UN-Habitat’s Best Practices Unit coordinates, identifies, documents and disseminates best practices and enabling policies on urban development within, and for, the Agency.

The Unit identifies sources of information and knowledge derived from practical experience in support of the monitoring and implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the urban-related SDGs. It also manages the flagship Dubai International Award for Best Practices to Improve the Living Environment in collaboration with the Dubai Municipality. The award is currently in its 11th edition.


  1. Raise awareness of decision-makers and practitioners by managing and sharing knowledge on principles, practical means and policy options for them to address urban challenges. It does so by identifying, disseminating and applying lessons learned from best practices to ongoing training, reports, leadership, and policy development activities including the City Prosperity Initiative.
  2. The Unit also has an important role in sharing and utilizing external best practices in informing the development of new UN-Habitat projects, as part of the overall knowledge management strategy.

Best Practices Monthly Feature

Each month, we feature one of the Best Practices winners from the 11th Cycle of the Dubai International Award endorsed by UN-Habitat and Dubai Municipality. We hope that these Best Practices will inform and inspire you on initiatives that are making effective interventions to improve the lives of urban residents around the globe. In case you missed them, please find below the past monthly features:


2018 Best Practices Monthly Features


  1. April Edition
  2. May Edition
  3. June Edition
  4. July Edition
  5. August Edition
  6. September Edition
  7. October Edition
  8. November Edition
  9. December Edition


  1. January Edition
  2. February Edition
  3. March Edition

Best Practices Videos

Solid Waste Management

Enhancing community resilience through public space

Best practice services

The key products of the Unit include documented and peer-reviewed best practices, examples of good policies and enabling legislation and case studies and briefs. These products are available for use globally through an online Best Practices Database, which to date contains over 4,000+ proven solutions to common social, economic and environmental problems from 140 countries. The Unit will in 2018-19 develop systems to provide tailor made sets of packages for both internal and external clients, along the New Urban Agenda and urban-SDG priority themes.These packages will include analysis of urban trends, policy, and legislative frameworks that result from, or inform best practices.

Key Clients served 

The clients of the Unit include all key UN-Habitat partners, such as decision-makers, practicing professionals at all levels of government and the private sector, academia, civil society as well as the general public.  It also serves UN-Habitat’s internal colleagues in the mainstreaming of best practices and enabling policies in UN-Habitat.


Best Practices Database


Best practices can be defined as initiatives which make outstanding contributions to improving the quality of life in cities and communities around the world.

Since 1996, the Best Practice Unit and its network of partners have helped identify, evaluate, document and disseminate close to 5,000 proven solutions to the common social, economic, economic and environmental problems, from over 140 countries. These success stories are contained in a searchable and regularly updated database known as the Best Practices Database.

The Best Practices Database contains practices submitted to the Dubai International Award for Best Practices. During 2018, the database will be further updated to optimize access to information and search functions along the New Urban Agenda, SDGs, as well as the City Prosperity Initiative


UN-Habitat Best Practices


Riverbank Filtration Project for Clean Water Production in Minya, Egypt

Promising Practices on Climate Change in Urban Sub-Saharan Africa

Good Practices and Lessons Learnt in Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Sri Lanka



Dubai International Award for Best Practices


The Dubai International Award for Best Practices (DIABP) was established under the directive of the late Sheikh Maktoum Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 1995. The Award reflects the continuing policy and commitment of the Dubai Government and the United Arab Emirates towards sustainable development of human settlements on the basis of mutual international cooperation.

The award is administered jointly with UN-Habitat. To date, nearly 5,000 practices from 140 countries have been collected and documented. These are managed and disseminated via the Best Practices Database and will be complemented by a number of forthcoming products, including urban lectures, policy briefs and factsheets.

In the 11th Cycle of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices, was categorized according to key New Urban Agenda themes, including:

  1. National Urban Policies
  2. Participatory Slum Upgrading
  3. Urban redevelopment, and redesign of urban spaces
  4. Monitoring Mechanisms for the New Urban Agenda and the Urban SDGs
  5. Territorial planning, urban planning and design
  6. Urban economy and municipal finance
  7. Legislation, Rules, Regulations & Governance Systems

For more information on the last cycle, 2017 Edition of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices, please visit unhabitat.org/dubai-award/. 

10th Cycle of the Dubai International Award for Best Practices

Winners Profiles



Promotional Materials













The Best Practices Unit and the Dubai Award has over the years built on several significant partnerships, including:

1. Brazilian Institute for Municipal Administration

IBAM, 1-Humaita, 22271 070, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tel: +55 21 25369703, Fax: (55 21) 2537 1262, 25381613 Contact Person: Marlene Fernandes. Email: ibam@ibam.org.br , Web: http://www.ibam.org.br

2. City of Vienna, Best Practices Hub - TINA Vienna Transport Strategies GmbH, Lange Gasse 30 A-1082 Wien Vienna, Austria.

Phone: + 43 1 4000 – 84269, Mobile: + 43 676 8118 84269, Fax: +43 1 4000 – 7997 Contact Person; office@bestpractices.at

3. El Agora, Jimenez de Lorca 4229 CP 5009 Cordoba, Argentina

Tel: (549 351) 5132881; Fax: (54 351) 4812570. Contact Person: Claudia Laub; Email: claudiacristina.laub@gmail.com; elagora@arnet.com.ar

4. Environmental Development Action in the Third World (ENDA Tiers Monde), 4 & 5 rue Kléber, BP 3370, Dakar, Senegal,

Tel: (221-8) 216027 / 224229; Fax: (221-8) 222695. Contact Persons: Mr. Malick Gaye, Mr. Bouna Diop; Email: rup@enda.sn Web: http://www.enda.sn

5. Fundación HÁBITAT Colombia, Bogotá D.C., Calle 127C #6A40,

Telefax: 571-4931121, Móvil: 316- 5284268. Contact Person: Ms. Lucelena Betancur Salazar; Email: direccion@fundacionhabitatcolombia.org Web: http:///www.fundacionhabitatcolombia.org

6. Government of Spain, Ministerio de Vivienda del Gobierno de España, Dirección General de Suelo y Políticas Urbanas, Madrid, Spain.

Tel: (3491) 728 4876, Fax: (34 1) 728 4862, Contact Person: José Luis Nicolás Rodrigo; Email: concursobbpp@vivienda.es

7. Institute for International Urban Development, Second floor, 2235 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140, USA.

Tel: 1 617 492 0077 or 717 492 0078 Fax: 1 617 492 0046. Contact Person: Mona Serageldin; Email: serageldin@i2ud.org

8. Huairou Commission, 249 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211, USA,

Fax: (1-718) 388 -0285; Contact Persons: Jan Peterson; Email: jan.peterson@huairou.org ; info@huairou.org ; Dr. Sangeetha Purushothaman, Email: bpfound@gmail.com ;Web: www.huairoucommission.org

9. Practical Action, The Schumacher Centre for Technology & Development, Bourton Hall, Bourton-on-Dunsmore, RUGBY, CV23 9QZ, UK.

Tel: +44 (0)1788 661100; Fax: + 44 (0)1788 661101. Contact Person: Mr. Theo Schilderman; Email: Theo.Schilderman@practicalaction.org.uk , Web: http://www.itdg.org 

10. International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), 100 Queen St. W., City Hall, 16th Fl. West Tower, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 2N2, Canada.

Fax. (415) 392-1478. Contact Person: Monika Zimmermann, Email: Monika.Zimmermann@iclei.org, Web: http://www.iclei.org

11. International Art and Architecture Research Association (IAARA), Tehran, Iran.

Tel: + (98-21)26212516, Fax: +(98-21)26212522, Contact Person: Mr. Reza Pourvaziry; Email: office@iaara.org.ir ; president@iaara.org.ir. Web: http://www.iaara.org.ir

12. Joslyn Castle Institute for Sustainable Communities (JCI), 3902 Davenport St., Omaha/Lincoln, Nebraska 68131, USA.

Tel: + 1 402 472 0087, Fax: +1 402 475 6675, Contact Person: Mr. Cecil Steward, FAIA, President; Email: csteward@unlnotes.unl.edu , Web: www.ecospheres.com

13. Global Urban Development, 1250 24th Street, N.W., Suite 300, Washington, DC 20037,

Tel: +1 202 554 5891, Mob: +1 202 531 2411 Fax: +1 202 554 4481, Contact Person: Marc Weiss; Email: marcweiss@globalurban.org , Web: http://www.globalurban.org

14. University of Naples "Federico II", Department of Conservation, of Environmental and Architectural Assets, via Roma, 402 - 80132 Naples, Italy. Tel: 0039 081 2538761; Fax: 0039 081 2538649. Contact Person: Prof. Luigi Fusco Girard; Email: girard@unina.it ; cerreta@unina.it Web: http://www.unina.it ; http://www.conservazione.unina.it

15. CAIXA Federal, Brazil;

16. Spanish Habitat Committee;

18. International City Leaders, Canada

19. Latin American Forum on Best Practices

In addition, UN-Habitat has also collaborated with other award systems such as the UNDESA Public Service Awards

With the new emphasis of the Unit, in the context of the New Urban Agenda and SDGs, additional partnerships are being identified to build the initiative.



Contact Us


Email: best.practices@un.org





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