Leading the way in Latin America, Brazil is starting a major new campaign to upgrade its urban areas by bringing concrete improvements in security of tenure, public safety, municipal finance and participatory urban governance. Just a day after World Habitat Day on Monday 6 October, the National Front of Mayors, the Ministry of Cities, the National Forum for Urban Reform and UN-HABITAT signed a historic agreement, committing them to these improvements. They signed a Letter of Commitment of Cities for Regularization of Tenure and Urban Governance paving the way for Brazil’s urban population to enjoy the full benefits of their citizenship rights in equality.
According to an analysis supported by the National Front of Mayors, the main problems in Brazil’s cities, 25 per cent of which have slums, are linked to irregular land occupation, alarming levels of violence, particularly in poor areas, and a lack of access to credit and funding for urban infrastructure. The analysis recommends that the approach to addressing these problems must have at its core, programmes to regularize tenure, ensure public safety, give the poor access to credit, and provide funding for urban infrastructure. It further recommended that participatory urban governance must be promoted.
The signing ceremony marked Brazil’s launch of the National Campaigns for the Regularization of Tenure and Good Urban Governance. The campaigns, whose participation includes the federal government, municipalities, members of civil society, the private sector and UN-HABITAT, will raise awareness and disseminate information on key urban issues. It will also execute joint demonstrative projects at municipal level. The campaigns also provide mechanisms for monitoring, assessing and reporting back on progress in realizing the goals outlined in the Letter of Commitment, and for coordinating sectoral and individual city efforts at a national level.
“Brazil is now providing leadership to the region in the introduction of social programmes like Hunger Zero (Fome Zero) and the creation of mechanisms to better attend the growing needs of the population,” said UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka. “We see with great satisfaction the creation of the Ministry of the Cities, to lead the process of improving the living conditions of millions of Brazilians, so they can have better housing, infrastructure and community services, as Brazil becomes more and more of urbanised.”
Mrs. Tibaijuka lauded the collaboration among actors in the public sector, civil society, the private sector, and representatives of the urban communities themselves. It is this cooperation that has ensured the successful launch of the Campaigns for the Regularization of Tenure and Good Urban Governance. The campaigns show how UN-HABITAT’s Global Campaigns for Secure Tenure and Good Governance can be applied at the national and local level.