HUAIROU COMMISSION STATEMENT AT WORLD URBAN FORUM 3
- Actionable Ideas Developed at Grassroots Women's International Academy, led by GROOTS
International and Presented by the Huairou Commission at the World Urban Forum 3
Women are ever more present in the struggle to make our cities sustainable. As
administrators, academics, business women, technicians, activists, community members,
and mayors and other politicians, we are involved in the effort to transform our world. We
are experiencing an historic moment where many grassroots women,
marginalized in the past, have been high-impact participants in this event.
Prior to WUF, many of us (184 women) participated in the Grassroots Women's
International Academy, representing over 30 countries and hundreds of thousands of
people. There, we learnt from our peers and will take the exemplary practices home with
us to our communities.
Strengthened, we arrived at WUF, to share our expertise with partners including
government representatives, professionals, academics, different sized NGOs and donors.
We interacted, and they listened to our voices, not as beneficiaries, but as leaders,
thinkers, innovators, teachers and committed people.
If you pay attention to us and include us as equals, we will achieve the Millennium
Development Goals, and much more*.
Based on our experiences, we suggest the following actionable ideas:
1. Consult grassroots and indigenous women as key experts
Given our longstanding contributions and demonstrated knowledge and skills in
improving the quality of life and building democracy, grassroots women must be
represented as experts in all global, regional and national dialogues.
The areas of expertise include sustainability, housing and land, post disaster and conflict
recovery, HIV AIDS, caring communities, and economic development.
Community focused indigenous women and women-led slum dwelling groups are among
the most innovative, yet they are also the least recognized and consulted.
We pledge our own networks, and call on donors and other partners to help us
mainstream our expertise in upcoming opportunities that include:
- Global AIDS Meeting, Toronto, August 2006
- Afri-Cities, Kenya, September 2006
- WUF 4, China, 2008
2. Establish new funds for grassroots women's Peer Exchanges, public spaces and
- Peer Exchanges transfer effective skills and knowledge.
- Grassroots ownership and management of public space sustains women's participation
in public affairs, from planning and governance.
- Expanding community organizing builds long-term movements.
3. Donor Dialogues: International aid agencies should schedule dialogues with grassroots
women leaders and local authorities to redirect funds & programs.
Funding to address the HIV AIDS pandemic in Africa is one area where aid agencies
should unite to hold formal consultations with grassroots women's groups working
in conjunction with local authorities to provide care, treatment and prevention.
Global funds have bypassed the grassroots and established top down processes while
claiming to be participatory and transparent.
Funding priorities and delivery systems, to respond to post disaster relief and
recovery and to the provision of low-income housing are also skewed in ways that
limit grassroots women's opportunities and community development.
Grassroots women's groups have been filling the gaps and working with their local
authorities to access and redirect resources for effective local problem solving.
Donors need to hear these priorities and approaches and redesign aid streams to
4. Support grassroots and local authority collaborations and Local-to-Local Dialogues
to sustain women's participation in local decision-making.
The Huairou Commission and United Cities and Local Government are seeking resources
for a 3-year joint program to sustain women's representation in local decision making and
stave off burnout and turnover.
Local to local dialogues are locally designed strategies whereby grassroots women's
groups initiate and engage in on going dialogues with their local authorities for
- Negotiating issues and priorities
- Joint planning
- Developing on going partnerships
*They should be resourced and replicated.
Event support generously contributed by AECI, American Jewish World Service,
Commonwealth Fund (GROOTS Africa), Cordaid, Ford Foundation(GROOTS), Government of
Canada, UN-HABITAT, AECI and UNIFEM (Women & Habitat-LAC)