Issues Home About Contact Us Issue 11 - November 2014 عربى


Economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) issues related to habitat in the Middle East/North Africa (MENA) region form a microcosm reflected in the global agenda.

Every issue of Land Times draws the link between those regional and global issues that run the entire gamut of housing and land rights struggles. Land Times also chronicles these through transitions and upheavals that have emerged from internal and external factors.

However, Land Times No. 11 bears a special significance in relating the regional to the global. It weaves a unique fabric from the local and global strands of thought, debate, political currents, social movements, policy processes and practices that now promise to shape our common future.                         

The growing movements related to the “right to the city”—variously defined in the Terminology Corner—link both the expectations of the region’s constitutional reform processes as they apply to the global process toward Habitat III (2016).

The evolving conceptual clarity from the social-production-of-habitat experience and other practices that rationally localize self-determination in filling human needs clearly have spread also to the discourse on food security and city-region food systems. Those lessons come none too early to MENA, which region is among the most food-import dependent in world at a time of climate change uniquely combining the risks of water stress and drought, with projected decreases in crop yield.

The region is also the theater of several human-made protracted crises—cited here in the cases of Gaza (Palestine), Syria and Iraq—that call for creative solutions, beyond the current failed paradigms. Yemen is undergoing everything from civil war to transitional justice at once. The same inventory of challenges is also global.

This issue stands as a special reflection on the relationship between the MENA region’s habitat issues and the current global processes. In that very spirit and theme of HLRN’s forthcoming Land Forum V for the MENA region (Tunis, 5–7 December 2014), this issue of Land Times dedicates itself to “Taking It to the Next Level: Local Issues in Global Processes.” It prepares readers—and Land Forum participants—with the information needed for civil society actors to contribute to much-needed solutions that realize a “human rights habitat” for all.


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