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Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City (2011)

In order to contribute to the international promotion of the right to the city, the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights drafted the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City, an initiative that emerged from the Local Authorities Forum for Social Inclusion and Participatory Democracy (FAL) that took place in Caracas (Venezuela) in 2006. Based on the discussions between local governments from around the world that took place in this Forum, a group of experts from various countries wrote an initial draft of the Charter-Agenda (2007-2008), which was then discussed and amended by elected representatives, experts and representatives of civil society from all over the world (2009-2010).

Under the initial leadership of the Barcelona Provincial Council (Diputació de Barcelona) and subsequently the city of Nantes and the Pays de la Loire Region, the Global Charter-Agenda has been collectively discussed at several international events, including the last three FALs and World Social Forums (Nairobi, 2007; Belém do Pará, 2009; and Dakar, 2011), the I and II FALPs (Nanterre, 2006; Getafe, 2010), the 5th World Urban Forum of UN Habitat (Rio de Janeiro, 2010), the 4th World Forum on Human Rights in Nantes (2010) and the 3rd UCLG World Congress (Mexico City, 2010). Research centres such as the Catalonia Institute for Human Rights (IDHC) and the Social Studies Centre (CES) of Coimbra University have also been involved in this process from the very beginning.

The added value of the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City is that each human right featured in the document is accompanied by an action plan that serves as a reference for concrete steps to be undertaken by local governments. Signatory cities are invited to set up a local agenda with deadlines and indicators in order to assess their efficiency in implementing these rights. The Charter-Agenda will come into effect in each city after a consultative and participatory process allowing residents to discuss and adapt in light of both the local reality and the national legal framework; and, of course, upon acceptance by a qualified majority of the municipal assembly. The result of this process will be the adoption of a Local Charter-Agenda in each signatory municipality.

The World Council of UCLG held in Florence (Italy) in December 2011 formally adopted the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City and invited all UCLG members to sign it. In the current situation of economic crisis – possibly driving towards a reduction in rights - the Charter-Agenda is a tool for local governments to build more inclusive, democratic and solidarity-based societies in dialogue with urban dwellers.

To download the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City click here