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Women leaders on Wednesday commended UN Habitat for helping achieve gender equality through its projects.

Catherine Holt, an official of Huairou Commission, said the projects run by the UN agency has contributed immensely to supporting inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities for human settlement.

“There is a need for governments to create an enabling environment through sound public policies, effective urban planning, design of inclusive public urban spaces, investment in public infrastructure and affirmative to help eliminate all forms of violence against women,” Holt said during a women caucus side event at the UN Habitat Assembly in Nairobi.

The official noted that the UN agency has over the years undertaken equality between men and women and women’s empowerment in its policies, programs and projects.

“It is advisable that UN-Habitat accelerate these efforts to reach many people and also help find lasting change,” Holt added.

The delegates called on UN Habitat executive board to strengthen and support UN-Habitat in mainstreaming equality and women’s empowerment in UN-Habitat’s normative work and operational programs in all key focus areas and setting up of policies and programs to support efforts to achieve equality and women’s empowerment within existing resources.

“Persistent gender-related inequalities between women and men, marginalization and systematic discrimination of women in human settlements hamper their full enjoyment of human rights,” Holt said.

The delegates noted such discrimination is likely to be an impediment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda.

They further called on the UN-Habitat to mobilize adequate resources for gender mainstreaming within the organization’s programs and activities.

“There is an urgent need to share knowledge of sustainable urban development that is responsive to the needs of women in order to improve the efficiency and impact of programs and activities globally,” Holt noted.

She observed that besides engaging other stakeholders, there is need to include grassroots women and community-based organizations as they are equally better placed to create meaningful and lasting change in societies. Enditem

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