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From Rome via Canton; together, let’s build the 2011 Assembly

It has now been six months since the IAI, in agreement with its Chinese and European partners, decided to follow up on the talks between China and Europe that were launched in 2007, by participating in the Third Biennial of the China-Europe Forum previewed for July 2009 .

For many reasons beyond its control, and in particular the influenza A virus (H1N1), the workshop that the IAI should have held in Canton on the right to housing and the city, at the same time as all the other workshops and plenary sessions throughout China (and which represent at least 20 socio-professional categories), have all been pushed back to July 2010.

After an expected moment of disappointment, given the partners’ strong desire to participate, as well as the immense ground that has been covered over the past months, the IAI considers the additional time granted as a chance to set an even more solid foundation for Canton 2010, with all the elements on hand to make this event a major success and a moment of powerful dialogue.

It is with this goal that the IAI has decided to act speedily and to provide a true continuity to the talks, by including it in the global discussion, which the World Assembly of Inhabitants has been holding over the past few months. It is an initiative to which over 200 inhabitants’ organisations in over 40 countries have currently subscribed; and which has also received the support of all the major international networks for the right to housing that were present during the 2009 WSF. Of course, we cannot forget the support of the Local Authorities’ Forum and some universities.

To do this, the IAI has mobilised its partners around the writing of a new long-term project that will structure concepts, activities and results, and will rest on the achievements of the 2007 Rome workshop , through the July 2010 China-Europe Forum meetings , with a final view towards the 2011 World Assembly of Inhabitants, which will take place in Dakar, Senegal.

The main idea of the project is to strengthen the foundations of dialogue among the social and institutional actors in China and Europe that are involved in the right to housing and the city, through the construction of participation spaces and meetings dedicated to civil society.

All this will occur with the utmost respect for diversities, cultural richness and the rhythms of everyone. A dialogue that concerns inhabitants’ organizations and their partners in China and Europe, and one which fits in perfectly with the global debate on the role of inhabitants as the builders of the cities of the future.

This ambitious project will be hosted by the IAI, and is based on the spirit of the China-Europe dialogue promoted by the FPH Foundation and the Charter of Principles, and also proposes different stages of importance.

In particular, the project makes provisions for various key meetings that should foster, and enrich the dialogue as well as make it express its fill potential.

- A preparatory international meeting at the World Assembly of Inhabitants in Europe in Bobigny, France, in November 2009, which will bring together the Pilot Committee,

- A preparatory international meeting at the World Assembly of Inhabitants within the World Urban Forum; which will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in March 2010;

- A meeting to prepare the Canton “Inhabitants” workshop and with a view to the World Assembly of Inhabitants, which will be held in the same place, in Canton, China in May 2010,

- A first exchange and training session for actors interested in self rehabilitation housing cooperatives simultaneously with the previous meeting, to examine some themes in more depth and to prepare concrete actions for the future;

- The “Inhabitants” workshop as part of the Third Biennial Meeting of the China-Europe Forum in Canton, China, in July 2010,

- A second exchange and training session for actors interested in the right to housing and the city at the same time as the “Inhabitants” workshop;

- And finally, participation in the World Assembly of Inhabitants in January 2011 in Dakar, Senegal, concomitantly with the World Social Forum.

These different exchange and meetings will also be the occasion to work to produce, systematize and disseminate materials and good practices on the right to housing and the city in the countries concerned. The materials will be added to a functional virtual space on the dialogue between China and Europe on the IAI and the China-Europe Foundation websites.

This project is far from finished, nor is it fixed; it will progress continually. It needs to be regularly assessed and shared with the current Chinese and European partners, as well as with all the other new partners who wish to be part of the initiative, and in particular, with the local authorities and universities, to develop a partnership capable of implanting and making this process viable in the long-term.

We welcome all proposals, suggestions and forms of willingness!

Contact: info@habitants.org

Find here the chinese translation of this article:

从广东到罗马 ; 让我们同心协力建立 2011 年世界居民大会

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

Arleene McFarlane