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Pakistan committed to making cities safer, sustainable

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State and Chairperson Benazir Income Support Program (BISP)
 
Marvi Memon, has said that Pakistan will continue to support UN habitat's new urban agenda for
 
sustainable urbanization. 
 
Marvi represented Pakistan as the head of the NDI delegation in the Global Women's Leadership
 
Program, held at the third session of the Preparatory Committee for UN Habitat 3 at Surabaya
 
Indonesia.
 
In her statement in the opening plenary session, Miss Memon stated that Pakistan has made
 
commendable efforts towards the implementation of Habitat - II Agenda, ever since the second
 
United Nations Conference on Human settlements (Habitat - II) was held in Istanbul in 1996.
 
She also 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 further expected
 
to become predominantly urbanized by the year 2025.
 
She said that Pakistan had launched its Vision 2025, a perspective plan, which already has
 
implications for managing urbanization as well as changing urban demography in line with UN-
 
Habitat New Urban agenda.
 
She also maintained that Pakistan is already committed to making Pakistan's growing cities safer,
 
sustainable, economically productive and equitable for its vulnerable populations in both rural
 
and urban areas. She also mentioned the recently-taken government initiatives of establishing
 
low-cost housing schemes under Prime Minister's Apna Ghar Scheme in Punjab and pursuing a
 
fast development of its 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 highly critical for
 
this New Urban Agenda.
 
"Being the only custodian of the gender issues and women empowerment, BISP will be key to
 
ensuring gender equity whilst cities develop in Pakistan," she added. Several initiatives like
 
microcredit interest-free loans and BISP E-commerce are also empowering women in the rural
 
and urban spaces”, Memon asserted.
 
She further said that 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.

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