UN-HABITAT’s Advisory Group on Forced Eviction (AGFE) met for the first time on 5 March 2005 at the organizations headquarters in Nairobi. UN-HABITAT sees the monitoring of forced evictions as an essential component for the successful implementation of the Habitat Agenda. In her welcoming address, Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, UN-HABITAT’s Executive Director challenged the group to address the voice of the urban poor who are in urgent need of adequate shelter and some form of secure tenure.
The AGFE was established at the request of the Governing Council of UN-HABITAT as a way of alleviating the plight of the urban poor by monitoring acts of forced evictions. In particular, it is seen as an important element of the Global Campaign for Secure Tenure which is committed to ensuring that the poor are not arbitrarily evicted. In cases where eviction cannot be avoided, the campaign recommends that resettlement should be undertaken through community participation with provision for some form of alternative land with long-term security. By spearheading the fight against forced evictions the group would advise the Executive Director on dynamic ways of addressing the problem.
The members of the AGFE include representatives of civil society, local authorities, central government and professionals. All of whom bring with them enormous experience, knowledge and vast network of partners. This first meeting discussed methods for establishing mechanisms to alert the international community about evictions. Resolutions and research need to be urgently translated into action plans to deal with the growing cases of evictions around the world. The group will present its first report at the Second Session of the World Urban Forum in Barcelona in September 2004.