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The Global Award for Sustainable Development in Cities (Shanghai Award) is a global initiative led by UN-Habitat and Shanghai Municipality. Specifically targeting cities, the award is dedicated to recognising the outstanding progress and achievements of cities and municipalities around the world in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda as well as the New Urban Agenda.


This newly built and pioneer global award aims to see the progress, strategy and action of cities in its own context with a holistic approach. An independent International Jury composed of geographically diverse members will assess the applications and make recommendations for the winners. UN-Habitat will confirm the list of winning cities based on the recommendations and reports submitted by the International Jury. 


As an annual recognition, the first cycle of the award took place in 2023. Each cycle, the award will be granted to no more than five cities. An award ceremony will be held at a major international platform and winners will be presented with a plaque and a trophy. Winning cities will have the opportunity to share their best practices and achievements in sustainable urban development, and be invited to attend important international events such as the World Urban Forum and the Observance of World Cities Day. 


Cities and municipalities around the world are eligible to apply. Member States and other UN agencies, organisations and institutions that have consultative status at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) or that have been specially invited by UN-Habitat are invited to nominate cities and municipalities. 


Call for Applications for the second cycle in 2024 is now open. The application form and related materials are available on the website. 

Dedicated to recognising the achievements of cities and municipalities around the world

Home to 55 per cent of the world’s population, cities are a transformative force to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Understanding the importance of sustainable urbanisation, this initiative aims to promote a shared vision of sustainable urban development through cooperation and recognition of excellence at the city level globally. Standing at the beginning of the Decade of Action, UN-Habitat, in cooperation with its partners, highlights the critical role of cities in realising the SDGs, and incentivises cities around the world to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda. Specifically targeting cities and municipalities, the Shanghai Award is dedicated to recognising and promoting the outstanding progress and achievements of cities around the world in advancing sustainable urban development.

Assess cities in their own contexts and focus on their progress 

Shanghai Award fully recognises the unique situations, opportunities, challenges, resources and capacities of different cities around the world. Therefore, it is utmost important to recognise the achievements of a city in its own context. In line with this principle, the goal of Shanghai Award is to focus on the progress of a city as compared to itself. Shanghai Award will take into account the complexity of cities and adopt holistic approach evaluating a city and thus better recognise the relative strength and achievements of different cities.