The Montreal Declaration on Metropolitan Areas brought several advances to debate around Right to the City, especially about the New Urban Agenda building. The document was prepared during the latest Habitat III Thematic Meeting, held in Montréal (Canadá), on October 2015.
The “Fostering metropolitan cooperation for sustainable urban development” statement incorporated proposals of GPR2C (Global Platform for the Right to the City), defended in the civil society group.
The GPR2C emphasizes this important step forward. All the members and entities involved consider that progress has been made regarding the proposals of the Global Platform Right to the City for the treatment of metropolitan areas in the New Urban Agenda. Some of GPR2C proposals defended in the civil society group the Thematic Conference have been incorporated on this Declaration.
One of it is the principle of cooperation and solidarity in the actions of the municipalities, that can be seen into “Metropolitan planning in support of sustainable communities”:
“If metropolitan areas are well planned and developed, e.g. through integrated participatory planning, solidarity and management approaches, they can help promote local, regional and national communities that are economically, socially, culturally and environmentally viable.”
One special topic is about the inclusion of the principle of participation and direct democracy in the management and planning in particular metropolitan areas. Regarding the right to the city is recognized the importance of this right in metropolitan policy in paragraph 26:
“We Recognize the importance of placing the right to the city for all in the center of metropolitan policies, to combine citizen participation with the right to education, health, housing and work, and the recognition and respect of differences in order to promote cohabitation, conviviality, the strong metropolitan identity and a strong sense of belonging.”
Check the main points spotlighted by GPR2C:
Metropolitan planning in support of sustainable communities
- If metropolitan areas are well planned and developed, e.g. through integrated participatory planning, solidarity and management approaches, they can help promote local, regional and national communities that are economically, socially, culturally and environmentally viable.
The right to the city
- We recognize the importance of placing the right to the city for all in the center of metropolitan policies, to combine citizen participation with the right to education, health, housing and work, and the recognition and respect of differences in order to promote cohabitation, conviviality, a strong metropolitan identity and a strong sense of belonging.
Metropolitan cooperation and governance
- Amid increasing urbanization, metropolitan cooperation may help to address issues extending over local boundaries in several strategic areas with a view to ensuring the competitiveness, attractiveness and social inclusion and cohesion of the entire metropolitan area, in keeping with sustainable development principles.
Metropolitan governance requires a clear legal and institutional framework, based on principles of democracy, respect for local autonomy and subsidiarity. This framework must be provided with appropriate funding, which involves coordination mechanisms and sectorial policies (infrastructure, economic development, environmental, social and cultural policies). Cooperation at the metropolitan level should be based on the representation of all citizens and stakeholders, despite their different mobilization, resources and engagement capabilities.
This framework and cooperation would facilitate land use planning including the construction and operation of public transit, reduce disparities in public service provision, help manage urban growth, facilitate land use coordination with transportation projects and protect and enhance natural assets.
New partnerships for metropolitan governance mechanisms
- National governments, together with local, regional and metropolitan officials, must develop cooperation mechanisms to meet the urbanization and sustainable development challenges they face. Such partnerships may include metropolitan governance mechanisms aimed at reinforcing metropolitan management capacity, managing sustainable urban growth, coordinating land use and transportation projects, strengthening the control of speculation and security of land tenure, promoting economic development, supporting social and cultural diversity, fighting against social exclusion, fostering resilience to disasters and protecting and enhancing natural environment and heritage , for example. This will entail higher levels of democracy, public participation and decentralization policies.
Shared vision and multi-level collaboration
- The Montréal Declaration on Metropolitan Areas recognizes that, to meet challenges and opportunities of global urbanization, all levels of government will have to share a common vision in order to establish coherent strategies aimed at implementing the right to the city and improving the quality of life in urban, peri-urban and rural areas.
Relationship with all levels of government
- If we are to meet these many challenges, we must step up our relationships with all levels of government. This is a necessity because economic, social, cultural and environmental development is governed by interdependent public policies. Metropolitan areas thus require cooperation, integration, solidarity and concerted action from all levels of government.
Comprehensive partnership agreements
- The Montréal Declaration on Metropolitan Areas recognizes that multi-level metropolitan cooperation partnerships (MMCPs) should be implemented to promote the benefits of metropolitan cooperation. MMCPs are intended to improve the standard of living and quality of life of metropolitan citizens.
They also aim to:
Role of metropolitan areas
- Recognize the role of metropolitan areas in the sustainable economic, social, cultural and environmental development of urban and rural areas and countries
Importance of business, labour and community stakeholders
- Recognize the importance of business, real-estate sector, labour and community stakeholders, particulary from education, civil society, social, cultural and environmental sectors, as well as from urban networks, as partners in implementing MMCPs.
Effective metropolitan governance
- Implement effective metropolitan governance structures, mechanisms and arrangements aimed at facilitating the adoption and monitoring of successful policies that meet the challenges of sustainable, safe and equitable urbanization, in particular access to water, energy and sanitation as well as the fight against and adaptation to climate change.
Research- based knowledge
- To invite local, national and international authorities to work with universities to transform their knowledge and innovation capacities into concrete action to benefit citizens and help authorities in their search for better governance.
Governance, democracy and international cooperation
These multi-stakeholder partnerships should be based on principles of good governance and democracy that ensure citizen participation, access to information, transparency and accountability, either in formal and informal arrangements. They must also be part of a commitment to international cooperation between metropolitan areas to ensure better sharing of expertise, to promote social innovation and access to new technology, to strengthen their management capacity and to increase solidarity.
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