|Latin America and the Caribbean|
||To celebrate World Habitat Day, the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires, organized a workshop titled, “Integrated Response to the Housing Problem in Argentina”. The main themes discussed were the urban land reform; the right to the city; human settlements; social, economic and environmental sustainability; the housing shortage and the current housing laws in Argentina. Among the participants, were the Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Argentina, the dean of the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires and a representative from the International Alliance of Inhabitants.
|Brazil||The Brazilian Institute of Architects (Instituto de Arquitetos do Brasil - IAB), a Habitat Agenda Partner, will hold a round-table session about the Architecture of the City, in celebration of the World Habitat Day on 2 October.|
Several activities took place in Cuba on the occasion of World Habitat Day. The main activity was organized by the National Institute for Housing where WHD speeches of the United Nations Secretary-General and UN-HABITAT's Executive Director were read. Other interventions were from UNDP's Deputy Resident Representative and the director of urbanisation from the Institute for Physical Planning. The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of the National Habitat Awards. The event was widely covered by local television and radio.
In the city of Santa Clara, a conference was held at the Centre for Capacity Building Agenda21. Local academics and other officials discussed human settlement subjects such as urban sprawl, migration, environment and water.
As in the previous years, the World Day of Habitat in Cuba will be celebrated by a central activity that consists of a special meeting of the National Committee of Habitat. The preliminary program of this meeting includes: reading of the Message of the ED of UN-Habitat; speech from the Resident Coordinator of United Nations; information on the Campaigns of UN- Habitat in Cuba; information of the Programs of UN- Habitat in Cuba and awarding of the National Distinction Habitat.
||Forums and roundtables were organized in Costa Rica on the occasion of World Habitat Day. Among the main themes discussed were the need for action to attain the Millennium Development Goals at city level; urban viability; sanitation and slum upgrading.
In Bogotá, a workshop on this year's theme, "Cities, Magnets of Hope" was organized to mark World Habitat Day. The focus of the workshop was the analysis of the current status of Social Housing in Colombia by several of its actors and stakeholders including the government, academia and developers. Among the speakers, were the Vice Minister for Housing, representatives of local Universities and other institutions involved in social housing promotion, financing and development as well as the UN-HABITAT Programme Manager.
In Quito, the inhabitants of the Vista Hermosa neighbourhood with the help of the NGO Quito para Todos (Quito for all) and UN-HABITAT, used the opportunity of World Habitat Day to strengthen their campaign to claim back public space by organizing a cultural event. Activities included tree planting in the park, local artists teaching children, flea market and a musical and puppet show. The event was attended by the neighbours of Vista Hermosa, local authorities and was covered by national media.
The event was also an opportunity to publicize one of the campaign's recent successes, the rehabilitation of a local street as a public space. The street was being used as a parking lot. Future projects include road safety improvements by reorganizing current traffic patterns.
See Press Article
In coordination with UN-HABITAT's Programme Manager, activities lined up to celebrate this year’s WHD in Ecuador include movies highlighting urban issues as well as artists’ impressions in the informal settlements aimed at sensitizing the local population about the value of public space and the need to act as a community in order to improve. The works are also intended to stimulate authorities’ assistance to neighbourhoods through a demonstration of people can do.
There will also be a Cooperation agreement between the cities of Esmeraldas and Cuenca. The objective is to promote cultural and commercial exchange between a city with mostly "amerindian" population (Cuenca) and a city with mostly "afro-ecuadorian" population (Esmeraldas). Expected participants include association of migrant populations.
||In Guatemala, more than 3,000 people demonstrated in the streets of Guatemala City. The demonstrators chanted slogans against forced evictions and advocated for the formalization of "illegal" settlements. The march arrived at the "Palace of Justice" where a delegation of the protesters entered the National Congress Premises and delivered a proposed housing and land reform bill. The proposal includes the creation of a Ministry of Housing financed by 5 per cent of the national budget. If the bill is implemented it is expected that the housing deficit gap can be closed in 20 years.
|Mexico||The President of Mexico has been lined up to award a Habitat Prize as part of the celebrations marking this year’s WHD in Mexico City. Also to give out a prize is the minister for social development who will hand the Habitat University award. In the works is a proposed publication on Local Economic Development as well as a videoconference with Ministers of Latin America to discuss gender and habitat. The celebration in Mexico is coordinated by our Habitat Programme Manager.|