Helping people in cities live safely and in dignity in the face of the climate crisis

1 November 2021

Cities worldwide are increasingly suffering the effects of the climate crisis. People who live in poverty in urban environments are particularly at risk, their situation made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.

In cities across Latin America, local experts you support are helping people to access safer housing, to live in dignity, and to protect our common home.

How you can take action during COP26

Brazil: Converting a hotel into sustainable housing

A balcony at Hotel Lord marked with graffiti

Hotel Lord in November 2019 before renovation.

In São Paolo, Brazil’s largest city, campaigners supported by our partner Semeando resisted eviction from the Hotel Lord, a luxury hotel that had been abandoned. Pressure to secure government funding means that the hotel is now being converted into social housing.

Hotel Lord

Work is almost complete on Hotel Lord now.

Once the conversion is finished, over 176 families will be able to live there, paying a fraction of what they would to live in overcrowded accommodation far from services on the outskirts of the city. What’s more, the redevelopment will benefit the environment in a number of ways - when complete, the building will include a roof allotment and recycling points.

Pray for our common home during COP26

Peru: Using fog to preserve the land

Sheets hanging from tall poles on a hillside to collect moisture in the air

An example of a "fogcatcher" outside Lima.

Lima, the capital of Peru, is surrounded by a fragile ecosystem consisting of hills, or ‘Lomas’. The fog that appears during the winter provides a unique way for local plants and animals to flourish, but a recent UK study has shown the extent to which these areas are under threat from the climate crisis and housing development. 

Ascencio, a community leader from the Lomas de Primavera Ecological Association, has campaigned tirelessly for the preservation of the Lomas. An innovative system of ‘fogcatchers’ has now been installed, to capture water from the fog and irrigate and conserve the local area.

A man kneels down in front of some plants holding a large paper document.

Ascencio is an environmental defender protecting the Lomas mountains in Peru.

The right to decent housing

Peru is one of only two countries in Latin America yet to include people’s right to safe, dignified housing in its constitution. Through your support, local organisation CIDAP co-hosted an international event this week to try to change this. Members of the Peruvian Congress were present at the event along with other international organisations and the UN Special Rapporteur on Housing, Balakrishnan Rajagopal, who said: “The right to housing is a constitutional right, but also a human right.”

DESCO - another CAFOD partner based in Lima - is also co-organising an online event on 7 November as part of the COP26 Coalition People’s Summit. You can register now for the event, titled Climate justice and human rights to habitat in Latin American cities, which will tackle what urban communities can do to combat the climate crisis. 

This month, as the eyes of the world are on our leaders in Glasgow, we need to ensure that the voices of those most affected by the climate crisis are heard - including people living in cities.

Join the Day of Action for the Climate on 6 November

Sunday 31 October was World Cities Day

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