The Office of the Pilot Plan for Implementing Universal Basic Income under the Ministry of the Presidency, and the Directorate General for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights under the Ministry of Equality and Feminisms, organised the conference “Universal Basic Income, an Emerging Human Right” on Wednesday 20 September, at the Administrative District building.
The conference was held with the aim of advocating for Universal Basic Income (UBI) as an emerging human right. The event included several round-table discussions to analyse the implications of this right in different areas such as the environment, childhood and adolescence, and the sustainability of cities.
The event began with a presentation by the Deputy Ombudsman of Catalonia, Jaume Saura, and featured other experts. Members of the technical team from the Office of the Pilot Plan for Implementing Universal Basic Income of the Government also participated. The conference was open to the general public.
At the closing of the event, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Equality and Feminisms, Georgina Oliva Peña, stated that “this celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Declaration must compel us to review those commitments, with a 21st-century perspective, to continue advancing in the guarantee of the rights of all individuals”.
“The emancipatory potential of Universal Basic Income, of a minimum economic cushion, provides the opportunity for everyone to break free from the situations of economic dependency and labour exploitation they may find themselves in, which are often exacerbated by different starting conditions, influenced by our gender or origin, among other factors. Universal Basic Income can, therefore, be an essential element in advancing towards equality for all people living in our country,” emphasised the Secretary-General.
She also added that “universal income is either feminist or it won’t exist at all. The income will contribute to eradicating the feminisation of poverty in our country, but we must be vigilant to ensure that it does not perpetuate other inequalities, such as the continued burden of domestic work on women”.
At the beginning of her speech, the Secretary-General of the Ministry of the Presidency, Núria Cuenca, emphasised the need for events like this in the face of “soundbite politics” to enable us to “debate, discuss, educate ourselves, and exchange opinions”. “The world is turning faster and faster, so it’s important that we can visualise the future and make transformative proposals like universal basic income”, Cuenca stated.
“Many of the rights we now take for granted were initially constructed in spaces of debate, in spaces of struggle, and also in spaces of hard work and dedication”, the Secretary-General stated. She further emphasised that they have become consolidated because “someone envisioned them, gave them content, and fought over the years for them to be ultimately globally accepted”. This reaffirms the government’s commitment to the “well-being of its citizens”.
The head of the Pilot Plan Office, Sergi Raventós, indicated that the suggestions made during the conference will be included “in a document that we will publish soon”. After praising the coordination between the two government ministries in organising the event, he mentioned that in the coming months, events will be held which “address what universal basic income might mean in areas such as culture, in an event that we will hold on 10 October in Girona, or for young people, in an event on 16 October”.
A year of events to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UDHR
Today’s conference is just one of the activities organised by the Directorate General for the Promotion and Defence of Human Rights under the Ministry of Equality and Feminisms of the Government of Catalonia to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), adopted in 1948. The aim is to bring the UDHR and human rights closer to citizens in their most contemporary interpretation, advocate their relevance, and raise awareness of the need to guarantee them.
The highlight of the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will take place on International Human Rights Day, 10 December, with the opening of the “Deixem-hi empremta” (Let’s leave our mark) exhibition on emerging human rights at the Palau Robert in Barcelona.
The events commemorating the 75th anniversary of the UDHR are part of the Human Rights Strategy of Catalonia approved by the Catalan Government last February. The strategy aims to strengthen the defence and promotion of human rights in all areas under the jurisdiction of the Generalitat. Its main objectives are to assess the implementation of the Catalonia Human Rights Plan 2020-2023 and draft the Human Rights Strategic Plan for 2030.