WECF publication: Municipalities as active drivers of gender-just and sustainable development

By Katharina Habersbrunner, WECF Germany

Together, the European Charta for Gender Equality and Agenda 2030, with its transformative character, offer useful guidance for local and regional governments to create more equal and sustainable cities and communities. As a result of the increasingly accessible and green city developments, and more knowledge and openness to the concepts of sharing and inclusiveness, it may seem that the idea of simply fulfilling minimum requirements has been replaced with innovative municipal thinking and acting. The legal implementation of gender budgeting in Vienna and Munich and the active engagement of citizens in the sustainable city development of Hamburg demonstrate pioneering municipal spirit. Yet, in some European countries, local democracy is disturbed – some municipalities view the Agenda 2030 as an additional task that is unfeasible due to the lack of resources, and even though the concepts of gender equality and mainstreaming have already been formal guidelines for over twenty years, the concepts are still widely ignored.

A transformation towards a sustainable and just community requires municipal visions that reflect the worthwhile commitment of integrating gender budgeting and mainstreaming, gender-appropriate pensions, class-independent education and health access, clean air in inner cities… In times of lacking sustainable and gender-just law enforcement, municipal pioneers are needed to enable exchange and collaboration across municipal sectors, new partnerships and active citizen engagement. Every municipal decision must make a contribution to sustainability, because the global sustainability goals are not an additional task: they are fundamental for the sustainable and gender-just development of our cities and communities, and therefore require aligning with local plans. Municipalities need to utilise their local power to engage with citizens and to enable ambitious projects to bring abstract concepts, such as the issues of climate, demographic and increasingly unequal change, to life.

The WECF publication (only available in German at the moment), which will be published shortly on the WECF website, summarizes tools and instruments for gender-just implementation and shows from various perspectives the high potential of municipalities and civil society to implement and advance sustainable and gender-just projects, cities and neighbourhoods.

Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) is an international network of over 150 women’s and civil society organisations implementing projects in 50 countries and advocating globally to shape a just and sustainable world; our Common Future.

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