Informal Consultations
Committee of the Whole
Thematic Committee
Parallel Events
Parallel Event

Local Government Implementing the Habitat Agenda:
The Gender Perspective

Parallel event


A. Introduction
1. Wednesday, 6 June 2001, 14:00 - 16:00 Room 8
2. Organized by the International Union of Local Authorities (IULA), in partnership with WACLAC and UNACLA
3. The Executive Director of UNCHS (Habitat) Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka, in her opening statement acknowledged the key roles of IULA and WACLAC in the creation of UNACLA. She also praised the role of IULA in bringing the subject of women in local government to widespread international attention through its Worldwide Declaration on Women and Local Government in particular. She linked this work of IULA to the UNCHS (Habitat) Global Campaign on Urban Governance, and mentioned the Policy Dialogue paper on Women in Urban Governance, which was distributed. In her opening speech, the Executive Director also launched the IULA publication, Local Governments Working for Gender Equality, which was supported by Habitat and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
4. 60 participants attended the event.

B. Discussion
Mayor Guiterrez of the Philippines, who is also the head of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines and the current leader of the IULA Women in Local Government Task Force, summarized the role and activities of women in leadership positions in the Philippines and the work of the WLG Task Force of IULA.

The President of IULA, Alan Lloyd, also commented on the role of the WLG and its enormous achievements, not only in getting the Declaration of 1998 widely adopted but in working, systematically, through its member organizations and international structure, to implement its recommendations.

Two case studies were presented, by Anne Michaud of the City of Montreal "Femmes et Villes" programme, and Councillor Isaac Gruzi Guseb of Namibia, Vice President of the Association of Local Authorities of Namibia (ALAN), which was the previous leader of the WLG.

There were eight or nine observations, questions or presentations from the floor, all of which were extremely supportive of the general trend of the discussion, although one or two indicated difficulties they were having in the implementation of the principles of the Declaration on Women in Local Government. Several initiatives were announced, including a national meeting planned in India in 2002, activities of the Municipal Development Programme in Central and Southern Africa, the international 50-50 Campaign, and the "local-local dialogues" programme of the Huairou Commission and the Asia Women and Shelter Network. It was proposed that more attention should be given to the situation of women in local government in Francophone Africa.

C. Conclusion
In her summary at the end, Mayor Karen Anderson of Minnetonka, Minnesota, emphasized the three key issues that had emerged from the presentations:
1. Women's involvement is no longer an issue to be debated, since the need for it for reasons of equity and efficiency is now widely accepted.
2. The issues that women bring to the fore when in positions of leadership in local government are issues for everybody. When women are involved in planning, with the City of Montreal as an example, the benefits enhance the wellbeing of the public in general.
3. Women need to support each other in order to increase their participation in local government, and also increase the impact of their interventions.

Finally, the Chair endorsed these findings and anticipated the continued dynamic work of WLG in bringing about positive change through its international structure and dynamic leadership. He welcomed the various contributions from the speakers and the floor in moving forward co-operation on a wide range of issues, including community based and other international organizations, and emphasized that IULA needs this type of help from its partners.


2001 UNCHS