The Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) co-organized, together with Gwangju Metropolitan City, the Gwangju International Center and the Korea Human Rights Foundation, the 4th World Human Rights Cities Forum (WHRCF), which took place in Gwangju, South Korea, from 15 to 18 May 2014. In the framework of this event, the Committee also celebrated its first 2014 Biannual Meeting.
Since 2011, the WHRCF gathers key actors and stakeholders engaged in building human rights cities. The fourth edition of the Forum was a real global platform of exchange of experiences among more than 500 participants from 25 different countries, mainly representatives from “human rights cities” (several of them, members of UCLG and of the Committee on Social Inclusion), human rights NGOs, grassroots community-based organizations, local parliamentarians, academics, as well as UN human rights experts.
This year´s event was celebrated under the topic "Towards a global alliance of human rights cities for all". And for the first time in Asia, participants explored the concept of the “right to the city”, taking as a starting point the Final Declaration of the 1st World Summit of Local Governments for the Right to the City organized in 2012 in Saint-Denis (France) by the Committee on Social Inclusion and Plaine Commune, which defined it as “the equitable usufruct of cities within the principles of sustainability, equality, solidarity and social justice”.
Several types of sessions and activities were organized during the Forum to foster participatory sharing and analysis of various experiences and good practices regarding human rights policy-making, monitoring and evaluation at local level.
Fostering human rights cities and the right to the city
The main topics under discussion during the Forum were:
- Plenary 1: “The right to the city and local governments: How can municipalities translate this right into local policies?
- Plenary 2: “How to become a human rights city? Human rights municipal strategic planning and implementation”
Several Committee members participated in these two debates, namely Mr. Gillani, President of UCLG ASPAC and President of the Local Government Association of Punjab, Pakistan; Ms. Rosa Icela Rodríguez Velázquez, Deputy Mayor for Social Development of Mexico City, Mexico; Mr. Eduardo Tadeu Pereira, President of the Brazilian Municipal Association, Brazil; Ms. Hanoi Sánchez, Mayor of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic; Ms. Katharina Wallenborg, Municipal Commissioner for Equality, Democracy and Public Health of Huddinge, Sweden; and Mr. Gérard Perreau-Bezouille, representative of the Forum of Peripheral Local Authorities.
Besides these two plenary sessions, the WHRCF held a Special Session on “Best practices on the implementation of Human Rights at local level”, which was organized by the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of UCLG.
Committee´s 2014 Biannual Meeting
The 1st 2014 Biannual Meeting of the Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights of UCLG was attended by representatives of 17 cities from the following countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe: Austria, Brazil, Korea, Spain, France, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Dominican Republic, The Netherlands, Pakistan, China, Germany, Sweden and Taiwan.
During the meeting, participants discussed about the importance of building within the Committee a global network of cities for human rights and the right to the city, and agreed to undertake specific work on this latter topic to further explore how it can be translated into concrete local policies. Mexico City volunteered to lead this work.
Participants agreed that this will be of special significance to build a strategic approach on the right to the city in order to influence the Post-2015 and the Habitat III Global Agendas.
The 4th World Human Right Cities Forum ended with the adoption of a Final Declaration and the reading of the Gwangju Guiding Principles for a Human Rights City. Both documents can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.
- Final Declaration – IV World Human Rights Cities Forum
- Gwangju Guiding Principles for a Human Rights City