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Towards the creation of a Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants, here we go!

About a hundred people, social organizations, local authorities and progressive experts from countries bordering the Mediterranean participated in the meeting organized by the IAI at Africities 8. A Steering Committee of the Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants has been set up. Next meeting will be in Marseille, in parallel with the "Meeting of the two shores" (Marseille, June 2019) which aims to relaunch the Mediterranean Union.

About a hundred people, social organizations, local authorities, experts and progressive academics from countries bordering the Mediterranean, including Tunisia, Italy, Morocco, Spain, France, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Benin, and Senegal, participated in a meeting organized by the International Alliance of Inhabitants, at Africities 8 on 23 November 2018 in Marrakech. The session was rich in exchanges of experiences and the sharing of strategies; the outcome of which was a common voice and way to support the right to housing, land and the city for all inhabitants, residents and migrants, to move freely in the countries of the Mediterranean basin.

A Steering Committee of the Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants was set up with the next meeting to be held in Marseille in June 2019, in parallel with the intergovernmental summit of the Union for the Mediterranean, which brings together 43 countries from Europe and the Mediterranean Basin, including 28 member states of the European Union and Mediterranean partner countries from North Africa, the Middle East and South-East Europe.

With more than 500 million inhabitants from 22 bordering countries, each affected by the same neoliberal policies causing urban crisis, migration from impoverished sub-Saharan Africa, unsustainable real estate speculation to the populations and destruction of the environment, and often governed by a new generation of racist and nationalist politicians who have facilitated the massacre of tens of thousands of migrants within 4 years, the Mediterranean basin is erecting barriers and adding kindling to the war among the poor. The lack of resources to address these problems has been denounced by the local authorities and citizen organizations, highlighting the increasingly urgent need to join our efforts and organize ourselves.

This session is the result of five years of work, exchanges and solidarity. The first meeting, which launched the network process, took place at the WSF, March 2013 in Tunis, at the World Assembly of Inhabitants, then continued in October 2013, at the 1st Congress on the Right to Decent Housing in Tunis, at the World Assembly of Inhabitants at the WSF 2015, at Africities 7, Johannesburg, and finally at the Inhabitants session at Africities 2018 in Marrakesh.

The challenge and the dream is to bring together inhabitants organisations of Mediterranean to support this dynamic and these convergences into a platform of independent voices, with the support of local authorities, institutions and progressive experts, together for appropriate policies to fight for human rights: for the right to reside, the right to housing, land, the city and urbanized villages, for the right to move, and to receive all the diversity, around Mare Nostrum, by affirming an alternative, participatory and popular governance on a daily basis in the management of their city, for current and future generations.

These themes were supported by the participation of local elected officials from Tunisia, such as the Mayors of La Marsa, Slim Mihrzi; the Mayor of Carthage, Hayet Bayoudh; the Mayor of Nabeul, Houda Skandaji; the Mayor of Hammam-Chot, Fethi Zagrouba and Brahim Haj Hassan, Vice-Mayor of Ghar El Melh, and many representatives of local authorities in Morocco (Settat, Aiterkha, Gueltet Zemanour, Oued Amlil, Saka / Guercif, Ouarzazat, Fes, Bouhloutaza, Taglaft, Azrou, and many others..).

The success of this founding session is not only that of the IAI alone, but of all the networks and organizations of inhabitants with local elected representatives who collaborated, both through their participation and the content of their respective interventions: to Kouraich Jaouahdou, Mouna Mathari, Ilhem Ben Salah, Ilham Tahrzout, Abadallah Allali, Pedro Martin Heras, Fatou Diouf. It concluded with the validation of an interim Steering Committee to work on the Charter of Principles, the Guidelines and an Action Plan 2019-2021. The next meeting will be held in Marseille in June 2019, in parallel with the Union for the Mediterranean Summit.

The secretariat of Africities, of UCLGA and UCLG, should enable this process of setting up the Network, particularly by informing the local elected officials concerned in the Mediterranean border countries and supporting participation in the upcoming meeting in Marseille.

 

Agreements of the Steering Committee of the Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants (Africities, Marrakesh, 24/11/2018)

The meeting, which convened to implement the decisions of the workshop at Africities:

  • Confirms the personal and collective commitment to the constitution of the Mediterranean Inhabitants' Network proposed by the IAI and its launch during the meeting in parallel with the "Meeting of the Two Shores" (Marseille, June 2019) which aims to relaunch the Union for the Mediterranean.
  • Moreover, the meeting established the interim Steering Committee, which includes the organisations of inhabitants promoting the Marrakesh meeting in collaboration with progressive experts and local elected officials with the aim of preparing the Marseille meeting in collaboration with the inhabitants' organisations and local experts, including reflection, proposal and mobilisation.
  • It is recommended that the secretariats of Africities, of UCLGA and UCLG, to enable this process of setting up the Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants, in particular by informing the local elected officials concerned in the Mediterranean border countries and supporting their participation in the Network's meeting in Marseille.

Contact:  rmh@habitants.org


 

The Interventions

Coordination


Soha BEN SLAMA, Coordinator of International Alliance of Inhabitants, Tunisia

The Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants

The creation of the Network follows a project started by IAI in 2013 that brought together different actors from across both sides of the Mediterranean. There are strong political reasons for this. Its history is rooted in the two World Assemblies of Habitants that we co-organized during the WSF in Tunisia in 2013 and 2015.


Mike DAVIES, Anglophone Coordinator of Africa International Alliance of Inhabitants, Zimbabwe

Propositions for activities of the Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants

Develop relationships with organizations of inhabitants and migrants, analyze shared problems, work to training, mobilise international support from alliances.


Cesare OTTOLINI, Global Coordinator, International Alliance of Inhabitants, Unione Inquilini, Italy

Defining a Common Path 2019-2021 to build a Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants

Some key points for the proposal of strategies: the inhabitants must be the protagonists of the struggles and proposals in order to re-exist (resist neoliberal and racist policies in order to exist in the cities and territories)

A shared roadmap to the Founding Meeting in Marseille, June 2019.


Panelists


Abdellah ALLALI, President of the Moroccan Network for Decent Housing, Morocco

Ilham TARHZOUT, Moroccan Network for Decent Housing, Morocco

Towards the creation of a Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants: The contribution of RMLD

  • Presentation of the Moroccan Network, objectives and strategy: the fight against speculative property construction, and participation in the city’s public policy. Constraints and challenges since the adoption of the national strategy against slums in 2004. But this type of housing has not yet been eradicated.Presentation of the legal framework of the right to housing in Morocco. The reference to legal instruments and human rights treaties exists. However, there is a lack of legal framework and the implementation faces localized obstacles, although it is the responsibility of the state.

Ilhem BEN SALAH, President of the Commission on Participatory Democracy, Governance and Anti-Corruption in the Municipality of Ariana, Tunisia

Participatory Approach in the Municipality of Ariana

Establishing better governance in the municipality, integrating citizens, especially those with low participation (women, youth, people with disabilities, association) into decision-making processes by installing effective participatory mechanisms are among the objectives on our list, having a majority in the Ariana City Council.


Mohamed Kouraich JAOUAHDOU, President of the Association Action Associative, Tunisia

The Municipality as a reflection of its participatory democracy

When we talk to a municipality today, we will need to simply ask them what participatory mechanisms it uses, so that we can also tell them what kind of  municipality they are: the kind of municipality we want to help and even keep, or the kind of municipality we want to see disappear forever.


Mouna MATHARI, President of the Media, Communication and Evaluation Commission for the Municipality of La Marsa, Association of Citizens and Solidarity, Tunisia

Local power tested by reality

On May 6th, municipal councils were elected for the first time by universal suffrage in Tunisia. We are faced with the need to provide answers to our fellow citizens living in large disadvantaged areas, and to build urgent policies for social cohesion.


Pedro Martin HERAS, Plataforma Afectados por la Hipoteca, Espagne

Towards a Mediterranean Network of Inhabitants iSi, se puede!

The PAH is a citizen movement composed of some 252 nodes, which fight for the right to housing in Spain. I am personally involved in this initiative because I believe in it. I encourage you all to put energy into this project. Because as they say in the PAH… iSI SE PUEDE!


Fatou DIOUF, Internationale des Services Publics, Sénegal

Travailleurs-es et habitant-e-s, résident-e-s et migrant-e-s : uni-e-s!

L’ISP est une fédération internationale qui regroupe des syndicats des services publics avec plus de 20 millions de travailleuses et travailleurs à travers le monde. Les travailleurs des services publics sont ainsi les premiers à être en contact avec les migrants.

Fatou DIOUF, Public Service International, Senegal

Workers and inhabitants, residents and migrants: United!

The PSI is an international federation of public service unions with more than 20 million workers worldwide. Public service workers are thus the first to be in contact with migrants.


Mouchrik ELMOSTAFA, Moroccan Network for Decent Housing, Morocco


Il(la) Traduttore(trice) Volontario(a) per il diritto alla casa senza frontiere dell’IAI che ha collaborato con la traduzione di questo testo è

Heather Sherlock

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