the destruction of vast green areas, without which there is very little space left for recreational activities and the vital re-oxygenation of cities.

In the face of this trend, the Committee calls society for the construction of a Social Forum in resistance to Habitat III, continuing the legacy of other Social Forums held before UN Habitat mega-events, such as the People’s Alternative Urban Social Forum in Medellin (April 2014), the Urban Social Forum in Naples (September 2012) and the World Assemblies of Inhabitants in Tunisia (2013 and 2015). All interested organizations are invited to take part in this process.

The Social Forum will take place in Quito on the same days as Habitat III, and will provide a space for creating mobilization and developing proposals by citizens from the world’s marginalized sectors. It will challenge the global urban model, based as it is on an alliance between governments and capital, and which does not seek to achieve wellbeing for all people but rather to bolster already powerful groups.

The People’s Committee is actively seeking accommodation in Quito for members of organizations taking part in the Social Forum, as well as support from and social relations with community arts. For this reason, this call is directed to social movements and collective organizations committed to the wellbeing of the planet and to strengthening the space for a truly human habitat that will be created in Quito in October 2016.

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