UN-Habitat held meeting to mark the culmination of provincial consultative meetings

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ISLAMABAD, Apr 20 (APP): A validation meeting of experts
working on the State of Pakistani Cities report was held by
UN-Habitat here on Thursday to mark the culmination of provincial
consultative meetings held throughout the country.
The consultations have reaffirmed the support of all provinces
for increased public participation and for their plans to take
greater account of environmental concerns and be more inclusive
particularly in addressing the needs of women, youth and the
disabled.
Spearheaded by the Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC) with
technical assistance of the United Nations Human Settlements
Programme (UN-Habitat) and funded by the Government of Australia,
the report will support planners, administrators, and decision
makers by provision of information to help them design effective
urban solutions without leaving out vital segments of urban society.
Speaking at the meeting, Secretary Climate Change Syed Abu Akif
highlighted that urbanization was one of the key challenges faced
by Pakistan today, but it also offered greater opportunities, which
can be tapped through calculated measures.
However, insufficient knowledge of the urban dynamics, he said,
was resulting in lack of timely service delivery, resource allocation,
and urban solutions by cities’ authorities.
To tackle this issue, he added, the government was
spearheading the development of the State of Pakistan Cities’
Report, with support from all the provinces, to present a well-
informed analysis of the state of urbanization across the country
comprising of economic alongside social, demographic, political and
cultural aspects. This data would be vital for planners, policy
makers and legislators in responding to the urbanization challenge,
he said.
He said the data for the State of Pakistan’s Cities Report
had been compiled with full support of all the provinces, which had
expressed their intention to produce the State of Provincial Cities
Reports as well.
The validation meeting brought forward interesting findings
presented in the provincial meetings. It highlighted that with the
exception of Quetta where joint and extended families still prevail,
the average household size has decreased in all the other cities,
suggesting a trend towards smaller families.
Another trend that emerged was that women’s participation rate
in the labour force in all ten cities has increased. Moreover,
those unable to find jobs in rural areas and those looking for
better opportunities continue to be accommodated in the cities in
increasing numbers.
It is not only the existing cities that are growing but more
settlements are becoming urbanised, particularly along the transport
routes emanating from the cities.
It was hence validated that for cities to be able to perform as
engines of growth, more emphasis would have to be put on enabling
strategies that provided better housing, infrastructure, and access
to finance.
The State of Pakistan Cities Report will provide urban information
and updated data on first level major cities of Pakistan, establish
appropriate key urban indicators and baselines, analyse development
trends and challenges and present potentials for investment and
growth.
It will build the capacity of relevant stakeholders for evidence-
based decision making and monitoring in urban sector. The report
will have an extensive policy impact created at city, provincial,
and national levels particularly in relation to urban service
delivery, land and housing, role of cities in economic development,
including their potential growth capacities and challenges, and will
support the implementation of the 2030 Development Agenda and the
Sustainable Development Goals, particularly Goal 11 on sustainable
cities and communities, as well as the New Urban Agenda