Maputo May 7th, 2010: WCCA Campaign Workshop Declaration

By StreetNet International
August 30, 2011
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The participants at the World Class Cities for All Campaign Workshop, bringing together the StreetNet International Council members representing 385 622 members from 37 affiliates in 33 countries, from Africa, Asia and Latin America), representatives of the Global Unions (BWI,IUF,UNI,PSI,IMF) and SATUCC, representatives of street vendors in South Africa and Mozambique, meeting on 6-7 May, in Maputo, Mozambique, hereby adopt the following statement:

"Nothing for us without us!"

Street-trading is not a crime. For those born into the survivalist economy, with limited opportunities for education and skills training, street-vending offers the chance to gain a basic income and feed and shelter a family. The great majority of street vendors are women, struggling on the margins of urban life, whose primary aim in life is to raise their children with as much dignity and care as they can provide.

The increase in the number of people engaged in street vending is a consequence of privatisation and is a response to the global financial crisis. Street vendors in developing and transition countries are in the process of building democratic organisations, with young workers and womens committees, which can represent their interests to municipal and national governments and to international organisations, such as the ILO. StreetNet International, founded in 2002, seeks to strengthen national organisations and to represent street vendors at international level. (See Resolution and Conclusion of the ILO Conference 2002 on Decent Work and the Informal Economy).

Street vendors have a basic set of demands which unite us throughout the world. Governments, whether at national or municipal level, should recognise the economic and social value of street vending and adapt the regulatory framework, urban planning schemes, small business development programmes, policing, water, sanitation and rubbish disposal services to take into account the needs of street vendors. Street vendors, through formal or informal systems, are subject to licensing fees and taxations. If a fair, accountable and transparent system of regulation is in place, street vendors can contribute but, in turn, street vendors should be entitled to the benefits that a State provides.

Street vendors are workers and, like every worker, are entitled to decent employment, including security in terms of workplace spaces, social protection, including health and accident insurances, maternity entitlements, disability allowances, child care and retirement pensions. These are not dreams! They can be achieved if governments and municipalities are creative and resourceful and develop mechanisms for social dialogue and negotiation with street vendors organisations.

That is why one of the basic demands of StreetNet is to establish bargaining forums at municipal level, the focus of the campaign which will take place from now until May 25th all Africa Day.

The FIFA games in South Africa were billed as an opportunity for all Africa, and specifically to create jobs, social housing and improved public transport in South Africa. This workshop has heard testimonies of how the FIFA Local Organising Committee has created exclusion zones around the stadiums, fan parks and public viewing areas, where only official sponsoring organisations can trade. Where does that leave us? Where are the opportunities for the South African, refugee and migrant communities to benefit from the FIFA games?

Some municipalities in South Africa are reviewing this decision and seeking to set up spots for street vendors but this has only been because of the concerted pressure of the street vendor organisations and is a case of too little, too late. It is the big food chains, the official sponsoring organizations, which are entitled to trade near the Stadiums, and their trade will not benefit poor Africans but global capital.

This workshop demands:

  1. South African host cities during the FIFA games, work with the local vendors organizations, representing some of the poorest and most marginalized communities of the urban poor, to give them the trading opportunities, service delivery and other support they deserve.

  2. Governments at national and municipal level agree to set up street vendors bargaining forums in order to develop policies and programmes which support street vendors and provide them with social protections.

  3. Future FIFA agreements, and in particular the agreements for the FIFA games in Brazil in 2014, provide specific arrangements to permit local street vendors, through their representative organizations, to benefit from the trading opportunities the FIFA games offer and to set up bargaining forums in all the host cities.

Nothing for us without us!
Maputo May 7th

What is the World Class Cities for All Campaign?

The WCCA Campaign was launched at COSATU House in 2007, by StreetNet International, and other organizations of urban poor, including slum dwellers, migrant and refugee communities. With the South Africa FIFA World Cup in 2010 in mind, its aim is to help create greater global awareness about the need to rethink urban planning and services so as to actively support the needs and interests of informal economy workers and indeed create World Class Cities for All.

Governments hosting international sporting events seek to advertise their host cities as "World Class Cities" which are capable of attracting foreign investment; have modern-up-to-date infrastructure; smooth traffic flows; and no visible poor people or social problems. Municipalities attempt to "clean up the streets" through slum clearance programmes, which often increase the numbers of homeless, evict or relocate street vendors, and disperse street children, vagrants and sex workers. Such policies result in greater competition for the few livelihood opportunities remaining, and also result therefore in increased incidence of xenophobic attacks against migrant communities.

The WCCA campaign seeks both to organise and to strengthen the coordination between the most marginalised groups of urban society and to channel and support their demands to the municipal and national authorities. The campaign has a particular gender focus, as it is women who have less representational space, are most likely to loose their livelihoods as street vendors, or need protection from trafficking or xenophobic attacks.

The WCCA campaign has also been launched in India, in the context of the Commonwealth Games in 2010. Lessons learned from 2010 will be used in establishing other campaign countries and in the context of the 2014 FIFA Games in Brazil.

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