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Kampala Receives Inaugural Shanghai Award for Sustainable Urban Development

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In a momentous achievement, Kampala, the capital city of Uganda, has clinched the prestigious Global Award for Sustainable Development in Cities, commonly known as the Shanghai Award. The announcement was made at the opening ceremony of the 2023 World Cities Day China Observance, a collaborative event organized by UN-Habitat, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China, and the Shanghai Municipal People’s Government. This grand occasion unfolded in Shanghai from October 28 to October 31, 2023.

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Established jointly by UN-Habitat and the Shanghai government, the Shanghai Award seeks to recognize outstanding progress and accomplishments made by cities and municipalities worldwide in their pursuit of the 2030 Agenda.

A total of 54 cities from 16 countries submitted applications for the award, representing diverse levels of urban development, income, and demographics. Evaluation criteria included advancements in economic vitality, urban prosperity, green urban development, urban safety and resilience, and capacity building for sustainable urban development.

Out of the impressive array of applicants, five cities emerged as winners: Kampala (Uganda), Salvador (Brazil), Brisbane (Australia), George Town (Penang, Malaysia), and Fuzhou City (Southeast China).

At the award ceremony, Maimunah Mohd Sharif, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, and Chinese Vice-Premier He Lifeng presented the Shanghai Award to representatives from the winning cities. Maimunah expressed gratitude to all participating cities and underscored the significance of their collective efforts in enhancing the quality of life for urban dwellers.

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Maimunah also urged more cities to join the Shanghai Award initiative, highlighting its role as a platform for sharing visions, experiences, successes, and challenges. This collaborative approach enables cities to support one another in building capacities, attracting investments, and exploring innovative pathways toward achieving sustainable urban futures.

Kampala received special commendation for its forward-looking initiatives in sustainable social, economic, and environmental development. Wu Zhiqiang, a member of the international judging panel for the Shanghai Award and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, emphasized that the award recognizes cities aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It goes beyond historical significance, physical appearance, or economic prosperity, requiring participating cities to define their sustainable development goals, strategies, and implementation methods while sharing successful experiences.

The award ceremony was a highlight of the national Chinese observance of World Cities Day, focusing on the global theme of “Financing Sustainable Urban Future for All” and showcasing Shanghai’s commitment to sustainable urban development.

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