Sustainable cities and Human Rights dialogue

PUEC conducted a research for amplifying the knowledges of cities and human rights enjoyment.
According to the national ombudsman, this research will be a watershed for policy makers at different public levels.

 Promoting a dialogue between human rights and urban planning, Nacional Commission of Human Rights (CNDH), the University Program of City Studies (PUEC) and the Division of Postgraduate Studies of the Faculty of Law convoked an academic meeting the past 24th May, which principal purpose was to promote better practices for policy makers and the exercise of human rights at the urban context at Mexico.

Luis Raul González Pérez, president of CNDH, expressed that more than three quarters of population lives at cites and that this situation represents important challenges. Cities are one the most important scenarios to demand and exercise human rights, specially economics, social, cultural and environmental rights. However, Mexico is still a country where this is hardly visible. According to CONEVAL, 68 percent of the population who inhabits at cities lives in poverty conditions.

In this sense, the president of the ombudsman affirmed that CNDH recognize the importance of collaborating with other institutions to understand the impacts of urbanization over exercising our fundamental rights at Mexico. Expressed that last year was signed a specific agreement with PUEC to develop a research: “This is a first approach for promoting sustainable cities and placing human dignity as central aspect at urban planning, development and management”. He sustained that this study was planned as a watershed to promote and help policy makers at different public structures, it is expected to be divulgated to federal, state and local governments and federal dependencies related with territorial and urban planning, environmental affairs, water and housing.

Professor Armando Soto, member of the Division of Postgraduate Studies of the Faculty of Law, expressed the importance of asserting human rights at metropolis, guarantying our present needs but without compromising future generations.

Javier Delgado, director of PUEC, stated that urban sustainability-human rights duo is imperative to face the present socio spatial inequalities: “It is necessary to keep walking into the tasks that implies the construction of the city from a Right of the city´s perspective as a social right, and that structure human dignity as a central piece of the debate.” He also pointed interdisciplinary as an indispensable aspect to analyze urban problems and social participation.

During the presentation of the study “Sustainable cities and human rights”, Javier Delgado exposed the principal results of the study mostly related with urbanization process and the exercise of human rights, but also the principal problems of different cities concerned to housing, water, mobility and environment. He concluded with several proposals related with the promotion of rights, and the design and implementation of social and urban policies from a human right perspective not supported on the commodification of urban areas and services.

The academic meeting promoted a discussion where the principal topic was how to ensure a full enjoyment of human rights at cities. Dr. Jorge Ulises Carmona, Sixth General Visitor, indicated that it is mandatory to stablish connections between institutional normativity and the compromises derived from the Constitution and international agreements. Architect Carlos Zedillo, Coordinator of the Research Center for Sustainable Development of INFONAVIT, asseverated that corruption is the main limiting factor to accomplish human rights, its democratization should always be related with different mechanisms. Dr. Javier Delgado added that social and economic inequalities are factors who determinate its exercise. Ricardo Mejía Zayas, General Adjunct Director of the General Direction of Territorial Ordainment at SEDATU, adverted the importance of the territorial vision for human rights and the necessity to abandon a sectorial vision. Finally, Dr. Oscar Torres (PUEC-UNAM), who participated as research during the execution of the study, expressed that the imposicion of a budgetary based vision inhibits a full exercise of economic, social, cultural and environmental rights.


Programa Universitario de Estudios sobre la Ciudad.
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

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