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Ibero American and Caribbean Forum of Best Practices
Human Settlements for a more sustainable future
3, 4 and 5th November 1997
Cuesta Blanca, Cordoba, Argentina
Organized by El Agora
Olga Facucher and Adolfo Rittiner
Adhesions and sponsorship
This Plan includes a preamble and chapters in which goals and
principles, commitments and concrete actions are analyzed. They are
subdivided as follows:
Since Istanbul, the participating countries and institutions accepted the challenge of implementing the accomplished agreements and conversion of the proposals into concrete actions.
The creation of this program operates as a facilitator for the
implementation of the HABITAT Agenda, through the exchange of
knowledge and technical experiences compiled from ongoing and/or
carried out projects; that is to say, from concrete practices that
significantly impact on improving the life quality on human
The Best Practices initiative was conceived during the preparation
process of Habitat II, in order to identify solutions to some of
the main social, economical and environmental issues that today
urge the world in its fast process of urbanization.
In May 1995, the Habitat Second Preparatory Committee adopts
criteria for the determination of Best Practices and an information
form unified to document initiatives. It is also established a
schedule for Special Prizes, which in 1996 already had its first
development in the Summit for the City Habitat II.
As an incentive to attract initiatives and recognize the efforts to
improve the conditions of human settlements in 1996, a postulation
of Best Practices was summoned. Its recognition was made concrete
in the First international Prize for the improvement of life
conditions. The 12 winning practices - out of 600 proposals -
received their US$ 30.000 prize in Istanbul, during the development
of Habitat II.
In February 1996, during the meeting of PREPCOM III in New York,
the government of Spain declared its interest on helping to
consolidate the PMPL in Latin America and the Caribbean. This was
consolidated in an agreement of cooperation signed between the
Spanish Ministry of Economic Development, The Spanish Agency of
International Cooperation (AECI) and the United Nations Centre for
Human Settlements (UNCHS - HABITAT).
The establishment of an Ibero American and Caribbean Forum of Best
Practices and the possibility to develop activities - this Seminar
- Workshop is one of them - is sustained by a donation for that
purpose by the Spanish AECI. The first step for the establishment
of this forum was taken in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) by means of the
first preparatory meeting in May 1997, organized by the IBAM
(Brazilian Institute of Municipal Administration). The IBAM plays
the rol of Regional Center of the BLP in Latin America and the
The Forum's main objective is to promote a network for the exchange and transfer of information, experience and technical specialization derived from the different practices. The final purpose is to create an exchange base north-south, south-south and north-south for urban solutions.
The forum will focus on the analysis of current practices and new
initiatives, with an aim on extracting learnt lessons and promoting
the transfer of those lessons through exchange, formation and
creation of activities for the development of local leaders.
In order to facilitate the accomplishment of these objectives, The Forum established a secretariat ad interim with seat in HABITAT (Brazil), and subregional nodes. Activities for the consolidation of the Forum were programmed at the meeting in Rio; that is how the subregional seminars of communication, analysis and exploration of transfer capacity of already listed Best Practices appeared. In the framework of this work program, the Argentinean ONG EL AGORA was proposed as subregional node for the South Cone (Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina) to carry out this Seminar.
It is also seek, in parallel, to gain attention from the communication and opinion media, so as to promote the objectives of the Program of Best Practices and to launch the 1998 prize summons.
Urban poverty and civic security are critical issues of our time.
The future of our cities - environment where most of humanity will
live on the next century - depends on our successful confrontation
to these challenges.
The fundamental problems of urban life are each day more complex,
and the social tissue of most cities presents itself each time more
fragmented and stratified. This turns cities into spaces highly
vulnerable to violence, isolation and loss of security of both
people and human groups inhabiting it.
The struggle against urban poverty and the achievement of safer
cities are challenges that compromise the whole of humanity. To
successfully overcome these issues we need to rely on the
experience of those individuals and organizations compromised with
the achievement of a better life quality, with respect for
differences, with equity, with social integration, creating
networks and building new solidarity. These are issues that concern
us all, and we can all participate by bringing possible solutions.
In the last decade it is manifest in our region the
quali-quantitative growth of poverty, and the society tissue seems
to disappear at a trace always faster. These situations make an
unfavorable impact on the life quality of human settlements. In
this context, it is necessary to redefine the local, individual and
personal content of security.
Security, understood as a public asset, requires services linked to
the demands and responsibility of citizens. From this perspective,
it is closely related to human rights, constitutional law, civil
and administrative law, to the way in which individuals and
organizations react to transgressions, to the way of transmitting
conflicts to the police or to justice, and to the options selected
to overcome them.
The city is a good place to recognize and confront those issues
related to people's security; and the construction of a civic
ethics, social participation and the legitimacy of institutions to
solve conflicts and obtain greater consensus are in the base of
policies against violence
Violence is built and activated when exclusion is produced:
exclusion from the system of belonging, retaining, identity, from
the system that holds a member to his group, his community, and his
country. Therefore, inclusion becomes the fundamental significant
that represents the movement of linkage with the law, culture,
interpersonal relationships, and symbolic order. It is an indicator
of mental health.
Therefore, and in order to understand security issues - urban
insecurity - it is necessary to comprehend and make explicit the
meaning and consequences of the processes of exclusion and social
segregation and, from that point on, imagine improvement mechanisms
and strategies. The point that allows us to articulate the axis:
urban poverty and civic security are the layout of security as a
Poverty is not a cause of violence rather than part of it: the most
disfavored sectors of the population also suffer the consequences
of criminal action: further more, they are the main victims for
police violence, an element that greatly contributes to the feeling
of civic insecurity.
It is a mistake to outline the thematic of security exclusively
associated to the care and protection of some sectors' material
assets. It is illusory to suppose the elite will be protected if
all the inhabitants of a city do not feel protected.
The inclusion of all social sectors as beneficiaries of security is
an important item to be taken into account when designing public
policies of integration to the citizenship; policies to which the
private initiative and civil society organizations should also
The great challenge for achieving equity resides then in rescuing
a social project and renovating the political system by deepening
the practice of democracy. As Jorge Casta.eda says, "Democracy will
not solve all the problems by itself, but without it there are no
The treatment of the subjects urban poverty and civic security in
the framework of this Seminar Workshop pointed to focus our
"magnifying glasses" on the search of demonstrative experiences
developed in our region around this problems. Also, to stimulate
their diffusion, to promote reflecting on the actions we have been
able to generate, and to build new solidarity.
After the reception and accreditation of the participants coming
from Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina, the Seminar Workshop
for the South Cone Subregion began. In the opening there were
present representatives from the municipalities of Cordoba, Villa
Maria and Buenos Aires and from the commune of Cuesta Blanca. There
also participated representatives from the Chamber of
representatives of the Argentinean Nation.
The opening words were in charge of Claudia Laub, President of El Agora - the institution organizing the meeting. Lic. Laub welcomed the participants and settled the development of the seminar, referring to the selected subjects and El Agora's methodology as an ONG that propitiates open dialog and the development of Forums, specially related to civic security and the construction of citizenship. She considered these issues as fundamental for the democratic consolidation en the South Cone region.
After the opening of the Seminar Workshop, its first activity began.
The panel "Refreshing the Istanbul 96 compromises on promotion of
The following people were panelists, representatives of organisms
and entities related with the Seminar's thematic:
The SEHAS representative, Marta Baima de Borri commented on her
participation in the Commission that had in charge the preparation
of the Report that the ONGs from Argentina presented in HABITAT II
(Istanbul). She also made an analysis on the contents and follow up
of the HABITAT Agenda in Argentina.
Mister Pedro Plaza spoke on behalf of the Union of Base
Organizations for Social Rights, and referred to his experience in
Istanbul as a very profitable experience that he was able to
transmit to the other leaders of Base organizations he coordinates.
He asked for a further follow up of the HABITAT Agenda by the
Governments, and he hoped for this meeting to contribute to the
recognition of practices that many sectors are carrying out on the
subject of urban poverty and civic security.
Once the subjects related to the HABITAT Agenda were outlined, and
after the public could acquaint with its reach by questioning the
panelists, the first part of the Panel was declared finished to
then introduce the guests that exposed on civic security.
Lily Ann Gauthier, representative for the International Center for
Crime Prevention, outlined a short panorama of the CIPC objectives,
which has as fundamental goal to help cities and countries to
reduce delinquency, violence and insecurity by focusing
international know how on prevention. She remarked that in the last
few years, the concept of best practices is growing a reputation as
a solid tool for optimizing resources. In this context, the CIPC
decides to create its office of Best Practices, with the aim of
identifying, organizing and disseminating successful experiences on
prevention. They have just published a recompilation entitled "The
Hundred Best Practices throughout the world". The book gathers
practices that turn out to be successful in reducing insecurity,
violence and criminality. Its diffusion tries to stimulate the
multiplication of successful experiences as an invitation to
"The integration of security to policies of development" was the
title for the paper by Michael Marcus, representative for the
European Forum of Civic Security. He stated that today it is
necessary for the policies of insecurity reduction to appear as
essential components to policies of development. He also pointed
out that the implementation of this policies should integrate the
concept of democracy in their most nearby, definite expressions so
they can be visualized by the citizens as a concrete answer to
their everyday problems. An important part of social development
contributes to the reduction of insecurity; therefore, it is
necessary to elaborated policies more focused on the dissuasion and
repression of delinquency. Most poor sectors of our society are
often given responsibility for being the main generators of civic
insecurity; but this concept does not contemplate that these
sectors are also victims of urban violence. Security, considered as
a common asset, becomes a joint patrimony of society; therefore, it
is the whole of society that should recognize and legitimate the
norms defined or controlled by the public authority. He referred to
the concept of "governance" of safety to declare that its
accomplishment is subject to a series of actions that involve not
only civil society but also different state services, and requires
the articulation of all sectors in government. Security is
therefore co-produced. And its co-production is conceived and set
in motion in the bosom of a process of coordination on different
scales and diverse levels of importance. He finished by defining
the contents of a local policy of security, and pointed out the
following issues: to provide people with security, to make spaces
safer, to regulate conflicts and strengthen the application of the
As a closing for the activities of the first day, Mr. Miguel Angel
Carrillo, from the Spanish Ministry of Economic Development,
settled the actions of the Ibero American and Caribbean Forum in
the context of the HABITAT Agenda. He pointed out the objectives
that lead it beyond the program for Best Practices, stressing the
reach of the slogan "Human settlements for a sustainable future".
He declared that the conclusions from this seminar would be
incorporated to the general Plan of the Forum in the next meeting
in Cali, and he suggested that the participants elaborate proposals
to provide the initiated actions with continuity. He also
considered highly recommendable the creation of a Secretariat for
the South Cone, which might serve as link and a dynamizer for the
Forum between the countries that conform the subregion.
Tuesday, November 4th
This title was the premise for working during the morning of the
Seminar's second day. The activity consisted on the presentation of
practices related to urban poverty and civic security. The main
objective of this activity was centered not only in the need to
stimulate a movement of exchange between the authors of the
practices, but also and fundamentally in the generation of a
process of reflection and reciprocal formation that allows an
elucidation of its sense. And thus, to understand how could they be
articulated to each other, which are the common axes that go
through them, which are their possibilities of generalization onto
other sectors and countries, all this settled in the perspective of
creating a South Cone network for this purpose.
It is explained to the participants that the selection of these 9
practices to be presented does not answer to criteria of "best"
practice but, simply, there have been chosen two by country, which
will be presented in two stages.
In the first one 4 practices were presented (one for each country participant in the meeting) related to the diminishing of civic insecurity. These were:
In the second stage of this activity, the experiences exposed are
more related to the thematic of urban poverty and the strategies to
diminish it. 5 practices were presented:
Building commitments for the future
With the purpose to follow the recommendations made by the integrants of the Ibero American and Caribbean Forum, Stephen Walsh and Miguel Angel Carrillo, on the need to act in pursuit of the institutionalization of the South Cone Region looking out on a more fluent participation in the framework of the Forum, two work commissions were organized which had as specific objectives to elaborate proposals on the following subjects:
Structure of the subregion, Contents and thematic cores, Financing strategies and outline of a schedule for next year.
After a fruitful exchange of ideas they join in Plenary and then both groups present their proposals, which in most cases agree.
Wednesday, November 5th
Agreements and commitments
Last day's work was focused on the elaboration of the Final Report
for the Seminar of the South Cone subregion, which will be
submitted to the Ibero American and Caribbean Forum for Best
Practices as a contribution to the meeting in Cali.
These conclusions and the mailing of all participants are reproduced next.
The Seminar Workshop ended leaving its participants with the
feeling of having participated in a meeting supported by an
ambiance of openness and good-fellowship. The informal meetings
occurred during breaks also contributed to this collective creation
where humor, singing and chatting allowed to shorten distances and
tighten bonds between intervening institutions and represented
|Documentos > Foros > Foro Iberoamericano y del Caribe sobre Mejores Prácticas > http://habitat.aq.upm.es/fi/g007_eng.html|