2024-02-13 - Stakeholders Meeting on SDG 11 and 13

Stakeholder Meeting on Sustainable Development Goals 11 and 13

Stakeholder Meeting Focused on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11 and 13 by Shehersaaz in collaboration with SDG Section, Ministry of Planning and Special Initiatives (MoP&SI)

Shehersaaz in collaboration with the SDG Section convened a pivotal stakeholder meeting centered around Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 11 and 13 on February 13, 2024 at the esteemed PPMI Complex in Islamabad. This gathering served as a platform to facilitate dialogue, share insights, and devise actionable strategies in pursuit of these paramount SDGs.

The meeting commenced with the solemn recitation of the Holy Quran emphasizing the profound spiritual underpinnings guiding our collective efforts towards sustainable development.

Ms. Almas Shakoor, Executive Director of Shehersaaz, extended a warm welcome to the esteemed attendees, stressing the pressing need for collective action to address the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change.

Mr. Zafar ul Hassan, the esteemed Joint Chief Economist of the Government of Pakistan, graced the occasion as the keynote speaker, offering invaluable insights into the economic dimensions and policy implications underlying SDGs 11 and 13.

He opened that the representative local governments do not exist and local urban affairs are managed by bureaucracy, he mentioned that we are a classic example of economic growth without development, he was also of the view that it’s an irony that 80% of taxes are collected from urban areas however cities do not receive reciprocal attention from the decision makers. There is a need to invest in urban services and infrastructure and Urban development needs to be appropriately incorporated in the upcoming 5 year plan so that the new government can take this agenda forward.

Following this, Ms. Almas Shakoor provided an insightful introduction to Shehersaaz and its flagship initiative, the Project for Urban Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience (PUCCAR), reaffirming the organization's steadfast commitment to fostering sustainable urban development.

The status of SDGs was eloquently presented by Ms. Rida Najam, Assistant Chief of the SDG Section, she highlighted that by 2030 according to SDG index projected results there will be 20% expected gaps in the achievement of the planned targets.

Ms. Aiman Amjad, Assistant Chief of the SDG Section shared a comprehensive analysis of SDGs 11 and 13. She shared that SDG 11 deals with 10 areas however the data is available for only 4 of them. She put forward two important questions for the stakeholders 1- Why data is missing and 2- how to accelerate the progress for SDG 11 and 13.

A compelling video presentation further enriched the discourse, offering a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities inherent in SDGs 11 and 13.


Panel Discussion:

The focal point of the meeting was the esteemed panel discussion on the status of SDGs 11 and 13, where distinguished panelists lent their expertise, highlighting critical gaps, challenges, and potential solutions to accelerate progress. The esteemed panelists included:

1.Mr. Javed Ali Khan, Country Program Manager, UN-Habitat

  1. Mr. Abdul Shakoor, Chairperson Shehersaaz
  2. Ms. Nusrat Nasab, CEO Agha Khan Agency for Habitat, Pakistan
  3. Mr. Muhammad Ali Kemal, Chief SDG Section
  4. Dr. Fahad Saeed, CEO, WENCLIMS

Each panelist eloquently articulated their perspectives, fostering a rich exchange of ideas.

According to Mr. Javed Ali Khan Cities are engines of economic growth but it is high time to consider that if engine is not performing well how the vehicle will move forward, he mentioned that UN-Habitat is providing technical support to Federal and Provincial Govt in various areas for the achievement of SDG 11.

Ms. Nusrat Nasab was of the view that if we adopt a right vision for urban development there are possibilities to improve the urban development discourse in Pakistan, she informed the participants that Agha Khan Network is the focal agency for Urban Development and Climate change and undertaking various projects in these areas. She also emphasized that cities cannot progress without reforming unless individuals become responsible citizens.

Mr. Abdul Shakoor Sindhu was of the view that our cities can offer abundant opportunities for economic and social growth provided we adopt right course of action, he highlighted that there is an urgent need for Urban Land Reforms to counter the land hoarding that is discouraging affordable housing and public centric just development. He suggested that union councils and neighborhood councils are the basic administrative units in Pakistan but there is a need to make them as a basic development unit and Data can easily be generated at Union Council Level. Mr. Sindhu highlighted, that cities across the country need fiscal space so that they can raise revenues to fulfill their own budget needs and are financially self sufficient.

Mr. Ali Kemal said that they face challenges in collecting data from relevant federal ministries and provincial departments, he informed that according to one view 80% of Pakistan’s Population has become urban. Local govt especially urban authorities need to regularly undertake urban surveys to address the serious gap in Urban data

Mr. Fahad Saeed mentioned for Pakistan climate change revolves around Adaptation, he highlighted that Pakistan’s geographical location makes it vulnerable to climate induced hazards. Climate change adaptation is a bottom-up approach so we need to focus on community-based adaptation, side by side we need to take into account the factors like reducing population growth improving gender equality and empowering women. All these issues are closely interlinked. We need local solutions instead of relying solely on consultant advised development recipes.

Event Photo Gallery

Training of Trainers in Rawalpindi and Nowshera to Promote Sustainable Living

Training of Trainers in Rawalpindi and Nowshera to Promote Sustainable Living

Empowering Communities:

Successful TOTs in Rawalpindi and Nowshera Promote Sustainable Living

In a bid to foster sustainable living practices, the month of December witnessed transformative Training of Trainers (TOTs) in both Rawalpindi and Nowshera cities under the PUCCAR Project. The trainings, led by the Executive Director, Ms. Almas, brought together enthusiastic women from these cities to undergo a comprehensive two-day training program.

The primary focus of the TOTs was to empower the selected women with the skills and knowledge required for effective Solid Waste Management, a crucial component of the PUCCAR Project. The participants, chosen for their active and passionate approach, were immersed in hands-on sessions on compost-making and underwent assessments to enhance their general knowledge of recycling practices.

Ms. Almas, as the lead trainer, guided the women through the intricacies of compost production and shared valuable insights on the broader aspects of recycling. The training sessions weren't just theoretical; the participants were actively engaged through presentations, fostering a dynamic learning environment.

The PUCCAR Project aims to address critical aspects of community development, with Solid Waste Management being a pivotal component. The objective is to equip individuals with the skills to manage waste effectively, contributing to a cleaner environment and improved community well-being.

As the training concluded, these newly-minted trainers are now poised to extend their knowledge to their own communities. Armed with the ability to teach others about compost-making and sustainable practices, these empowered women are set to make a significant impact on their communities. The ripple effect is expected to create a network of self-sufficient households, promoting food security and enhancing overall community resilience.

The success of the TOTs in Rawalpindi and Nowshera marks a significant step towards achieving the goals of the PUCCAR Project. The dedication and passion exhibited by the participating women highlight the potential for positive change and community development through education and empowerment. As these trainers step into their communities, they embody the spirit of progress and sustainability, fostering a brighter and more resilient future for all.

Shehersaaz and NUST’s SCEE Forge Strategic Partnership for Urban Development

NUST and Shehersaaz Sign MOU to Address Urban Challenges

In a significant development on November 29, 2023, Shehersaaz and the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering (SCEE) at NUST, Islamabad, came together for a momentous Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony. The ceremony, held at NUST, marked the initiation of a collaborative journey aimed at addressing crucial urban development challenges.

The MOU, crafted with mutually agreed objectives, assignments, and tasks, reflects the shared commitment of both Shehersaaz and NUST's SCEE to fostering positive change. The collaborative effort aims to leverage the strengths of each party to create a meaningful impact in the realms of urban environment, transportation, urban planning, and capacity building.

The ceremony witnessed a palpable sense of positivity as representatives from both organizations gathered to solidify their commitment to long-term collaboration. The MOU envisions institutional cooperation, with an overarching goal of promoting knowledge sharing and joint efforts in tackling key urban development challenges.

By pooling resources and expertise, Shehersaaz and NUST's SCEE aim to contribute to sustainable urban development, creating solutions that address the evolving needs of urban environments. The partnership signifies a strategic alliance that seeks to explore innovative approaches, share best practices, and collectively work towards building more resilient and vibrant urban spaces.

This collaboration underscores the commitment of both parties to making a meaningful impact on the urban landscape, laying the foundation for a future marked by shared knowledge, collaboration, and positive urban development outcomes.

2023-11-22 - Stakeholders Meeting 01 a

Stakeholders Meeting

First Stakeholder Meeting

Shehersaaz's First Stakeholder Meeting took place at Hotel Margala on November 22nd, 2023. 

Experts and professionals working on Climate Change and Adaptation were invited to attend the meeting and share their insights as well.

The meeting began with Recitation of Holy Quran followed by Welcome remarks and brief Introduction of Shehersaaz presented by Executive Director, Ms. Almas Shakoor who shared purpose and agenda of the meeting.

Program Manager UN-Habitat Mr. Khalil Ahmed shared his remarks and the meeting formally began. 

A brief overview of the AF Project was presented by Ms. Shakoor where evolution, governance, components, dimensions, and dynamics of the project were highlighted. 

A short video was played related to the overall project and its three major components. 

Two panel discussions took place moderated by CR&N Coordinator Anahita Sajjad.

Panel 1 consisted of “Community Participation” of Stakeholders/beneficiaries where they discussed about the benefits of the three components of PUCCAAR sharing their firsthand experiences.

1- Rain Water Harvesting Units (RWHU)

2- Solid Waste Management (SWM)

3- Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)

Panel Participants:

1- Ms. Mehreen Bibi (RWHU)

2- Ms. Ayesha Fayyaz (SWM)

3- Mr. Tufail (DRR)

Panel 2 had “Experts” who shared their expertise in Disaster Risk Reduction, Sustainable and Resilience based projects and Urban Development in context to Climate Change.

1- Dr. Mariam Saleh (Director Weather and Climate Services)

2- Ms. Azra Shahid (Rescue Safety Officer 1122)

3- Mr. Shoaib Haider (Country Director HOPE 87)

4- Dr. Mansoor Ali (UK) Theme Lead Waste Burning, Royal Academy of Engineering (Participated Online) 

Mr. Azeem Khoso Director Ministry of Climate Change concluded the event with his remarks followed by Souvenir Distribution, Group Photo and Lunch.

Shehersaaz was able to present its Project on Urban Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience successfully and will continue to keep the level of productivity to its maximum strength.

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2023-10-31-World Cities Day 2023, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad

World Cities Day 2023

World Cities Day 2023 - Discussion Panel

The World Cities Day “WCD” is an initiative by UN-Habitat which marks the end of Urban October Activities. Shehersaaz Celebrated “World Cities Day” with a Focus on "Financing a Sustainable Urban Future for All" A vibrant and thought-provoking event was hosted at the Earth Sciences Auditorium of Quaid-e-Azam University. The event brought together experts, artists, and individuals passionate about urban living to commemorate and celebrate the importance of cities and their role in shaping the cities future. The event was organized by Shehersaaz in collaboration with UN-Habitat Pakistan, Adaptation Fund and Quaid e Azam University, Islamabad. The panel discussion featured notable experts including, Mr Jawed Ali Khan, Country Program Manager UN-Habitat Pakistan, Mr Azhar Ul Islam, Vice President, Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Dr. Abbas Moosvi, Research Fellow PIDE, Dr. Beenish Kulsoom, Program Manager PUCCAR, Shehersaaz, Abdul Shakoor Sindhu, Urban Planner and Designer.

The discussion began with Opening remarks of Executive Director, Shehersaaz Ms. Almas Shakoor, she emphasized that time to act is now, to reform the way we are planning and managing our cities.

Anahita Sajjad from Shehersaaz read the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guteress’s message for the WCD: “As we mark World Cities Day, let’s resolve to work together for urban areas that are not engines of growth, but beacons of sustainability, resilience and prosperity for all”

The highlight of the event was a compelling keynote address delivered by Mr. Jawed Ali Khan who emphasized and shared his insights on the critical issues and challenges faced by cities in the 21st century, emphasizing the need for sustainable and inclusive urban development. His words inspired the audience to reevaluate their perspective on city life and the transformative potential of urban environments.

During the Panel discussion Mr. Jawed said that the local government assets need to be made vibrant so that they can be turned from liabilities into assets, culture of free lunch should be abolished and citizens should be made to pay for the services. He said there should be institutions who could deliver, he mentioned that UN-Habitat has implemented a project on Low Carbon Urban Development in Karachi They have developed Green Building Codes in collaboration with NED University and Pakistan Engineering Council, he also mentioned that this initiative has been selected for Global Award to be given in upcoming COP28.

Mr. Azhar said Private sector has never been allowed to grow and prosper. He was of the opinion that we have no dearth of resources but we need to adopt a National Policy of right person for the right job, he also highlighted, No Nation can progress without investing in its Human Resources. Our policy makers should seriously consider why most of the Pakistanis are not satisfied and want to immigrate.

Mr. Abbas gave a historical overview of Urbanization and Industrialization in Pakistan, he told that process of Urbanization started in Pakistan with Green Revolution. He also said that many people blame Bhutto’s Nationalization Policy however, he highlighted that Pakistan achieved highest Industrial growth during the 70’s. While Offering some solutions for strengthening the financial health of local government he proposed that the process of devolution should be taken to its logical conclusion by strengthening Provincial finance commissions and establishing District Finance Commissions on the model of National Finance Commission.

Ms. Almas mentioned a developed and sustainable city is one which every citizen could relate to that is a City that serves the needs of women, children, youth, elderly, people with disability and trans genders.

Dr. Beenish Kulsum opined that local governments have never been taken seriously in Pakistan. They have always been kept resource less entities which always remain at the mercy of provincial governments.

Mr. Abdul Shakoor said that it is highly unlikely that Pakistan will be able to meet its agreed targets for SDG11 that deals with inclusive, safe and sustainable cities and communities. He shared that there can be no city planning and management in absence of reliable data. He suggested that Federal and Provincial Bureaus of Statistics should be made administratively and financially autonomous entities so that they could generate reliable data. He also proposed that local governments should be empowered to collect and utilize property tax and motor vehicle tax to meet their administrative and development budgets. 

Another highlight of the event was the Conception of ideal cities envisioned by young Artists who transformed their ideas into paintings.

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