Over 30% of Brazil’s population of nearly 180 million lacks access to decent housing and, consequently, lives in subhuman conditions in nine metropolitan areas, in addition to BrasÀlia and Manaus, according to data from Brazil’s Ministry of Cities.
This situation is the result of the urbanization process that has occurred in the country during the last 50 years.
Approximately 82% of the Brazilian population is currently concentrated in urban areas, whereas the global average stands around 50%, according to the United Nations (UN).
In his address yesterday at the II World Urban Forum in Barcelona, Spain, the Brazilian Minister of Cities, Olívio Dutra, claimed that transcending this model – which, in his view, leads to social exclusion and an increase in poverty and violence – requires a pooling of efforts by federal, municipal, and state governments, together with the participation of civil society.
Dutra’s speech dealt with the theme “Local Authorities’ Forum for Social Inclusion (FAL).”
The next edition of the World Urban Forum will be held on January 24-25, 2005, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, parallel to the World Social Forum.
The FAL was founded in Porto Alegre at the beginning of 2001 by 180 mayors and representatives of cities from Europe, Latin America, and Africa.
According to the Minister, the forum represents an important instrument in the search for alternatives to exclusive globalization, which is “dictated by the market” and “income-concentrating.”
The local administrators who gathered at the first edition of the forum formulated the Porto Alegre Letter, which defines cities as “important instruments to halt the processes of social exclusion and to develop policies and provide responses to the problems that block citizenship.”
Dutra also pointed out that the proposal of the FAL is for leaders to play the role of builders of government policies aimed at development with social inclusion, capable of guaranteeing access to the goods essential for a decent life.
“It is necessary to dream about another globalization, that goes beyond the current economic domain, that is consistent with democratic local, regional, and national decisions, and that ensures the sustainable development of the planet,” he emphasized.
Reporter: Juliana Andrade
Translator: David Silberstein