The Pretoria Declaration on Informal Settlements: Perspectives from the urban poor

On 8 April 2016, SDI leader Rose Molokoane delivered an address on the New Urban Agenda at the final plenary session of the UN Habitat III Thematic Meeting on Informal Settlements in Pretoria. The thematic meeting took place in preparation for the upcoming UN Habitat III Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development, to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016.

The plenary session in which Rose spoke was entitled: “Together transforming a billion lives: Participatory approaches in planning, implementing, and monitoring informal settlement/slum upgrading.”

Watch the speech here:

As a founding leader of the Shack Dwellers International (SDI), a network of slum dweller federations spanning 38 countries, I understand the critical need for increased focus on informal settlements in the urban agenda as this is where close to a billion of our brothers and sisters live. We’re not the subjects of this discussion. We are part of this discussion.

As chair of the Grassroots Constituency Group of the General Assembly of Partners, representing slum dwellers, informal workers, organised youth and marginalised women in our cities, I am very pleased to take part in this Thematic Meeting on Informal Settlements towards Habitat III and the New Urban Agenda. This is OUR agenda. I only wish this whole venue was full of slum dwellers.

We call for specific mention in the New Urban Agenda of the urgent need to combat the spatial, social and economic exclusion of informal settlements and the informal sector in cities and to mobilise the requisite resources to address this.

This will require a New Urban Agenda that commits itself to support the process of organizing communities to partner effectively with governments and other urban actors. We must find ways of institutionalising these partnerships in the decision making and planning process. Do you Know Your City? This should be the question we ask our communities, our politicians and our technocrats.

We urge partners to recognise the role informal settlement dwellers must play in the implementation of scalable efforts to build urban resilience and promote climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local level.

Effective implementation of the New Urban Agenda demands robust partnerships between local governments and organised communities of the urban poor. These must be at the core of policy making and development planning and implementation in cities and stress the need to strengthen existing cooperation mechanisms, platforms, and partnership arrangements.

Community-collected slum data should form the basis of collaborative informal settlement policy making and development planning, and is a critical tool to implement, monitor and evaluate the SDGs in cities across the globe. When organised informal settlement dwellers gather these data, they become active and organised citizens with the capacity to engage in action-oriented partnerships.

We are going to change this world by hook or by crook.

In solidarity,

Rose Molokoane, SDI
Chair
Grassroots Constituency Group
General Assembly of Partners

 

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