So What: Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Sustainable Cities and Communities (SDG 11)

Better connecting the linkages between achieving gender equality and making cities sustainable was the topic of discussion at a SDG Lab panel held on occasion of International Women’s Day 2018.

Organized as part of the SDG Lab’s “So What” series, the panel brought together sustainable development practitioners to share experiences and best practices from different sectors in promoting women and girl’s empowerment and ensuring cities and communities are safe and affordable.

The topic of discussion is timely: With urban areas expected to house 60% of people globally by 2030, promoting a safe, healthy, inclusive, and secure environment in cities and communities for all people is paramount. Similarly, as women and girls make up half of urban populations, policies and approaches must involve them in such efforts.

Two of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target gender equality (SDG 5) and sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), and together form an intrinsic part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by UN Member States in September 2015.

SDG Lab: Capturing innovation and diverse views

United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG) Director-General Michael Møller kickstarted the discussion by highlighting the unique aspects of the 2030 Agenda and the importance of the SDG Lab panel series in supporting the Global Goals.

“We talk about the paradigm shifts of the 2030 Agenda – universality, indivisibility and a multi-stakeholder approach – and this is precisely what the “So What” series is about, to demonstrate the unexpected linkages between two goals, and the power of thinking and acting in an intersectoral way,” said Mr Møller.

The “So What” panel consisted of five representatives from the public and private sector who shared their own experiences in activities that address gender equality and sustainable cities. 

Speakers included: Mr Leonard Doyle, Spokesperson, International Organization for Migration (IOM); Ms Monica Martinez, Minister at the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations Office at Geneva; Ms Manuela Papadopol, Co-founder of Sansea Consulting; Ms Héloïse Roman, Project Manager for Gender Equality of the Service Agenda 21, City of Geneva; and Ms Jane Townsley, Director, Force International Limited.

Panellists’ highlighted successful interventions and policies related to mainstreaming gender equality in city governments; collaboration between police forces and urban planners to promote safer cities; migration and urbanism; and the role of technology in helping bridge gender equality and sustainable cities.

The panel was organized in collaboration with UN Women, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), International Gender Champions and the City of Geneva.

Moderating the event was SDG Lab Director Nadia Isler, who underscored the benefits of an intersectoral and integrated approach to the 2030 Agenda.