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The Rights Approach through the "Bogotá Humana" Development Plan

From September to December 2015, the UCLG Committee on Social Inclusion, Participative Democracy and Human Rights and the District Secretariat for Social Integration (SDIS) of Bogotá monitored the public policies on Early Childhood, Ageing and Older People and Homelessness, implemented by the Bogota City Hall, in the light of guaranteeing the Human Rights mentioned in the Global Charter-Agenda for Human Rights in the City

The intention was to study how local social policies are sufficient to actually guarantee the rights listed in that Charter, and to provide feedback to the Charter. To that effect, an interdisciplinary and international team analysed the way in which these public policies have contributed to make progress in guaranteeing human rights for the people of Bogota.

Towards a new construction of the public sphere

In the last decades, inequality grew around the globe, particularly in metropolitan areas, where thousands settle in their runaway from poverty, wars, climate change aftermaths and abandonment of rural development policies by states. Neo‑liberal policies contribute, to a large extent, to exclusion, as they base urban development only on a competition for investments and market profitability among large metropolis.

These policies call for austerity and significantly limit the capacity of public entities to act and redistribute wealth to meet the growing social demand. Within this context, the resources of local governments have become increasingly scarce to face the challenges of a growing population, in terms of access to public services, planning and housing policies, etc. According to UN‑Habitat, in many cases urban inequalities are greater than national inequalities.

However, many people still see cities as their hope to have access to better living conditions and opportunities. People aspire to a Right to the City: an environment to exercise and assert rights as a way to ensure an equitable, universal, fair, democratic and sustainable distribution and enjoyment of the resources, wealth, services, goods and opportunities.

In view of these aspirations, some local governments, rejecting the fatalism of economic austerity and using their imagination when in power, have shown their commitment to develop the right to the city in concrete terms and to make the city territory a place where rights are asserted. These local governments are committed to fight inequality and have agreed with citizens to re-establish social and spatial justice.

Bogotá Humana

Bogota is a clear example of how a local government may work towards the Right to the City, contributing to create a metropolitan area where rights may be exercised and asserted, and where the Right to the City is progressively realised.

In 2012, Bogota started outlining social inclusion policies as as a citizen active move towards the guarantee of their rights by appealing to the "Road of Rights". With that in mind, they have focused the management of public matters on rights, thus updating the local social contract with citizens. 

Starting from the observation and analysis of social inclusion policies in the city of Bogota, this report is intended to show the lessons learnt from the "Bogota Road of Rights" to shed some light on the Local Governments that take the road of promoting, protecting and guaranteeing the right to the city.