The Breakfast Series began by Ms. Ramdas’ opening address in stating the vision of Ford Foundation of creating a society that embraces diversity, equity and creativity by combating spatial inequalities under the new Urban Agenda. She emphasized the importance of including youth and women at not only consultation stages in anti-inequalities policy formulation, but also in the decision-making process. To support such vision as well as the formation of Habitat III’s Zero Draft, she concluded her speech by assuring Ford Foundation’s full commitment in this regard. The Panel Discussion commenced with the Moderator’s speech, stating that notwithstanding spatial inequalities have been an issue, gender or income-based inequalities persist. Note that inequalities are narrower at upper strata of the society, she then urged civil society and member states to work collaboratively to put their attention on young women that face both poverty and gender-based discriminations. From NGOs’ perspective, Ms. Katcha stated that rather than dwelling in the Zero Draft’s details, it is more important currently to shift our focus to high-level political negotiation since the effectiveness of any commitment on the Zero Draft could not be translated into reality without member states’ recognition, adoption and proactive participation. In addition, note that the New Urban Agenda is a strategic transformation that engages the Sustainable Development Goals, the Agenda must shed light on improving urban-rural linkage since gender-based inequalities differ at urban and rural settings and it is only by doing so can we align to SDGs’ principle of “leaving no one behind”.
At the grassroots level, Ms. Thross expressed her concerns over the persistence of routines and bureaucracy that exist not only in national governments, but also the United Nations, whereby hindering grassroots and civil society to channel their voices to the power-holders. In response to this, Ms. Katherine suggested to formalize the relationship between governments and civil society under the new Agenda. Also, she pointed out that besides young women, the current Agenda has completely left behind elder women; note that its population is projected to thrive, it is of urgent need for the new Agenda to incorporate discussion over them in its formulation. Concluding the meeting was the Moderator’s remark in suggesting the importance of globalizing the new urban agenda, that is, to contextualize its content prior to its adoption at local level.
Meeting: Habitat III Civil Society Breakfast series on critical issues in the New Urban Agenda – Gender and the New Urban Agenda
Date/Time/Location: Wednesday, 8 June, 2016; 08:00 – 10:00; 11/F, Ford Foundation
Speakers: Ms. Kavita N. Ramdas, Former Representative of Ford Foundation at New Delhi, Ms. Violet Shivutse, Moderator; Shibuye Community Health Workers, Ms. Denini, Representative from Maasai Women Development Organisation (MWEDO), Ms. Katcha, NGO representative, Ms. Thross, invited participants from an African grassroots community, Ms. Katherine, Former Diplomat
Written by: Raphael LEUNG
Edited by: WIT Administrator, Modou Cham