The Dubai International Award for Best Practices (DIABP) was established in 1995 under the directive of the late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to recognize initiatives which have resulted in a positive impact on improving the living environment.

Since then, more than 5,000 initiatives, which document various ways of solving economic, social and environmental issues from more than 150 countries have been compiled and disseminated through the best practices database hosted at UN-Habitat.

DIABP has over the years been dynamic to incorporate emerging global trends, while at the same time focusing on its original goal of acknowledging the efforts of different entities in promoting the development of better living environments. Since 1996, a total of 112 winners from different countries have been awarded cash prizes and trophies for their efforts to improve the living environment.

The last cycle of the Dubai International Award was awarded in 2018 and marked 11 cycles since its inception. The 11th Cycle came at an opportune time when most countries had reaffirmed their commitments through the New Urban Agenda (NUA) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The award recognizes international best practices that demonstrate valuable contributions to sustainable urban development as a result of effective partnerships between public, private and civic sectors. The 12th cycle of the award was launched in 2019 to incorporate emerging trends in the following areas:

1. Urban Regeneration and Public Spaces

2. Construction of Sustainable, Innovative and Smart Buildings

3. Sustaining Urban Food Systems

4. Addressing Climate Change and Reducing Pollution

5. Urban Infrastructure Planning and Management

Applications are open until 30 April 2020. The winner of each category will receive a cash prize of $200,000 and will be awarded at the Expo 2020 Dubai in November 2020. To apply, click here


Facilitating knowledge exchange and sharing best practices play an important role in positioning UN-Habitat as a Center of Excellence and the go-to Agency on sustainable urbanization development.

One of the main sources of external practices has been the Dubai International Award for Best Practices. The Award reflects the continuing policy and commitment of the Dubai Government and the United Arab Emirates towards sustainable urban development. In line with the New Urban Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11 – to make cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable – the Best Practice Award recognizes significant contributions which:

  • Have a demonstrable and tangible impact on improving people’s quality of life;
  • Are the result of effective partnerships between the public, private and civic sectors of society;
  • Are socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sustainable.

In addition, the establishment of the New Urban Agenda Platform as an online portal for reporting progress on the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the urban-related Sustainable Development Goals. The Platform will advance the systematic access, sharing and uptake of best practices and policies by the Member States and partners and will be a key contribution to the knowledge pillar of the UN system-wide approach to SUD.

winners from different countries have been awarded cash prizes and trophies for their efforts to improve human settlements and the living environment.
Winners receive
USD 200,000
per Award

Related Sustainable Development Goals

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Donors and partners

The UN-Habitat Best Practices Programme collaborates with different partners to identify, analyze, document and disseminate regional best practices that have contributed to improving the quality of life in the region’s cities. It operates through networking of sub-regional nodes and Focal Points engaged in the search for best practices in sustainable human settlements development.


The main activities include:

Promoting and collecting best practices in the region.

Identifying and documenting regional practices for the Dubai International Award for Best Practices.

Several activities conducted by partners to promote the awards objectives.

Consolidating the Forum as the regional arm of the Best Practices Programme

Organization of International Events and meetings to promote Best Practices


The results achieved were:

Production of Publications, including a guide for best practices transfer, thematic publications and case studies, available at UN-HABITAT’s online library.

Enlargement of the network, strengthened partnership and increased activities.

Each year, several practices are recognized as Good, Best and some were awarded with the Winners prize by the Dubai International Award for Best Practices.

Networking events are conducted during each World Urban Forum.

Government of China
Spanish Ministry of Public Works

Our Experts

Asa Jonsson
Best Practices Unit