In September 2015, the Intercontinental network for the promotion of social solidarity economy (RIPESS) has joined the Global Platform for the Right to the City. The network is now part of an important social movement that has been built since the end of the 90’s in order to contribute to the recognition of the Right to the City as a human right and to reaffirm the key role of local communities and civil society in the decision-making processes concerning urban policies.
What is the Right to the City ?
The World Charter for the Right to the City was discussed and developed during the Social forum of Americas held in Quito (2004), the World urban forum held in Barcelona (2004) and the World social forum held in Porto Alegre (2005). The Right to the City is defined as the equitable usufruct of cities within the principles of sustainability, democracy, equity, and social justice. It is the collective right of the inhabitants of cities, in particular of the vulnerable and marginalized groups, that’s confers upon them legitimacy of action and organization, based on their uses and customs, with the objective to achieve full exercise of the right to free self-determination and an adequate standard of living. There are three principles guiding the concept of Right to the City: full exercise of citizenship, democratic management and social function of the city and of urban property.
Social and solidarity economy (SEE) and the Right to the City are concepts that share common values and principles like social justice, equity, democracy, inclusion and sustainability. The Right to the City is a new political proposition built in response to neoliberalism that has caused the privatization of public spaces, the mercantile use of the city and the predominance of industries and mercantile spaces. Among others, the Right to the City and SSE support the right to work, the respect of the environment, democratic management, social inclusion and the promotion of territories and communities. The World Charter for the Right to the City considers that cities have to promote and value political economic conditions to implement SSE programs. SSE is a tool that answers directly to the values and principles of the Right to the City.
Creation of a world social movement for the Right to the City
The Global Platform for the Right to the City is an initiative of a group of organizations that met in São Paulo in November 2014. The International Meeting on the Right to the City was attended by 158 participants from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe representing NGOs, networks and forums, academic institutions, public sector, social movements, foundations and international organizations.
The Global Platform aims to contribute to the adoption of commitments, policies, projects and actions aimed at developing fair, democratic, sustainable and inclusive cities by United Nations bodies and the national and local governments.
The construction of a Global Platform for the Right to the City at this time is extremely important for the strengthening of local and national urban social struggles and to the joint and international mobilization to especially address the definition processes of the Development Agenda / Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016 and the World Social Forums and Social World Urban Forums, 2017.
The Global Platform has the structural axes:
- Human Rights in Cities
- Democratic Governance and Participatory of Cities
- Urbanization and Sustainable Use Planning and Social Inclusion
- Economic and Social Inclusion Development in the Cities.
Among the organizations that are part of the Global Platform Right to the City we can highlight the Habitat International Coalition (HIC), ActionAid, Cities Alliance , International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI), Commission on Human Rights and Equal Social UCLG, National Urban Reform Forum (FNRU), Shack / Slum Dwellers International (SDI), Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Habitat for Humanity, Global Fund for the Development of Cities (FMDV) and Streetnet. The project is funded by Ford Foundation.