United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN HABITAT)
Agenda Item: Movement of Landless Rural Workers: Occupation and Struggle in Brazil
Under-Secretary-General: Ceren Aydoğmuş
Academic Assistant: Ayla Altunlu
UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme’s main goal is to promote socially and environmentally sustainable living places all around the World particularly in developing countries.
The historical background of the UN-Habitat starts on 1 January 1975, when the UN General Assembly established the United Nations Habitat and Human Settlements Foundation (UNHHSF), the first official sub-body of UN dedicated to urbanization. The precursors of the UN-Habitat were created in 1976 in Vancouver, Canada. When the first international UN conference -Habitat I- to fully acknowledge the challenge of urbanization was held. As the majority of the rural areas have been consistently minimized and urbanization process gained speed after 1990’s, UN Habitat initiatives on ameliorating human settlements came up to voice. From 1997 to 2002, Habitat decided to focus on sustainable urban development and to make necessary changes in its structure. On 1 January 2002, Habitat’s mandate was strengthened and UN-Habitat, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme was officially created. UN-Habitat is also gained from other internationally agreed upon development goals, including those established in the United Nations Millennium Declaration.
The agenda of the committee ‘’ Movement of Landless Rural Workers: Occupation and Struggle in Brazil ‘’ is derived from the latest controversies held in Brazil. Movement of Landless Rural Workers (hereinafter will be referred as MST) was born from the concrete, isolated struggles for land that rural workers were developing in southern Brazil at the end of the 1970’s and was officially founded in 1984. One of their significant event was the Justice and Agrarian Reform where marchers simultaneously left various states and arrived in the capital city of Brasilia on April 17, 1997 exactly one year after the massacre of 19 workers in Eldorado dos Carajas, Para. This event was needed according to the extreme poverty and distress of 4.6 million landless families and 55.000 rural properties defined as unproductive.
The less civil society participates in politics and operations, the higher risk of states’ oppression appears. As Movement of Landless Rural Workers uprising had influential social impacts especially on Brazilian citizens; they became to be seen as powerful actors towards heads of state regarding to implementation of urban planning and land reform settlements. Besides, their members and officials became a bridge between government and civil society in order to manage relevant agent in relation to the conception and implementation of urban planning and management strategies. But in following years, MST started protests and occupation meetings as opposed to Brazilian government. These conflicts between government and members of MST; caused serious damages to Brazilian nationalists, in particular, rural people and tribal communities. Also, these damages brought about unexpected infrastructure works. This body will tackle the latest of several violent crackdowns against social movements by Landless Rural Workers (MST) members reportedly without arrest warrants. Moreover, members of this body will be seeking resolutions for national, legal and institutional innovations included investment programmes and social activism for upgrading in Brazil. Body will determine how to manage negotiation between Brazilian government and officials of MST.