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PR No. 152 PAKISTAN TO SUPPORT THE NEW URBAN AGENDA OF UN HABITAT FOR SUSTAINABLE URBANIZATION: MARVI Islamabad

Minister of State and Chairperson BISP MNA Marvi Memon represented Pakistan and was head of the delegation of NDI on Global Women’s Leadership Program at Surabaya Indonesia for the third session of the Preparatory Committee for UN Habitat 3.

            This Prepcomm3 is the last meeting before the once in 20 year meeting to be held next in Quito by Inhabitant where the New Urban Agenda will be finalized in October2016. MNA Marvi Memon made a statement on behalf of Pakistan in the opening plenary session along with a few select other countries on July 25. 

            She was accompanied by the Pakistan delegation which included Feriyal Aslam from PIDE and Pak professor Shahed khan as well as the NDI delegation with parliamentary members from Ukraine, Nigeria and Myanmar.She stated that Pakistan has made commendable efforts towards implementation of Habitat – II Agenda, since the second United Nations Conference on Human settlements (Habitat – II) held in Istanbul n 1996. She said Pakistan was one of the most urbanized nations in South Asia and its urban population has increased from 43.0 million to more than half between 1998 to 2014 and is expected to become pre-dominantly urbanized by the year 2025.

            She stated that Pakistani Government had launched Vision 2025, a perspective plan, which has implications for managing urbanization as well as changing urban demography. The vision envisages a people centered and inclusive approach to urbanization. She said that Programs like Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Pakistan’s largest social safety net for the poorest of the poor women living in rural and urban Pakistan are critical for this New Urban Agenda. BISP customers or beneficiaries are likely to reap the most benefits once cities in Pakistan become sustainable as per the new Urban Agenda. Being the only custodian of the gender issues and women empowerment of Pakistan we at BISP in Pakistan will be key to ensuring gender equity whilst cities develop in Pakistan. BISP through its e commerce initiatives and microcredit interest free loans is empowering women in the rural and urban spaces. However the big shifts to the cities will be well managed by BISP’s latest poverty census expected to be completed in early 2018. Creating safer violence free rbanization especially for the vulnerable women is a key challenge for Pakistan which BISP through its advocacy will manage well in coordination with the provinces and federal ministries like Finance, Planning Development, Foreign Affairs, Climate Change, Housing and Works and PM Youth program. 
She said that To overcome housing backlog the government has taken initiatives like construction of low cost housing under a dedicated Prime Minister’s Program; Apna Ghar Scheme in Punjab and similar programs in other parts of the country. Integrated Mass transit System, Metro Bus and Metro-rail in major cities are being developed at a very fast pace; so far the Mass transit Metro Bus system is successfully working in Lahore and Islamabad.

            She stated that Pakistan has been fortunate that due to the visionary leadership of PM Nawaz Sharif and successful economic management of the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, the economic indicators have greatly improved in the last three years and the economic successes have been well acknowledged by the international community. As a result, pursuing the new Urban Agenda of UN Habitat 3 is a reality Pakistan is well on its way to managing.

            She stated that “Pakistan is committed towards making Pakistan’s growing cities safer, sustainable, economically productive, and equitable for the rural and urban vulnerable societies so that Pakistan wins and we win collectively globally as well meeting the global targets and challenges. And so that we in Pakistan fulfill our long term responsibility. And so that 20 years later Pakistani cities are model sustainable cities in line with UN Habitat New Urban agenda.”

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