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Nairobi, Kenya, 15 Nov 12

Dr. Joan Clos with Ms Dramane Traore

UN-Habitat has established an advisory group aimed at advising the Executive Director on all issues related to gender matters in the work of the agency.

The move to form an independent Advisory Group on Gender Issues (AGGI) followed a Governing Council resolution and was as a result of a rigorous and transparent selection process.

The 18 members AGGI representing various constituencies (grassroots women, private sector, local authority, government etc.) and regional balance was officially launched at the Sixth Session of the World Urban Forum recently held in Naples, Italy where it also  held its inaugural meeting. The group is a critical instrument enabling stakeholders to support and hold UN-Habitat accountable for delivering on its commitment to mainstream gender equality in human settlement.

This positive development provides a mechanism for giving stronger emphasis to the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment and will help put women on the forefront as vital agents of change in human settlements work. If effectively supported, the involvement of stakeholders in this way can help close the gap between intent and action.

Dr. Clos with some of the AGGI members

The 18 AGGI members are: Aminata Dramane Traoré who is aFormer Minister of Culture and Tourism of Mali from 1997 to 2000 as well as an author, politician, gender and political activist; Ana Falú a professor and researcher at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina, a former regional director UNIFEM, Co-founder of the Women and Habitat Network for America Latina. Also the founder of CISCSA in Argentina; Anne Hidalgo, Chair of UCLG standing committee on Gender Equality, and first Deputy Mayor of Paris; Batilda S. Burian High Commissioner of the United Republic of Tanzania to Kenyaand Permanent Representative to UN-Habitat); andCarmen Griffiths, the Executive Director of the Construction Resource and Development Center, Jamaica.
Others areDiane Dumashie, a land economist; Esther Mwaura-Muira Founder and Coordinator, GROOTS Kenya; Ester Borras deputy permanent representative, Permanent Mission of the Spain to UN-Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya; Jan Peterson Chair, Huairou Commission; Lakshmi Puri Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women; M.A. MasundaMayor of City of Harare, Zimbabwe); Mĩcere Mugo Meredith Professor for Teaching Excellence; gender activist and champion); Nilcéa Freire Representative, Ford Foundation Brazil and Former Minister of the Special Secretariat for Policies for Women, Brazil); and Ramzia Aleryani General Secretary, General Arab Women Union and Chairwoman, Yemeni Women's Union).

Also in the Group areSiraj Sait reader and head of research, University of East London; Sri Sofjan Chief Executive Officer, Penang Women's Development Corporation, Penang Malaysia; Teresa Boccia, professor of urban planning, Federico II University of Naples – Faculty of Architecture and LUPT Interdepartmental Research Centre, Italy); and Thomas Ball and Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Norway to UN-Habitat, Nairobi, Kenya).

During the inaugural meeting in Naples, Aminata Dramane Traoré of Mali and Thomas Ball of Norway were elected unanimously as the Chairperson and Vice Chair of AGGI respectively.

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