The 1990s was a milestone in terms of recognition of the role of local governments as pillars of states' democratic quality. Some years later, it would gain ground the acknowledgement of cities as key human rights actors in their role of providers of public services and agents responsible for education, health and housing policies.
This international debate would be translated into the claim for «the right to the city», according to which the city is a collective space which belongs to all its residents and which must offer the necessary conditions for a decent life from a social, political, cultural, economic and environmental point of view.
As a result of this process, various local human rights charters were adopted from 2000 onwards: the European Charter for the Safeguarding of Human Rights in the City (Saint-Denis, 2000), signed by more than 350 European cities; the World Charter on the Right to the City, drafted by social movements gathered in the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre (2001); the Charter of Rights and Responsibilities of Montreal (2006); the Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City (2010); the Gwangju Human Rights Charter (South Korea, 2012). The «right to a solidarity-based metropolis» would emerge afterwards as a result of the work undertaken by the Forum of Peripheral Local Authorities (FALP).
In order to contribute to the international promotion of the right to the city, UCLG adopted in 2011 the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City at the initiative of its Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights.
The panel “The right to the city: fighting against urban inequalities” will address this topic. Particularly, it will address the issue of how can local government design policies to implement the right to the city.
Considering the parallel session will be framed under the Congress thematic round table on “Promoting Diversity”, the debate will deal with the different dimensions of the right to the city which are linked to the broad concept of diversity: political, social, spatial, cultural, economic and environmental diversity.
These reflections will finally fuel the overall discussions taking place during the Congress because the right to the city and the fight against urban inequalities is a key element to “imagine society and build democracy”.
Key questions that will be raised during the parallel session
- Tools to implement, monitor and evaluate the right to the city at local level (social policies and action plans, provision of equitable public services, municipal human rights charters, indicators and human rights diagnosis).
- The challenge of realizing the right to the city in a metropolitan context.
- The role of the right to the city in the post-2015 debate and Habitat III.