Ramallah| Monday, September 6, 2021- UN-Habitat, through the HAYA Joint Programme, funded by the Government of Canada, in partnership with the Ministry of Local Government (MoLG) organized an event to launch the “City-wide Public Space Assessments in Palestine and the Strategies for Implementing Gender Responsive Public Space” at the Carmel hotel in presence of representatives from the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD), MoLG directorates, the eight targeted municipalities, the and HAYA Joint Programme partners, and the Journalists.
The City-wide Public Space Assessments in Palestine were prepared to provide verifiable data on women’s experiences in public spaces. The assessments were conducted in five (5) urban areas: Jenin, Nablus, Jericho, Bethlehem cluster in the West Bank, and Khan Younis in Gaza Strip.
The assessments have utilized UN-Habitat’s city-wide public space assessment toolkit and adopted an active participatory approach with high engagement of the targeted municipalities. These assessments were requested at a time when there has been growing attention to creating safe, inclusive and accessible public spaces, especially for women and girls.
In his speech, Dr. Zeyad Alshakra, Head of UN-Habitat Country Programme in Palestine, emphasized the importance of the participatory approach saying: “we believe in the importance of engaging the local communities in every level of the development process, thus, the city-wide public space assessments were conducted in participatory manner, which allowed drawing recommendations based on the feedbacks and perceptions of the public space users, particularly women, and upon which the designs of the 8 safe and inclusive public spaces were developed.” During the event, UN Habitat also presented eight (8) public space designs, developed as pilot projects to illustrate how to improve the safety, accessibility, and inclusiveness of public spaces for all. Additionally, the event included a presentation of the gender responsive public space strategies, developed in participation with the targeted municipalities, based on the findings of the city-wide public space assessments. At the end of the event, a guided dialogue session facilitated by UN-Habitat took place with the targeted municipalities to discuss the mechanisms and the administrative preparations required to ensure the implementation of the gender responsive public space strategies at the municipal level.
The Deputy Minister of MoLG has expressed that: “the city-wide public space assessments are in line with the ministry’s strategic goals and policies, since the ministry is particularly interested in increasing the percentage of open public spaces, especially green OPS, within Palestinian urban and rural areas, where MoLG has implemented over 20 parks recently, after decades of the Israeli occupation denying Palestinian communities this right. Moreover, the MoLG through HAYA JP looks forward to contextualizing SDG.11 and increasing the national performance against SDG.11.7 indicators by developing safe and inclusive public spaces for all, including women and girls.” The findings and recommendations of the assessments and gender responsive public space strategies aim at supporting local and national governments in developing legislation, policy, norms and practices, which support the Palestinian government and its institutions in adopting a holistic and integrated approach to the planning, design development, creation, protection and management of public spaces in Palestinian cities which are safe, inclusive and accessible for everyone especially women and girls.
This launching event will be followed by a huge media campaign and a series of initiatives implemented by a range of CBOs in the eight targeted municipalities in efforts to promote the safety, inclusiveness and accessibility of the public spaces.
About the HAYA Joint Programme
The HAYA Joint Programme is funded by the Government of Canada and is jointly implemented by a consortium of UN agencies consisting of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). HAYA brings together the Palestinian Authority (PA), UN agencies, civil society organisations, community-based organizations, and other partners to reduce the vulnerability of women and girls to all forms of violence and from the threat of such violence.
The Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the Ministry of Social Development are key partners of the HAYA Joint Programme, along with other ministries including the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of Local Government, and various municipalities, civil society and community-based organizations. HAYA seeks to end violence against women and girls in the West Bank and Gaza Strip through various outreach and awareness-raising activities to change harmful practices and attitudes perpetuating and validating violence, increase access to necessary services for survivors of violence, as well as strengthen the institutional capacity of government officials to develop and implement legal and policy frameworks promoting and protecting women’s and girl’s rights to live free from violence. It also focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for all, achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, and making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.
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