SAJIDA Foundation, along with Coalition for Urban Poor (CUP), Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology (AUST), Divine and Humanitarian Service (DAM), MSS, DSK, Uddipan and PDAP partnered with The Urban Thinkers Campaign developed by UN Habitat’s World Urban Campaign to organize and participate in a series of workshops and sessions focusing on emerging and existing urban issues.
The Urban Thinkers Campaign was developed to bring forth discussions and debates on the integral components for “The City We Need” by engaging all major stakeholders. As one of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world with approximately 3,000 people inhabiting each square mile of the country, Bangladesh plays a key role in these deliberations. The Urban Thinkers Campus “The Participatory & People-Centered New Urban Agenda” was organized around an inaugural session, Urban Thinkers sessions and Urban Labs, and several roundtable dialogues at Ahsanullah University of Science and Technology, Dhaka, and with the poor communities and local government representatives at Gazipur, Mymensingh and Khulna. The emerging recommendations from these roundtable sessions were discussed in the final plenary. In the concluding session on May 21st, a joint declaration was produced for future course of action.
Panelists at AUST discussed six mandates set for this year’s sessions. These included: ensuring basic service delivery, inclusive urban planning, housing and security of tenure for the poor, disaster risk and management in the city, technology, innovation and opportunities for adolescents and poverty and safety net/ governance and resource generation. Distinguished guests and speakers at the sessions included Chairman of PKSF and Dhaka School of Economics Mr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad; Professor Dr Kazi Shariful Alam, Treasurer AUST; Ms Masuda Faruq Ratnan Convener of Programme Committee, CUP; Dr. Khurshid Zabin Taufiq, Director, UDD; Professor Abul Kalam, Jahangir Nagar University and Chairman BIP; Ms Rabeya Sultana, Country Director, HelpAge; Dr Ehsanur Rahman, Executive Director for Dhaka Ahsania Mission; Dr Akhter Mahmud, BIP, Secretary General, Bangladesh Institute Planner; Mr Md Akhtaruzzaman, Country Representative of UN Habitat; Dr Khwaja Shamsul Huda, Director Programme, DAM; Dr Saleemul Huq, Director ICCCAD; Mr AKM Tariqul Islam, CEO Mymensingh Municipality and others.
Ms Zahida Fizza Kabir, Executive Director, SAJIDA Foundation, chaired the two final sessions of the day where Mr Mir Uttam Kumar from Practical Action presented a paper on Technology, Innovation and Opportunities for the Adolescent. The Honourable Member of Parliament Ms Quazi Rosie attended as Chief Guest at the closing session.