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Global Award for Sustainable Development in Cities announces first-ever winners

Shanghai, China, 6 November 2023 — Jointly established by UN-Habitat and Shanghai Municipality, the  Global Award for Sustainable Development in Cities (Shanghai Award), which recognises outstanding progress and achievements of cities and municipalities around the world in their implementation of the 2030 Agenda and New Urban Agenda, announced its first cycle of winners in Shanghai, China, on 28 October. The award was presented to five winning cities during the national observance of World Cities Day.  

A total of 54 cities from 1 6 countries across the globe submitted applications for the award, representing varying levels of urban development, income, and demographics. Applications were assessed against the progress and achievements of cities with regards to economic vitality, urban prosperity, green urban development, urban safety and resilience, and capacity building for sustainable urban development.  

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                                                  Representatives of the five winning cities presented with the Shanghai Award

The five winning cities are: Brisbane, Australia; Fuzhou, China; George Town, Malaysia; Kampala, Uganda; and Salvador, Brazil. 

Maimunah Mohd Sharif, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng presented the Shanghai Award to representatives of the winning cities. 

“What the award recognises is action on the ground. Let me express our thanks to all the cities that applied for the award. Your dedication to a better quality of life for all in our cities is truly commendable,” said Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif. “I would like to encourage more cities to join the Shanghai Award initiative. This is a platform to exchange your vision, experience, successes and set-backs so that we can help other cities build capacity, attract investments and find innovative pathways to achieve a sustainable urban future.” 

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                                  Executive Director of UN-Habitat Maimunah Mohd Sharif addressing the audience at the ceremony

Australia’s Brisbane was rewarded for its integrated data, urban planning, sound financial and economic model as well as social and institutional innovations that formulate strategies to cope with the constantly growing population in the city.

Fuzhou of China was recognised for its implementation of an urban water system governance project and success in managing a complicated river ecological system in response to the impact of climate change.  

George Town, Penang, in Malaysia was recognized for the results achieved through its climate adaptation plan, highly efficient financing mechanism, innovative technologies, as well as smart solutions to realise the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

Uganda’s Kampala was honoured for its forward-looking schemes on sustainable social, economic, and environmental development. 

Salvador, Brazil, was commended for its implementation of a series of complementary and interrelated measures to address climate change according to its unique terrain and coastline. 

The award ceremony took place as part of the national Chinese observance of World Cities Day held in Shanghai under the global theme “Financing sustainable urban future for all”. The Shanghai Manual 2023 Annual Report and the composite indicators of Urban Monitoring Framework – Shanghai Adapted Index were also released at the event.