— by Mindahi Bastida
Habitat III in Quito 2016 is a wonderful opportunity to participate in an inclusive process where all voices are to be heard and taken into account for international policy regarding urban development for present and future generations and livelihoods.
YouthHAB UN has been a key initiative where indigenous inclusion has become a reality. The Indigenous and the City Declaration was the result of a process of three amazing meetings carried out between April and October 2016. The three of them were organized by Youth Habitat-UN Unit and indigenous organizations together. The first “Indigenous cities” event took place in Toluca, Mexico within the Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Meeting on Housing and Urban Sustainable Development Habitat III, on April 19, 2016. Many indigenous youth participated and the Consejo de la Nación Otomí was the co-organizer.
The second one took place in New York within the 15 UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on May 13, 2016. Here also young people from around the world, who were participating in the Permanent Forum, shared their ideas, experiences, and recommendations. The co-organizer organizations were the Otomi Regional Council of Alto Lerma and the Center for Earth Ethics.
The third event took place in the beautiful Kichua city of Otavalo in the Otavalango Museum, on October 11 and 12, 2016. The presence of many youth from indigenous peoples’ communities from different countries from Latin America gave to the event not only an intercultural taste but a high quality of participations.
The final Indigenous and the City Declaration was presented on October 13, 2016, by the Otomi Mindahi Bastida, the Kichua Luzmila Zambrano and the Mapuche Cecilia González in the Escuela Politécnica Nacional in Quito in the Habitat III context and also in the Habitat III Conference.
The main recommendations are that indigenous peoples have the right to the city and also the right to self-determination and that Habitat III final declaration must acknowledge indigenous peoples’ collective rights and the rights of Mother Earth.