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Metropolis meets Urban Women Practitioner Academy at the World Urban Forum 6 in Naples

Sixty women from 12 different countries have met from 29 to 31 August to exchange strategies, good practices and action priorities leading to advance pro-poor, women inclusive urban development at the Centro Interdipartimentale di Recerca Federico II University of Architecture (LUPT) in preparation for the World Urban Forum. Representing city experiences as diverse as Napoli, Pompeii,  Nairobi, Rome, Dhaka, New York, Recife, Istanbul, Manila, Prague, Jamaica, participants confirmed the global economic crisis, and unregulated market-driven urban growth -expressed in the increased privatization of land, housing and basic services- are requiring women to strengthen community and city-wide organizing, press for economic, political and social inclusion and model and advocate for urban planning and budgetary processes that include and resource women's priorities.

Joan Clos, Under-Secretary-General of United Nations and Executive Director of UN-Habitat expressed his gratitude to the Huairou Commission, UN-Habitat's long standing development partner, for the organization of the Grassroots Academy which "has been an important pre-world urban forum programme bringing together grassroots women for a common goal and priority to take into the world urban forum to influence deliberations and policy directions at the WUF". A key recommendation of the Habitat Agenda is to acknowledge the important role women play in the "attainment of sustainable human settlements". "Our strategy, said Joan Clos, is to promote spatial design of cities and larger territories that contributes to urban sustainability, improves economic growth and makes cities more efficient, inclusive and equitable. In this respect, gender equality and empowerment of women are key considerations for urban planning and design".

WUF 6 will review past policies, achievements and obstacles, to put in place a new urban development agenda capable of responding to the new urban challenges and opportunities such as climate change and urban safety and security as well as advancing a new role for cities; finding ways of strengthening the institutional framework for housing and sustainable urban development; and assessing and redefining the governance structure of UN-Habitat and its strategic development partners.

In order to take advantage of the critical opportunity offered by WUF 6, women -particularly grassroots women- must strongly influence and impact the exchange of ideas at WUF 6 and then carry their impressions home to be put into practice. The involvement of grassroots women is the only way to ensure that the recommendations and policies that come out of WUF 6 are sustainable, valuable and relevant to the women of the world.

World Urban Forum