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ISLAMABAD, Jul 26 (APP): Pakistan is committed towards making it’s growing cities safer, sustainable, economically productive and equitable for the rural and urban vulnerable, said Minister of State and Chairperson BISP, MNA Marvi Memon.

She was representing Pakistan as the head of the NDI
delegation on Global Women’s Leadership Program at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for UN Habitat 3 at Surabaya Indonesia, said a press release recieved on Tuesday.

“Habitat 3” is the third United Nations Conference on Housing and sustainable Urban Development that will take place in October 2016.

While making statement on behalf of Pakistan in the opening
plenary session, the Minister stated that Pakistan has made
commendable efforts towards implementation of Habitat-II Agenda, since the second United Nations Conference on Human settlements (Habitat – II) held in Istanbul in 1996.

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She highlighted that Pakistan was one of the most urbanized
nations in South Asia. The urban population has increased
tremendously from 43.0 million in 1998 and is expected to become pre-dominantly urbanized by the year 2025.

Pakistani Government had launched Vision 2025, a perspective plan, which has implications for managing urbanization as well as changing urban demography in line with UN Habitat New Urban agenda, she added.

In this regard, she mentioned government initiatives of
construction of low cost housing schemes under Prime Minister’s Program, Apna Ghar Scheme in Punjab and fast development of Integrated Mass transit System, Metro Bus and Metro-rail in major cities.

She reiterated that Programs like Benazir Income Support
Program (BISP), Pakistan’s largest social safety net for the poorest women living in rural and urban Pakistan, are critical for this New Urban Agenda.

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Being the only custodian of the gender issues and women
empowerment, BISP will be key to ensure gender equity whilst cities develop in Pakistan. Initiatives like microcredit interest free loans and BISP E-commerce are empowering women in the rural and urban spaces.

Creating safer and violence free urbanization especially for
the vulnerable women is a key challenge for Pakistan which BISP through its advocacy will manage well in coordination with the provinces and federal ministries like Finance, Planning & Development, Foreign Affairs, Climate Change, Housing and Works and PM Youth Program.