The Global Platform for the Right to the City (GPR2C) has been invited by United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) to facilitate a thematic Town Hall process during 2022. The goal is to foster shared narratives and concrete recommendations from civil society organisations and other actors towards its 7th UCLG World Congress (October, Daejeon, South Korea), in a similar manner to what was done in 2019 around the right to the city. For this year, the theme to be covered by the GPR2C will be the Commons, building on the efforts carried out for the thematic paper published last year and other relevant contributions from multiple organisations and networks.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its related crises have underlined what is essential to our everyday lives, fostering a debate on what should be considered as part of the commons and what should be the role of the public sector in fostering the protection and collective management of such goods and resources. Historically, the debate over commons has pointed to the importance and possibilities for collective management of shared land and natural resources. Now, with the impact of the pandemic, it has never been clearer that basic services such as access to adequate housing, water and sanitation, health, nutritious and sustainable food, and public transport that are indispensable to protect the lives and livelihoods of people should be delivered and protected in a manner that ensures their decent delivery to all. Finally, an increasing debate over the material dimension of commons has been emerging, touching upon topics such as shared knowledge, digital rights and the right to connectivity and the right to quality time, among others.
In the face of rising levels of exclusion and inequalities, the theory and practice around the commons introduce approaches towards collective management of essential goods and services that are increasingly commodified. This Town Hall will explore the local public services of the future and debate around the new essentials to transform the relationship between society and the commons, including specific mechanisms to expand public-communities partnerships that protect and strengthen them. The idea is to provide local and regional governments with concrete recommendations on what role they can play in fostering the commons at the local level, complementing and reinforcing the debates being developed in the other three Town Halls, focused on government and trust; caring systems and climate and culture. This months-long process will offer diverse online and in-person opportunities to participate and make relevant contributions.
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