The 13th WHRCF’s Theme Confirmed
"Urban Poverty and Inequalities"
On February 24, the first meeting of the Planning Committee was held online to decide on the overall theme of the 13th Forum. The process of choosing the theme has already begun last year, aiming not only to reflect the main global agenda but also to ensure the voices of citizens are heard. Last September, the International Advisory Committee consisting of human rights experts made six proposals to the WHRCF Secretariat on the theme. These were put to a vote during the last Forum. Following the Planning Committee meeting and International Steering Committee meeting, the options were narrowed down into two, tentatively titled 1) Poverty and Inequality - Human Rights Cities' Response, and 2) Cultural Rights and Human Rights Cities.
During the first Planning Committee meeting, the Committee members closely reviewed each theme to make a final decision. In case of the first proposal on poverty and inequalities, the majority agreed it would be a timely topic, given the fact that economic polarization and inequalities have increased all over the world after the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also mentioned that the discussions taking place during the Forum could feed into international discourse and decision-making. On the other hand, the second proposal was considered innovative and interesting as it recognizes the right to enjoy culture from the human rights perspective and aims to identify the role of cities in protecting and promoting cultural rights. However, questions were raised as to whether cultural rights must be urgently addressed at this point, and whether it is a universal issue both developed and underdeveloped countries can relate to.
After in-depth discussions, the theme of the 13th Forum was finally decided as "Urban Poverty and Inequalities." The agenda of poverty and inequalities is also expected to draw a lot of attention and support from citizens, as it was ranked first in the vote held last year. Under the main theme, we aim to define poverty from human rights perspectives and discuss local policies and practices in response to the human rights issues caused by poverty. The theme will be linked with various sub-areas such as food, energy, climate change, COVID-19 and health, as well as children and youth.
The Concept Note is expected to be announced shortly on the WHRCF website.
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