RMIT researchers have contributed to a new UN declaration that says Indigenous equality is the key to sustainable urban development.
Professor Ralph Horne was one of three academics invited by UN Habitat to present and participate in a discussion about Indigenous rights to adequate housing at the recent World Urban Forum held in Medellin, Colombia.
"The session was full and the debate lively, with many pressing issues raised for Indigenous housing rights around the world," Professor Horne said.
"The panel then contributed to the UN Habitat World Urban Forum Medellin Declaration on the status of gender, youth and indigenous equality in cities."
Professor Horne is Co-Program Leader of Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures in RMIT's Global Cities Research Institute, and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research and Innovation, for the College of Design and Social Context.
The panel session was the first time the World Urban Forum had hosted an Indigenous Housing Roundtable.
RMIT University was well represented at the forum, which is the world's premier urban event.
The forum included four dedicated events by the Cities Programme, the urban arm of the UN Global Compact, which is hosted by RMIT.
Deputy Director of the Global Compact Cities Programme, Elizabeth Ryan, organized a panel on Innovative Cities, where city government executives presented models of socially inclusive urban development in Barcelona (Spain), Bogotá and Medellín (Colombia), and Porto Alegre (Brazil).
Ms Ryan said there was much to be learned from socially-focused urban innovation in Latin America, "a fact that was acclaimed by many of the 37,000 people who went to Medellin".
Researchers from RMIT who have been working with the World Vision International Centre for Expertise in Urban Programming took part in a discussion panel outlining their collaborative work on the challenges facing cities.
RMIT's Sandra Moye and Loreto Fuentes (TECHO) at the World Urban Forum, Medellin, Colombia. Photo: Sandra Moye.
A new research methodology focusing on "Just Cities for Children" was unveiled, with Dr Liam Magee among the researchers who presented and discussed the interim findings of their work.
RMIT researchers also led a session on food sovereignty and fair food systems, which featured Australian best practice and also included speakers from South Africa, Italy and Egypt.
Following her attendance at the forum, food sovereignty session chair Julia Laidlaw, from the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, has begun working on the establishment of an international food network in partnership with the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance.
In another event, researcher Sandra Moye presented the results of her work from the Sustainable and Affordable Social Housing research project, which is being conducted in Chile in collaboration with the Latin American non-governmental organisation TECHO.
Urban Food Workshops
Some of the research and learning from Latin America will be presented in a series of upcoming workshops at RMIT.
Julia Laidlaw will lead the first workshop, on "Food Insecurity Mitigation Strategies in Medellin, Colombia", at 4pm on Wednesday, 30 July, in RMIT Building 13, Level 4.
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