Local Government Implementing the Habitat Agenda:
The Gender Perspective
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.
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
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.