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Call for contributions to the next UN Report on the Right to Housing and COVID-19

The recently nominated UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing Balakrishnan Rajagopal has launched a call for contributions to his next report to the UN General Assembly (October 2020) on “COVID-19 and the right to housing”. Local and regional governments are encouraged to send their contribution to this report, in order to showcase both the challenges encountered as well as the initiatives put in place in order to protect this right and fulfill housing’s social function in the context of the pandemic. More information on how to send a contribution can be found below. 

The report intends to “reflect on the importance of housing adequacy to ensure protection against COVID-19 and on the transformation of the home during the pandemic”. It will focus on topical issues such as “measures taken to prevent and stop evictions of tenants and homeowners (...) and to protect various groups at risk of marginalization, including persons living in situation of homelessness and in informal settlements”. It will also address with specific emphasis the situation of “children, women, older persons and persons with disabilities at their respective place of living” and analyze “medium and long term interventions that are required to protect during and after the crisis the right to housing for all”. 

Interested local governments will find more information on participation modalities in the following site. Topics of interest and guiding questions prepared by the UN Special Rapporteur are included in the same link. The deadline for sending contribution is the 19 June. Short submissions containing hyperlinks to relevant documents, statistical data, public regulations and legislation are particular useful. We invite you to send your inputs to srhousing@ohchr.org and registry@ohchr.org by putting citiesforhousing@uclg.org in copy to showcase #CitiesforHousing contributions to the report.  

An opportunity for local and regional governments to continue shaping the global agenda on housing #CitiesForHousing

As recalled by many local and regional governments (LRGs) over the last months, housing plays a central role in understanding and addressing the social crisis caused by COVID-19, particularly at the local and territorial level. As such, LRGs have been leading extraordinary measures throughout this period, including moratorium of evictions and rents payment, providing emergency shelter to people who are homeless or protecting victims of domestic violence.   

UCLG and its Committee on Social Inclusion, Participatory Democracy and Human Rights have been providing a platform where to showcase these challenges and initiatives, but also to discuss ways forward and shared strategies to advance housing’s social function in the aftermath of the pandemic. You can find a report of the latest UCLG Community of Practice meeting on housing here and a report of the Live Learning Experience on housing here (both focused on COVID-19 impact over local housing systems and its aftermath). 

In this context, the call for contributions by UN Special Rapporteur Rajagopal offers an excellent opportunity for local governments to continue shaping the global agenda on the future of housing and human rights; a process initiated back in 2018 with the adoption of the Cities for Adequate Housing Declaration that has regained momentum due to the unprecedented context posed by COVID-19. 

In case you are interested in joining this work or the Cities for Adequate Housing Declaration, reach citiesforhousing@uclg.org