United Nations, Apr 13 (PTI) An Indian expert on urban poverty alleviation and advocacy for slum dwellers has been named by UN Secretary-General to a high-level independent panel that will assess and enhance effectiveness of the agency for human settlements and sustainable urban development.

Sheela Patel, a Padmashree awardee, is Founder and Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC) and a global expert on urban poverty alleviation and advocacy for slum dwellers.

Patel founded SPARC in 1984, a Mumbai-based non- governmental organisation focused on housing and infrastructure rights for the urban poor.

During this time, Patel has played a key role in the expansion of Mahila Milan, a federation of collectives of women living in slums across India, the UN said in a statement.

Patel is also the Chair of Slum/Shack Dwellers International (SDI), an international network of poor people’s organisations and supporting non-governmental organisations active in Asia and Africa.

Patel received the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award from the Synergos Institute in recognition of her extensive efforts to ameliorate urban poverty, and the Padmashree, the fourth-highest civilian award in India for her work on urban poverty alleviation.

Patel is part of the eight-member panel that will report directly to the Secretary-General.