Final Declaration

3rd WACAP Forum – Huy, Belgium – April 10 – 12, 2002

Final Declaration of Huy, read by Ms. Mercedes Bresso, President of the Session

We, the city representatives from all continents participating in the Third Forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty on the theme “Cities-Women partnerships against Poverty”,

Reunited in Huy (Belgium) from 10 to 12 April 2002,

Considering that:

  • Poverty, that affects a major part of the world’s population, is a great concern for cities from all continents and primarily hurts women
  • the absence of women from decision-making processes leads to a misunderstanding of the problems affecting them and to inappropriate action, and that women’s economic and social condition have improved wherever municipalities implement principles of good urban governance by associating participatory management and women’s full involvement in the formulation and implementation of projects and programmes concerning them
  • progress obtained in the fight against poverty and social exclusion is often hampered by an insufficient decentralisation of responsibilities and resources at the municipal level
  • due to closeness to their citizens, municipalities hold a special responsibility in the promotion of Millennium development goals and the implementation at the local level of the recommendations of the Beijing and New York (Beijing+5) Conferences on Women
  • Cities-women partnership against poverty must give priority to the enhancement of women’s acting power at the municipal level, revenue-generating programmes and projects, as well as women’s training, social protection and access to basic social services (health, education, shelter, water, transportation and day care for children…),
  • the battle against HIV/AIDS, of which an women are increasingly victim, calls for local mobilisation and solidarity between cities from all continents.

We express our commitment to the Millenium Development Goals adopted at the United Nations Millenium Assembly, and pledge to do everything in our power to contribute to achieving them, with particular attention to the objective of halving by 2015 the proportion of people who live in extreme poverty, the number of people who suffer from hunger and malnutrition, reducing by three fourths maternal mortality, and ensuring primary education for all.

We pledge to the implement in our cities the recommendations of this Forum:

1- Within the field of urban governance to

  • give priority to fighting women’s poverty
  • support initiatives launched by women to fight poverty
  • work in partnerships and act as facilitators with women and women’s organizations
  • involve women in all important urban management decisions concerning housing and communities, notably with regard to education and health, housing, transportation, child nurseries and kindergarten, food and water sanitation, solid waste management
  • reinforce women’s qualitative participation in councils, committees and other decision-making mechanisms within municipalities

2- With regard to the fight against poverty to

  • facilitate women’s access to available resources, including access to infrastructure, equipment and micro-credit
  • simplify procedures and regulations allowing women to set up their own activities
  • adopt special economic measures for unemployed and resource-less women
  • give all necessary support to women working in the informal sector
  • contribute to the creation, support and development of women’s associations on a thematic or spatial basis at the community level
  • encourage entrepreneurship via better access for women to credit and subsidies
  • promote and facilitate international municipal cooperation for the implementation of programs and projects in favour of women
  • work in active partnerships with other stakeholders in position to deal with gender issues, notably national public organisations, banks and companies, NGOs, research institutes, the media and unions.

3- Regarding women’s empowerment

  • provide training in basic education to new information technologies according to requirements for integration into the labour market
  • provide access to basic social services, including providing food to the needy population, basic health care, access to drinking water in shelters, basic health care dispensaries
  • provide public transportation at affordable price to business and commercial local areas
  • create day care centres for children,
  • provide social protection of the most vulnerable.

4- Promotion of HIV/AIDS prevention

Concerned with the rapid spread of the virus, which increasingly affects women, and considering the dramatic economic and social consequences, we are determined to work in collaboration with all national and international actors in order to:

  • mobilise our communities to prevent the spread of the disease
  • provide on a large scale, information on this epidemic and the means of prevention
  • use all local communication tools: municipal boards, schools, urban security , places of worship, the media … in order to raise necessary awareness,
  • assist families affected by this disease by providing them with aid and comfort.

We urge national governments and the international community to:

  • take all measures necessary to achieve women’s participation in local government
  • decentralise resources within the national budget and international official development assistance in order to foster programmes and projects in favour of women
  • promote and reinforce international conventions and national legislation aiming at the elimination of discrimination against women
  • activate cooperation programmes in favour of sustainable development focused on basic education, vocational training and basic health care for the benefit of women and young women,
  • contribute to prevent and settle regional conflicts causing urban migration and local populations’ distress, particularly in the case of women.

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