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Urban social movements building "Convergences" at the World Social Forum 2009


Posted By Knut On February 14, 2009 @ 12:56 pm In Right to the City - a response to crisis?, meetings, building alliances, downloads and documents


Seeking for larger and more effective cooperation among organisations active in the alter-globalisation movements has been an issue at the WSF in general. This approach at the WSF was called "convergence". During the World Social Forum January 2009 a number of urban movements and networks agreed on some common framework for cooperation in the context of the WSF during the coming years.

Find a provisional English transcript from the Spanish original below.

Building Convergences at the World Social Forum, WSF 2009

The current financial crisis demonstrates the evident limits of capitalism. It demonstrates the effects of the excessive negligence (implemented by the neoliberal policies) of de-regulation and high consumption. The financial crisis, with its multiple consequences is one of many threats to life in cities and human settlements everywhere. Among these threats (we can list): real-estate speculation, urban mega-projects, agro-business and privatization of goods and public services, as well as the multiplication of forms of social exclusion and environmental disasters. Meanwhile, this (development/policy/social/neo-liberal) model even intensifies the rural/urban divide.

The different phases of this crisis have affected the quality of life of all people, especially of those social groups who have not achieved their basic rights to land, housing, work, public space, education and health, nor to effective political participation. One evident indicator of the intensification of the crisis is the increasing frequency and greater impact of forced evictions.

In the cities these conflicts are concentrated and highly visible. But so too are the opportunities for change towards the "Right to The City". This right stems from the desire for another possible city , (it develops from the) the urgent need to build a new paradigm, (it can build a) more visible alternative to the dominant and misleading claims of neoliberalism. This visible alternative of the "Right to the City" is also necessary to facilitate the convergence of social movements, articulating a shared vision of habitat for all, of human rights, social justice and environmental sustainability.

The World Social Forum is a space where it is possible to identify capacities and networks to construct the Right to the City and to strengthen the common cause with other vital and urgent struggles, like the struggles of peasants, of indigenous people and of the landless.

This Forum brings together expressions of resistances and proposals. The protagonists (responding to) this challenge are the social movements and other actors, academics, professionals and local governments. Organizations and individuals from around the world are represented here at the WSF 2009 Amazonia. Networks of these groups which are present at the WSF 2009 Amazonia agree on the following proposals:

  • Promoting the Right to the City, without evictions and towards urban structural reform, coincident with WSF Objective 6;
  • Democratising the World Urban Forum (WUF) to be held in Rio de Janeiro during 2010 such that social movements and activists may participate fully and effectively with UN-Habitat and the hosting country in the organisation of this event;
  • Articulating urban struggles in WSF 2010 to build on the 2008 experience of a global call for simultaneous local, national and regional fora;
  • Providing opportunities for dialog with indigenous and peasant movements in order to define the requirements of all our common rights related to habitat more precisely and to enhance the expressions of solidarity.

In Belem, on 1 February 2009, the following networks and organizations committed to this agenda of convergence:

  • Asociacion Latinoamericana Organizaciones de Promocion (ALOP)
  • Association Internationale des Techniciens, Experts et Chercheurs (AITEC)
  • Centre for Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)
  • Dignity International (DI)
  • Enda Tiers-Monde?
  • Forum Local Autorithies (FAL)
  • Foro Nacional de Reforma Urbana, Brasil (FNRU)
  • Habitat International Coalition (HIC)
  • Hábitat para la Humanidad-Latinoamérica? y el Caribe (HPH-LAC)
  • International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI)
  • Local Communities Organizations in Asia (LOCOA)
  • Poor People Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC)
  • Programa de Vivienda del Centro Cooperativo Sueco
  • Servicio Latinoamericano Vivienda Popular (SELVIP)

URL to article: http://www.reclaiming-spaces.org/crisis/archives/257 (external link)