The Cities for Women Project in Nepal aims to create climate-responsive and inclusive public spaces in five Nepalese municipalities by strengthening the systems that plan and implement municipal public infrastructure. Launching in October 2023, the four-year project will be implemented in partnership with UNOPS Nepal, UN-Habitat, and the Ministry of Urban Development of Nepal in the municipalities of Sunwal, Tansen, Dhangadi, Birendranagar, and Chandragiri.

Cities in Nepal are under high pressure due to rapid urbanisation levels, with 66 per cent of the municipalities having increased population in the last ten years. The Government of Nepal (GoN) commenced a decentralisation process in 2015 in order to address this issue. Still, the challenge remains untackled, and cities are spreading unplanned, increasing the inequality gaps without fully capitalizing on the economic opportunities that urbanization creates.

Being among some of the countries most affected by climate change globally, Nepal is also experiencing a significant increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Urban Disaster Risk Reduction is critical to building inclusive cities as disasters disproportionately affect women and marginalised communities with the least access to resources and services.

Women are also poorly represented in local governments, with only seven women mayors in 221 municipalities. This has negative consequences on gender-inclusive public spaces and urban development and women’s ability to seek education, work and exercise their political rights.

Operating at both national and local levels, this project aims to boost the demand for gender-responsive, climate-resilient public spaces, produce tangible evidence through participatory public space projects, bolster municipalities' urban planning and design capabilities, and offer policy review recommendations by assessing the existing legal framework.

The project is funded by the EU Delegation in Nepal, and will also act as a co-funding mechanism for financing medium-scale urban projects together with the selected municipalities. 

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The project will be implemented between 2023 and 2027 in the five municipalities of Sunwal, Tansen, Lamki Chuha, Birendranagar, and Chandragiri through the four following components.

  1. Development of a gender-sensitive framework for the National Urban Development Strategy: Engagement of national and local stakeholders for the review of the existing policies/tools/guidelines and development of the Gender Responsive Sensitive and Climate Resilient Framework and Urban Planning Guideline.
  2. Promotion of women’s leadership and participation in decision-making at the local level: Technical assistance to municipalities in co-design spatial interventions using Cities Alliance’s participatory tools and taking into account gender and climate considerations and development of a guideline for gender-sensitive and climate resilience urban design. Conduction of feasibility studies for medium-scale projects to be included in the municipal investment planning process. 
  3. Piloting of spatial and participatory interventions focusing on gender and climate resilience: Implementation of small-scale inclusive and participatory spatial projects and preparation of project packages for medium-scale projects in order to make them investment-ready. Establishment of co-funding mechanisms through the Challenge Fund managed by UNOPS.
  4. Knowledge exchanges on participatory processes, gender, and climate-related initiatives: Conduction of national and international city-to-city exchange events for peer learning opportunities and dissemination of knowledge materials produced by the project. Organization of architectural design competitions for projects identified in the Municipal Annual Plan and provision of small grants to Master and PhD students in urban planning and/or design in the field of gender mainstreaming and climate adaptation focusing on urban spaces.
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