In 1976, NGOs and other groups from the civil society around the world attended the Habitat Forum in Vancouver, organized in paralel to the 1st United Nations’ Habitat Conference, in order to demand the recognition, defense and full implementation of the human rights related to housing and land/habitat. As a result, the civil society attained a central role in the discussions, establishing a precedent for other UN global conferences to come up until present day. This key date marks the beginning of HIC, the Global network for the right to habitat and social justice.
From the beginning, HIC has worked so that everyone was able to have a secure place in which to live in peace and dignity and to ensure the recognition, defense and full implementation of the right to housing, land and all the human rights related to the Habitat. Its more than 40 years of history, are deeply tied to the development of the UN Habitat conferences.
HIC originated from the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) committee established after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972, which had the aim of leading the coordination of the contributions of NGOs to the first Habitat Conference (Vancouver, 1976).
From its beginnings, HIC has actively taken part in the process related to the UN Conferences on Human Settlements with the aim of influencing the construction of the human rights’ perspective and to expose and bring attention to the serious issues related to human settlements, giving
This is our history
1987: HIC General Secretariat is set up
Under the framework of the UN Conference in Nairobi and the Habitat Forum in Berlin during the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless, HIC transforms into an International Coalition and centers its work in the Global South. The General Secretariat is set up in Mexico City.
1992: UN Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro
During the UN Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 140 organizations from around the world signed the Treaty Towards Just Democratic and Sustainable Cities, Towns and Villages.
1996: Second UN Habitat Conference
The Second UN Conference on Human Settlements (City Summit) is held in Istanbul. HIC influenced the inclusion of the right to adequate housing in the Habitat Agenda. During that time, HIC revised its strategy, mission and organizational structure, which led to the adoption of a New Constitution (1997).
2000: First World Assembly of Inhabitants
HIC organized the First World Assembly of Inhabitants in Mexico. Community organizations and popular urban movements gathered together to define a common strategy for mobilization on a global scale.
2005: World Charter for the Right to the City
Signing of the World Charter for the Right to the City in the World Social Forum, Porto Alegre.
2009 and 2012: Land Forum I and Land Forum III, Cairo
2009 and 2012: HIC-Housing and Land Rights Network held its Land Forum I and Land Forum III in Cairo.
2010: The first Urban Social Forum, Rio de Janeiro
The first Urban Social Forum is a dynamic construction from urban civil society, held in parallel to UN-Habitat’s World Urban Forum. Its first instance took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2010 and the second one was held in Naples in September 2012.
2016: Habitat III, Quito
In Quito, under the framework of Habitat III, HIC, along with other social movements, civil society organizations and community groups from around the world, reaffirmed its commitment to keep on fighting and influencing for the right to the city under a human rights habitat that allows for the full crystallization of the “good living” (sumak kawsay) for everyone, in an independent manner and beyond the process of the Habitat Conferences and the authorization of governments.
2018: HIC brings together experiences to face the housing crisis
The rise of renting, gentrification, expulsion of people from cities, the increased activity of vulture funds were some of the aspects covered at an international gathering organized by HIC together with the Observatorio DESC and the Global Platform for the Right to the City aimed to analyse the causes and solutions to the housing crisis.
2019: HIC at the First UN-Habitat Assembly
The Coalition calls for clarity and guidance for a rational and consultative approach to UN Habitat governance and stakeholder-engagement structures. This process will build the proposal for a Institutional Mechanism for stronger Stakeholder Engagement in the New UN Habitat Governance.
2020: HIC takes action to call for a Human Rights Habitat in the face of Covid-19
2021: HIC opens a dialogue for collaboration with UN Special rapporteurs and Local Governments
This collective dialogue was the beginning of drawing connections across the spectrum of Habitat Rights and the Right to the City between United Nations Special Rapporteurs, civil society organizations and local and regional governments
2021: HIC starts a new learning agenda
The Coalition sets up together with Members cross-regional, multi-session encounters called Co-learning spaces: they are open to all HIC Members, Friends and allies to generate and multiply emancipatory learning practices applied on the defense of human rights related to habitat.