With the theme “City for people, not for private business affairs”, the National Forum for Urban Reform (FNRU) Conference took place on August 8th-10th in Rio de Janeiro. Approximately 300 representatives from more than 50 organized civil society entities, beyond those that make up FNRU’s coordination, participated in the event.
The Conference began on the 8th with ActionAid’s launch of the “Safe Cities for Women” campaign and was followed by a public audience for the launching of the Urban Reform Platform. Afterwards, there was a public lecture on the relation between political reform and urban reform, with José Antonio Moroni, from INESC/Platform of Social Movements for Political Reform (Plataforma dos Movimentos Sociais pela Reforma Política), as the guest speaker.
The second day of the conference began with a roundtable discussion on the challenges of urban reform in Brazil and role of FNRU with guest speakers João Sette Whitaker (FAU-USP) and Carlos Vainer (IPPUR-UFRJ). During the afternoon, members of FNRU worked in groups dealing with 5 issues related to urban reform struggles in Brazil and the world. The event ended on the 10th with a plenary discussion on the results of the working groups and the deliberation of proposals.
According to Donizete Fernandes, from the National Union of Popular Housing (União Nacional de Moradia Popular – UNMP), “FNRU’s national conference is important because it joins people from a country with continental proportions in order to find solutions and create proposals for urban reform”
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Updating the Urban Reform agenda:
The Conference is a privileged space for collectively debating revisions to FNRU’s platform. The main items on FNRU’s agenda which will be discussed include: (i) the structuring of a national policy on urban development and a system of urban development with the potential to broaden democracy and justice in policies for the cities; (ii) the social control and the debate on the substantial investments in urban development; (iii) the implementation of the City Councils in states and municipalities, consolidating the democratic-participatory process of debating urban issues; (iv) the regulation of the National Council of Cities through a bill, guaranteeing the deliberative character of the Council; (v) the implementation of a National Policy for Basic Sanitation and a National System of Environmental Sanitation, implicating the elaboration of national, state and municipal Environmental Sanitation Laws, which are against the privatization of sanitation; (vi) the adherence to the social function of the city, through measures such as: the immediate suspension of evictions in large urban infrastructure projects; the destination of empty or underutilized public buildings for social interest housing purposes and other social needs of the city’s residents; first-rate, sustainable and cheap public transportation; the end of the genocide of the young black population in the peripheries.
What is FNRU:
The National Forum for Urban Reform is an articulation of Brazilian organizations. It unites popular movements, workers associations, NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and research institutions that defend and promote the right to the city through public policy claims seeking to advocate urban reform in Brazilian cities.