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Advisory Group on Gender Issues to the EXecutive Director of UN Habitat

The Advisory Group on Gender Issues (AGGI) was established following the Governing Council (GC) resolution 23/1 which tasked the Executive Director to “set up an advisory group on gender issues consisting of representatives of women’s organizations (both grass-roots and professional organizations), academic institutions, the private sector, local authorities, and policymakers and decision makers in Governments, taking into account equal regional representation, to advise the Executive Director on all issues related to gender mainstreaming in the work of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme and to provide oversight regarding the implementation of the gender equality action plan within the existing programme of work and budget.” AGGI is established as an independent advisory body to the UN-Habitat Executive Director, guided by principles of integrity, transparency, trust and accountability. Its role is to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in sustainable urban development; through the provision of strategic guidance and advice, across policies, programme of work and budgeting at global, regional, national and local levels, taking note of gender evaluations, resolutions and the wider UN context for coherent work on women’s empowerment and gender equality. The work of AGGI addresses and impacts on all the thematic areas of UN-Habitat’s work.





Members’ profiles 2021

Ana Falú

Ana Falú – AGGI Chair and Founder Member

Professor and Researcher at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina


Ana Falú is a trained Architect, an academic, social activist and feminist.

Currently she is Professor Emerita and Researcher at the National University of Cordoba, Argentina.

She was Regional Director of UNIFEM in Andean Region from 2002 to 2004; and for Brazil and the Southern Cone Countries from 2004 to 2009.

She is the Co-founder of the Women and Habitat Network for America Latina. As well as the Founder of CISCSA in Argentina, Vice President of HIC and Gender Expert at Union Iberoamericana de Municipalistas (UIM).

She is also the Co-coordinator of UNI UN-Habitat Gender Hub. Ana has published widely having authored several books, book chapters and articles.

Erik Berg

Erik Berg, AGGI Co-Chair

Chair of Habitat Norway, Norway


Erik Berg is the chair of Habitat Norway. He has been working on foreign affairs and international development for over 30 years. He was Programme officer and vice consul Norwegian Embassies in Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania from 1983 to 1993, Director of Evaluation Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 1995 -1999, Deputy Head of Mission/Country Director Development of Norwegian Embassy in Bangladesh and Senior Advisor of Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 2002-2005, Special Advisor to Urban Development/Human Settlements of Ministry of Foreign Affairs during 2006-2013. He became the chair of Habitat Norway since 2015, with the knowledge and experience of urban planning he gained in SUF’s Advisory Board as well as International Advisory Board of Global Land Tool Network and of the Water and Sanitation Trust Fund during 2006~2012. He has published widely in books and articles on development issues at foreign, national and local levels.

Jan Peterson

Janice (Jan) Peterson AGGI Founder Member

Chair of Huairou Commission


Jan Peterson’s experience spans from local and national to global work. Currently she serves as the Chair of the Coordinating Council of the Huairou Commission. Her current role comes from 30 years of working in community development. She has been a groundbreaking leader in producing innovative community structures led by grassroots women.

In Brooklyn, New York, she founded numerous community-based organizations and developed a Leadership Support Process to help grassroots women to build leadership while working across ethnic and racial lines. Supporting the knowledge and contributions of grassroots women, she also ran the national Institute for Women and Community Development and the Neighborhood Women College Program. Jan has taught in the faculty of Adelphi University, at the School of Social Work, the Pratt Institute, La Guardia Community College and more recently at the New School Graduate Program in International Affairs. She was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honor in September 2009 for her work that spans four decades of commitment to improving grassroots women’s lives globally.

Teresa Boccia

Teresa Boccia – AGGI Founder Member

Professor Urban Planning, Federico II University of Naples, and the Scientific Director of URBANIMA LUPT Interdepartmental Research Centre, Italy


Teresa Boccia, architect, feminist, has worked on the topics of equal democracy and women empowerment. She is professor of Urban Planning of the Federico II University of Naples and leads the course Gender and Urban security: social innovation practices for urban project. She is Founder and the Scientific Director of URBANIMA, an interdisciplinary studies centre dedicated to women, cities, sustainable development and gender issues within the Interdepartmental Research Centre “Raffaele d’Ambrosio” (L.U.P.T.) of the University of Naples Federico II.  Teresa is the co-chair of the WPCG- Women’s Constituency in the General Assembly of Partners (GAP) and she played an active role during the Habitat III process with the rich experience working on gender issues. She is also the Co-coordinator of UNI Gender Hub of the UN Habitat University network. Teresa is Honorary President of the International Association AFEM (Association Femmes Europe Méridionale). As dialogue facilitator between women’s associations, grassroots, academia, and institutions, she has been coordinating many projects for regional and local governments in urban and rural areas with a focus on gender and sustainable development.  She is member of the Scientific Advisory Committees of many European projects and she has also been manager of several academic researching projects of  relevant national and international interest, dedicated to gender issues in cities and planning.

Esther Mwaura

Esther Mwaura-Muiru – AGGI Founder Member

Founder and Coordinator of  GROOTS Kenya


Esther Mwaura-Muiru is Founder and Coordinator of GROOTS Kenya (Grassroots Organizations Operating Together in Sisterhood), a network of more than 2000 self-help groups from poor communities in urban slums and rural areas across the country. She is a regional organizer for GROOTS International and the Huairou Commission in Africa.

Thanks to her leadership, grassroots women in the GROOTS Kenya network have built a solid network and taken leadership roles in their own communities. These grassroots women have also represented themselves at local, national, regional and international decision-making forums. Esther’s motivation to begin organizing women and community development work come from her background: having grown-up in complete poverty in the rural section of Kenya’s Central Province. She carried herself through school working on the farms of her rich neighbours, and earned a merit scholarship to attend University.

Siraj Sait

Siraj Sait – AGGI Founder Member

Reader and Head of Research, University of East London


Siraj Sait is a well-known human rights lawyer and activist with experience as government official and Human Rights Prosecutor in India.

His development expertise includes gender and age in land/housing, refugee and post-conflict studies and Islamic law. He regularly provides technical assistance and capacity development in the Muslim world on development themes, including gender equality.  He recently completed a UN-Habitat Evaluation of its Iraq country programme. Siraj Sait has been closely associated with several grassroots campaigns on abolition of forced labour, minority rights and gender equality. He has been a consultant to UNHCR, UNICEF, and FAO; as well as legal officer and gender rights specialist at UN-HABITAT. He was on the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN) International Advisory Board (2006-2012) and a key contributor to the GLTN gender evaluation criteria and instrumental in devising the training manual on Evaluating Land Tools with Gender Perspective (2012). Siraj’s publications include Land, Law & Islam (Zed: 2006, with H. Lim), African Land Law (2012, World Bank/PULP) and Youth and Land (2011, GLTN).  Sait is presently Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.

Sri Husnaini

Sri Husnaini Sofjan – AGGI Founder Member

Member of Huairou Commission


Sri Husnaini Sofjan is committed to promoting policies, programmes and practices that upholds the principles of good local/urban governance and better human settlements, and is very passionate about empowering and promoting women’s participation and gender equality. Constantly in search of new challenges, she has currently chosen to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the newly established Penang Women’s Development Corporation, in Penang Malaysia; to advance and translate gender responsive policies and good governance at the state level. Over the last 15 years, Sri’s experience has grown to cover a wide spectrum in human settlements: from good local/urban governance, regional and global coordination of women’s networks and cities that have enhanced her perspective and skills in the design, communications and programming of gender equality programs. Sri gained regional coordination expertise on urban management and urban governance as the Regional Programme Manager of the UNDP’s The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI), from 2001 to 2004. At TUGI, she led the design and facilitation of key programmes and tools with several cities leading to creation of inclusive space and participation of urban poor women and their communities in local governance.

Inés Sánchez de Madariaga

Ines Sanchez de Madariaga

UNESCO Chair on Gender, Professor of Urban Planning at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain


Inés Sánchez de Madariaga is Professor of Urban Planning at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and UNESCO Chair on Gender in STI. She is a leading international expert on gender in urban planning, architecture, and STEM, with extensive experience in policy, practice, and research. She is a member of the Advisory Council of the Spanish UN-SDSN. She has been Chair of the international COST network genderSTE, co-Director of the EU-US Gendered Innovations Project. As member of the European Commission Helsinki Group on Gender in Research and Chair the EC Expert Group on Structural Change, she played a key role in the negotiations to introduce gender as a central element of the EC research program Horizon2020. She has held public office as Deputy Director General for Architecture, Advisor to the Minister of Housing, Advisor to the Minister of Science, and Director of the Women and Science Unit. She has been Visiting Scholar at UCLA, the Bauhaus-Weimar, London School of Economics, and Columbia University. She is author of the reference books: Engendering Cities: Designing Sustainable Urban Spaces for All, Routledge, , and Fair Shared Cities. The Impact of Gender Planning in Europe. In 2021 she received the Matilde Ucelay Prize in recognition for her professional trajectory in promoting women in transportation, mobility and urban planning awarded by the Spanish Ministry of Transportation and Urban Agenda.

Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi

Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi

Secretary General, United Cities and Local and Regional Governments (UCLG) for Asia Pacific


Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi has been the Secretary General of the Global Networks of Cities, Local and Regional Governments (UCLG) since 2013.

She has more than fifteen years’ experience in urban development and related fields, as well as a strong portfolio of experience in local governance and development goals and capacity building for local governments. She has long-standing experience in the promotion of decentralization and the facilitation of networks of local authorities in Asia.

Bernadia is a visiting professor at various universities in Japan, has written various articles and has been a speaker at a number of forums.

Kalpana Viswanath

Kalpana Viswanath

Co-founder and Director of Safetipin, board member of the International Centre for the prevention of Crime (ICPC), India


Kalpana Viswanath is a researcher who has been working on issues of urban and women’s safety and for over 20 years.  She is the co-founder of Safetipin, a mobile app and technology platform developed to support community and women’s safety. She has worked as a consultant with UN Women and UN Habitat on issues of gender and urban safety on several projects around the world and has led research studies on violence against women in public spaces in cities. Further she spearheaded the Safe Delhi for Women initiative led by Jagori and created strategic partnerships with key stakeholders. She has also provided technical support to safe city for women programs in Cambodia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Kerala, Mumbai and Kolkata. She is a Board member of the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC), and the Chairperson of Jagori.  She has published widely in magazines and journals and has co edited a book on Building Gender Inclusive Cities.

Nadia Hassan Bakhurji

Nadia Hassan Bakhurji

President of Nadia Bakhurji Architectural & Interior Design Consultants Firm (NBA)


Nadia Hassan Bakurji is the owner and the President of Nadia Bakhurji Architectural & Interior Design Consultants Firm (NBA) based in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She has worked in the field since 1989, starting with the establishment of Riwaq of the Kingdom Est. (ROK) offering architectural and interior design consultancy services for Residential and Commercial projects, expanded through a partnership with HRH Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz. Nadia Hassan Bakurji has a remarkable track record in Philanthropy and Education as well as a Lecturer & Public Speaker in various Saudi universities and International conferences. She has become a major pioneer for the advancement of women in education, in the engineering sector and in the business sphere. She has also contributed to media and Social & Public Life. Nadia was the first Saudi woman to win a seat on the Board of the Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) in 2006 and won a consecutive seat in 2009. Nadia Hassan Bakurji also chaired the Women Engineers Committee from 2007 until 2012.

UN Women


UN Women


UN Women remains an institutional member of AGGI. Since its inception the representative was the Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri, until January 2018.



Full list of AGGI members 2012-2021


  2. CARMEN GRIFFITHS, Jamaica (deceased)

  3. THOMAS BALL, Norway CPR, former Co-chair

  4. BATILDA BURIAN, Tanzania


  6. SRI SOFJAN, Malaysia, founding member

  7. SIRAJ SAIT, United Kingdom, founding member

  8. AMINATA TRAORE, Mali, First AGGI Chair

  9. JAN PETERSON, USA, founding member

  10. 1RAMZIA ALERYANI, Yemen (deceased)

  11. ESTHER MWAURA, Kenya, founding member

  12. TERESA BOCCIA, Italy, founding member

  13. ANA FALU, Argentina, ACCIG Chair, founding member

  14. NADIA HASSAN BAKHURJI, Saudi Arabia;


  16. LENE CONRADI, Norway;

  17. ELENA DUMITRU, Romania;



  20. NILCEA FRIERE, Brazil; (deceased)

  21. ANNE HIDALGO, France;

  22. MAYOR MASUNDA, Zimbabwe;

  23. MICERE MUGO, Kenya and USA

  24. ERIK BERG, Norway, AGGI Co-chair



  27. LAKSHMI PURI, UN-Women representative

  28. SYLVIE COHEN, UN-Women representative

  29. PATRICIA CORTEZ, UN-Women representative



AGGI is supported by a secretariat which is based in UN-Habitat’s Human Rights and Social Inclusion Unit

The Secretariat is responsible for facilitating all communication between AGGI and UN-Habitat. It is supported by Gender Focal Points at headquarters and in the regional offices in Latin America, Asia and the Pacific, Africa and Arab States. The Secretariat is striving to facilitate smooth communication between AGGI and UN-Habitat.