Islamabad among first 500 cities in Global Mayors Challenge  

ISLAMABAD – Islamabad has earned the distinction by securing a place among the first 500 cities in Global Mayors Challenge programme 2021. 

The said programme is yearly organised by US-based Bloomberg Cities Network, where hundreds of cities from around the world participate, said the officials on Thursday. The programme is meant to select top 50 ideas from municipalities based upon the criteria of vision, impact, implementation and transferability. Idea themes include health, inclusive growth, climate change and good governance. Syeda Shafaq Hashmi, Administrator Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) is leading the efforts by pitching MCI’s structural engagement with street vendors in the programme. MCI has recently established a Street Economy Unit for the purpose of enhancing street livelihood in Islamabad. Ehsaas programme, under the leadership of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation, is providing guidance and support in this endeavour, said the officials. Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) remains the technical partner for the design and implementation of interventions in the local street economy.

Talking to The Nation, Ms. Hashmi expressed hope that MCI’s innovative and participatory idea of improving street economy will take traction with the judges at the Global Mayors Challenge. Administrator MCI was of the view that governance of street vendors has been a low priority area for city authorities. 

However, the situation has changed with the interest of Dr. Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Poverty Alleviation, in enhancing street livelihood for the poor and mostly migrant segment.

Under her guidance, PIDE has facilitated MCI in the structuring of Street Economy Unit. Besides instituting effectual governance of street vending, another key objective of this endeavour is to create recognition of street vending as a legitimate vocation and livelihood tool for the poor. 

Street vending in Islamabad, like other urban centres of Pakistan, is marked with lack of regularisation, haphazard vending, ineffective eviction campaigns, congestion, environmental and corruption issues. MCI is striving to pilot a successful Street Economy Unit, which may be replicated in other municipalities of the country, said Syeda Shafaq Hashmi.


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