36th AESOP Annual Congress 2024 Paris, France
“GAME CHANGER? Planning for just and sustainable urban regions”

Shifting the power at local level is a game changer

 Organizers :  

  • Frederique Hanotier, Human Rights Cities Network – Director  

There is a need to empower cities and their communities to defend local democracy, protect human rights and build a sustainable future. Urban areas are where the potential for innovation lies to solve global challenges, creating the ground for sustainable urban development in respect of human rights. The urgent transitions require a direct action at local level and innovative forms of urban governance integrating cross-cutting policies and participatory democracy approaches. Liveable cities imply good public services, a redistributive economy, active citizenship and more solidarity. 

To take up the challenges aiming at guaranteeing the access to human rights for every citizen, cities need more and better sustainable urban development, and above all good monitoring and assessment instruments. 

The session will raise awareness on the power of local authorities to adopt a human rights-based approach in their public policies, thus enhancing urban equality, diversity and democratic participation. Shifting the power at local level and to empower urban community is a game changer.

The interactive roundtable will include four speakers and a professional moderator:  The Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights and board member of the HRCN, Olivier De Schutter, will focus on local government's needs and priorities to ensure a more equitable and sustainable urban governance. The HRCN Director will explain how cities can be a game changer in implementation a human rights-based approach in their public policies and introduce a monitoring system to  regularly evaluate their achievements and analyse the influence of their work in making human rights a reality for the people. 

A representative from a Human Rights City will show case of concrete sustainable urban initiative based on human rights. 

The European Association for Local Democracy (ALDA) Secretary General, Antonella Valmorbida (tbc), will present how cooperation between local governments and civil society can make a difference in promoting human rights as a game change in urban development. 

The aim of the panel discussion is to bring different perspectives and to get some pointers to why and how to engage the key actors at urban level in advancing human rights through their public policies and advancing a sustainable urban development through participative and inclusive democracy.

Keywords:  Human Rights; Urban governance; Participatory democracy