ADB, AUSAID Holds South Asia Gender and Urban Poverty Workshop

COLOMBO, SRI LANKA (26 March 2012) - Over 60 officials from six South Asian countries will discuss best practices in urban poverty alleviation with a special emphasis on gender at a workshop to be held in Sri Lanka on 26-28 March.

Officials at the workshop titled Gender and Urban Poverty in South Asia - come from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. The workshop marks the second in a series of South Asia sub-regional learning events to be conducted under a Regional Technical Assistance project supported by the Australia-Asian Development Bank (ADB) South Asia Development Partnership Facility.

The High Commissioner for Australia HE Robyn Mudie was the chief guest. Hon. Nirupama Rajapaksa, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage Sri Lanka, made the keynote address and Ms Sumithra Rahubadda, Secretary, Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment, the opening remarks on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka.

‘’Facing diminishing economic prospects, many rural people move to the city in search of greater opportunities for their children, but they only find a life of struggle ‘’ said Rita O’ Sullivan Country Director of ADB’s Sri Lanka Resident Mission. '' Living in poverty without access to sanitation, clean water, and proper housing in marginal city areas means unhealthy living. This also has additional adverse repercussions for women and children. Urban policy planners and developers must urgently hear their voice too ‘’ she further stated.

The objectives of the workshop include: showcasing new practices in urban development projects benefitting the poor, learning from the implementation of ADB loan projects that are delivering successful gender equality results, and enhancing the gender and development capacity of project staff. The workshop will cover topics such as gender-inclusive urban planning; supporting public- private partnerships, affordable housing and slum improvement schemes, improving water supply, sanitation and waste disposal services; and being responsive to gender issues.

The workshop will hear panel presentations from technical experts, case studies from agencies executing and implementing ADB projects and videos of successful community-based approaches. These will be followed by group discussions.

Gender equity is one of ADB’s key focus areas in its effort to achieve an Asia and Pacific region free of poverty. ADB is on track to having 40% of its sovereign projects promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment by 2012.